GREEN CHILE MAC & CHEESE

Green Chile Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese recipes are a dime a dozen on the net.  If you have a food blog and are even remotely tolerant of dairy, odds are you’ve posted a favorite recipe or unique rendition.  From bacon and blue cheese to truffles and lobster, there are countless offerings out there that claim to offer the ultimate mac and cheese experience. Whether it’s topped with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven or fresh from the stove top, oozing with a gooey melted cheese sauce, I’ve never met a version I haven’t liked.  That being said, in my mind one version stands out among the rest as a truly extraordinary and distinctive twist on the original: green chile mac and cheese.

I first had green chile mac and cheese on a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for Spring Training with my Dad where we dined at chef Robert McGrath’s flagship, Roaring Fork restaurant.  After amazing, back-to-back dinners we decided to buy the cookbook and attempt to replicate his signature riff on the comfort classic.  Needless to say, the results were a near perfect match.  Simple to prepare, this dish gets it’s deep, smoky flavor from the addition of a puree of roasted poblano chiles.  Add in some heavy cream, a confetti of red bell pepper, sweet corn kernels and a healthy dose of piquant pepper jack cheese and you have a mac and cheese dish worthy of a little excitement.

GREEN CHILE MAC & CHEESE

Adapted from American Western Cooking from the Roaring Fork, by Robert McGrath

Once you have the prep work out of the way, this recipe comes together very quickly.  For instructions on how to roast, peel and puree chiles, check out my recipe for New Mexico Green Chile with Pork. To make this recipe at a moments notice, do what I do and roast extra poblanos to keep on hand in your freezer. Cook the macaroni in a large pot of well-salted, boiling water until al dente.  I like to rinse the pasta under cold running water to halt the cooking process in an effort to maintain as much texture as possible.  This recipe can be doubled very easily and makes a great potluck dish for a large, hungry group of people.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup poblano chile, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup roasted, peeled, and pureed poblano chile
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup, grated hot pepper jack cheese
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the diced poblano chile, red bell pepper, red onion and garlic and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the corn kernels and sauté briefly.
  3. Lower the heat to medium and add the macaroni, poblano puree, cream and pepper jack cheese.  Stir gently until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese is melted.
  4. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Transfer to a medium bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side

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  1. What a great take on mac & cheese! It looks very more-ish.

  2. WOW! This looks amazing! Although there are plenty of mac and cheese recipes, this one looks like it stands out from the bunch!

  3. This dish does look amazing. I want it right now. :D

  4. Looks so incredible.. What a great twist on an classic!

  5. Yes, you do create Food People Want!!! Mac n’ Cheese isn’t something that is usually on my list of go to foods. This however looks spectacular!!! Must try, might add a lighter twist to it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Oh my this is making me pretty hungry! I like anything with a bit of spice and I have a feeling this is right up my alley!

    • Gary
    • November 13th, 2009

    Aren’t there any guys who like Mac & Cheese? This is the best ever!

  7. Thanks to everybody for the kind comments. I should point out that the spiciness of this dish can be easily adjusted to fit your own taste. For a more mild version, make sure to remove all of the seeds and ribs from the roasted and peeled poblano chiles before pureeing. Also, feel free to substitute regular jack cheese for the recommended pepper jack to cut back on a little of the heat.

  8. Although I am a macaroni and cheese purist, I think this recipe might force me to open my mind a little. When I make it I will let you know if this was the recipe to change my mind, the pictures are already tempting me.

  9. I can imagine exactly what this tastes like, and I’m annoyed I didn’t think to make something like it already. But now I have a mission.

  10. Wow, this mac & cheese looks amazing! Being a fan of spicy food, I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for sharing – great site!

  11. I am obsessed with all things poblano. I wonder if I could get my daughter to eat this…?

    • Sam
    • February 5th, 2010

    Hey,

    Seriously, everyone needs to understand the difference between ‘green chile’ (as we know) and peppers that happen to be green.

    Poblanos ARE NOT ‘green chile’. Big Jim, Sandia, etc. these are green chiles. All from New Mexico. The best is in Hatch, NM.

    STOP THIS ATROCITY. GREEN CHILE IS GOD – and poblanos are a disgrace.

  12. Sam – I appreciate your fanatical devotion to the true, “authentic” green chilies of New Mexico. I’m sure if I hailed from Albuquerque, I too would be insistent on making sure the world new the difference between the real deal and a Tex-Mex ripoff. I agree, however, that it is important for people to know the difference between green chilies and green chili. In this instance, the recipe would be more descriptive if it read as “Roasted Poblano Mac ‘n Cheese” but that just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, now does it? No matter what you want to call this dish, rest assured that it is delicious! If you are looking for a recipe for New Mexico green chili, check out the recipe I posted. I’m sure there is plenty wrong with it as well.

  13. I love this variation! I always always add chillies to my mac and cheese as I’m a bit of a chilli addict. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you!

    • ragdoll
    • June 2nd, 2010

    sounds good but do you think you could substitute the cream for full cream yoghurt?

  14. Ragdoll – In this instance, yogurt might provide too much acid in the final dish and mess with the overall flavor. Cream will also provide a more consistent creamy/rounded texture in the end product that will be difficult to attain using yogurt alone. That being said, why not give it a try and let me know how the dish ends up. Good luck!

  1. February 7th, 2011