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Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese


6 side-dish

December 2010

Ingredients

Recipe Preparation

Recipe by Roaring Fork Scottsdale Arizona

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 248.7 %Calories from Fat 60.8 Fat (g) 16.9 Saturated Fat (g) 9.2 Cholesterol (mg) 49.5 Carbohydrates (g) 19.0 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.5 Total Sugars (g) 1.3 Net Carbs (g) 17.5 Protein (g) 6.2 Sodium (mg) 65.8

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World Famous Green Chile Mac & Cheese

If the great number of Google searches from around the globe that land on LunaCafe’s doorstep each week signify anything, then EVERYONE IN THE WORLD is looking for Chef Robert McGrath’s Green Chile Mac & Cheese recipe, which is a specialty of the Roaring Fork restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona.

This frantic searching is a bit perplexing because the recipe is readily available in Robert’s most excellent homage to cowboy cuisine, American Western Cooking, which should definitely be in every good cook’s library. So, for the price of a cookbook, which is chock full of bold and delectable dishes that you will make again and again, you get the Green Chile Macaroni recipe. (If I haven’t convinced you to buy the book, you can go here instead and get the recipe for free.)

But before you shout HOORAY and run off to get the recipe, I must in good conscience tell you this one little thing.

There is no way on this sweet earth that the green chile mac & cheese recipe featured in American Western Cooking, which is the same recipe featured on Food Network, will produce the oh so cheesy, oh so hot as hell, oh so scrumptious, gooey green chile mac & cheese heaven that I was served at The Roaring Fork just two weeks ago. Not happening. No way. No how.

I know this because I’ve tested the recipe THREE TIMES, revising each test in the direction of my taste memory and photos of the dish. The basic issues with the available recipe, as compared to the restaurant version, are as follows:

  1. Not enough green chile flavor barely perceptible in fact.
  2. Not enough chile heat (even with Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese).
  3. Only the palest shade of green (does not resemble the green of the restaurant version.
  4. Not enough cheese.

    These green chiles are both hot and full-flavored. For folks who don’t want to stem, seed, roast, peel, and chop enough green chiles to measure 3 cups, I also discovered frozen, roasted, peeled green chiles that pack a lot of heat and flavor (Bueno Mild Organic Green Chiles, available in 13-ounce cartons in the freezer case of Whole Foods). (Issues 1 and 2.)Also, in order to make sure the green chile flavor was pervasive, I decided to create a silky Green Chili Crema and use that as the liquid element in a very thin béchamel sauce. (Issue 1)Although a béchamel sauce is not strictly required for this dish (and the Roaring Fork recipe does not use one), the butter and flour roux protect the cheese from curdling. Nothing is more disastrous to Mac & Cheese than curdled, separated cheese. (Issues 5, 6, and 7)

Another precaution on the curdling cheese front is the use of an aged cheese. Aged cheeses do not curdle as easily as young cheeses. Also, aged farmhouse cheddar just happens to taste spectacular. (Issues 5, 6, and 7)

The Roaring Fork green chile mac & cheese recipe uses so little cheese, it must be a misprint. In the restaurant version, cheese is used with wild abandon. I like that approach. (Issue 4)

A bread crumb crust adds so much textural and color interest to a Mac & Cheese that I always include it. And so does the Roaring Fork restaurant version. (Issue 8)

The color was really perplexing me, until I separated out and focused on creating a Green Chile Crema. Increasing the quantity of chiles improves both the flavor and the color. To push the color up a notch more, I added green onions, which brought the flavor up another notch as well. (Issue 3)

In the first two tests, the sauce was bland and uninspiring. It needed an acidic element to brighten the rich cream and subtle chile flavor. I decided on tomatillos and that proved to be the perfect flavor balancer for this dish. (Issue 9)

So here, without further ado is (my version of the world’s most famous Green Chile Mac & Cheese.


Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

By Kevin Published: September 27, 2012

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 20 mins

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain and &hellip

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper freshly
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup green jalapeno salsa
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chile peppers mild chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons jalapeno peppers finely chopped,canned or fresh, optional
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese about 2 cups
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup bread crumbs fresh finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • paprika

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain and rinse well. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour and pepper until well blended and bubbly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in salsa, chile peppers, and cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Taste and add salt, as needed. Combine with the drained macaroni stir in cilantro, if using. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly.
  • Cuisine:Mexican
  • Course:Entrée
  • Skill Level:Moderate

Recipe Summary

  • 9 New Mexico dry chiles - washed, with stems and seeds removed
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock or water

Place chiles and 3 cups water into a medium stockpot, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes to soften. Strain into a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the chiles and some of the liquid into a blender, and puree until smooth. Add more liquid as necessary to form a smooth sauce. Pass sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds and the tough skins set aside.

Cut the roast into 1 to 2 inch chunks. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef chunks in the seasoned flour set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beef chunks a few at a time, so as not to overcrowd the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Remove cooked meat, and continue browning remaining meat. Return reserved cooked meat to the pot. Stir in pureed chile mixture. Add beef stock to just cover beef chunks, or to personal preference. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer for 3 hours, or until meat is tender. If necessary, adjust with more stock during cooking.


Smoked Green Chili Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni (or your favorite pasta)
  • 6 C whole milk
  • 3 C heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar, grated
  • 12 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 (16 oz) bottle 505 Southwestern Fire Roasted Green Chiles
  • Code 3 Spices Grunt Rub
  • 4 oz bread crumbs
  • 8 oz bacon, cooked, diced
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill to 250°F. In a half sized steam table food pan, combine the uncooked macaroni, milk, heavy cream, cheeses, 505 Southwestern Fire Roasted Green Chiles and 1-2 tablespoons of Code 3 Spices Grunt Rub. You will probably have to turn up the edges of the foil pan. It will be very full. Carefully mix the ingredients with your hands. Place the pan on the second shelf in the cooker.

After one hour, stir the ingredients with a spoon. Make sure to get all the way to the bottom of the pan, so it doesn't burn. Meanwhile, cook and dice your bacon. After the macaroni has cooked for 2-2.5 hours you should have a creamy mixture with little standing liquid. Add the bacon and give it another good stir. Taste and add salt as necessary. Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over the pan, and cook an additional 30 minutes, until bread crumb begins to brown and the liquid is bubbling up through the topping. The finished product should be creamy, but not runny.


Green Chile Mac and Cheese

This Green Chile Mac and Cheese is a win win dinner in our house.

If I allowed it, my husband would live off of macaroni and cheese and if I had my way, everything would have spicy Mexican flavors in it. So to satisfy both of our cravings I made this creamy, cheesy, slightly spicy Green Chile Mac and Cheese. In case you haven’t noticed Hatch green chile season is upon us and I can’t get enough of them. If there’s ever a question as to where I might be, head to the nearest store or farmer’s market that is roasting chiles that day and you’ll find me hovering over them breathing in the smokey, spicy aroma and wiping drool from the corners of my mouth as I anxiously wait for the chiles to be ready.

If you are unfamiliar with Hatch chiles here is a little history on them. First off did you know chiles have been in existence for over 10,000 years?! New Mexico is the leading producer of chiles in the U.S. and Hatch, New Mexico is known as the chile capital of the world. Many people believe that chiles are vegetables, but they are actually a fruit according to horticulturists and a berry according to botanists (maybe this is why they taste so good in an apple pie)! A few nutrition facts about the green chile are, they have more vitamin C than citrus fruits, eating chile peppers helps you burn more calories by boosting your metabolism, the peppers have been known to give you the same kind of “high” that exercise can, and capsaicin (the active ingredient in chile peppers that gives them their heat) has been used to relieve back pain, joint pain, and muscle pain. So as you can see, these spicy little green peppers aren’t just for giving food a little heat! Now I know people tend to shy away from macaroni and cheese if they are watching what they eat. However, this version I’ve made for you is a little more figure friendly.

For starters I used whole wheat macaroni. But I don’t like whole wheat pasta you whine say. I urge you to give it a try in this dish. With all the flavor from the sauce, cheese, and chiles, you hardly notice that the pasta is whole wheat. I also used a minimal amount of butter, 2 tablespoons, and instead of whole milk I switched it to skim. I chose to use a very flavorful cheddar cheese with Hatch green chiles in it which allowed me to use less cheese and still keep that rich flavor. So while this version of macaroni and cheese isn’t bursting with butter, cream, and mounds of cheese, it is still super creamy, cheesy, and most importantly packed full of that slightly spicy Hatch green chile flavor. The Green Chile Mac and Cheese makes a great meatless meal or if your prefer it would be great with some grilled chicken or even some chicken chopped up and added into the macaroni. However you decide to eat this mac and cheese I promise it will wake up your tastebuds and have you reaching for another scoop!


Hatch Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

A perfect blend of the cheesy goodness and chili pepper you crave.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb short pasta, cellentani is my favorite
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups mild cheddar
  • 1 cup pepper jack
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • 2 4 oz cans of mild hatch green chiles
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F and grease your skillet or a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook your pasta according to package in salted water. Be careful not to overcook. Drain in a colander and run under cool water. Drain all excess water and set aside.
  3. Heat butter on medium-high heat and add the flour. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes and whisk constantly.
  4. Slowly add in the milk and continue to whisk. Bring to a simmer you don't want it to boil, the sauce will thicken. Turn off heat and add the cheese by the handfuls, whisking after each addition. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in pasta noodles and green chiles and transfer to your prepared baking dish. Place panko crumbs on top and season with more salt and pepper. Bake for 30 mins or until cheese sauce is bubbling and panko crumbs are golden. Enjoy!

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Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF line a large baking sheet with foil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni until al dente, about 8 minutes, or as label directs. Drain rinse under cold water.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and jalapeños and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour on onion mixture and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk. Raise heat to medium and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chiles. Set aside 1/2 cup of Cheddar. Add remaining Cheddar and all pepper Jack to skillet and cook, stirring, until all cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to skillet stir. Mist a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour in pasta mixture.

In a bowl, combine corn chips with reserved 1/2 cup Cheddar sprinkle over pasta. Place dish on lined baking sheet bake until pasta mixture is bubbling and top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes serve.


Green Chile Mac n Cheese

This rich, spicy and creamy Green Chile Mac n Cheese made with roasted Hatch green chile and a freshly shredded cheese sauce is the ultimate comfort food!

Are you ready for some good old fashioned feel-good comfort food?! Oh, how I do love me some delicious mac n cheese. Have you ever added a little spice to yours? If not, I think it’s about time you kicked things up a notch and try adding some roasted Hatch green chile. You can thank me later.

You can buy roasted green chiles in a can year-round. I prefer to buy them in bulk during the summer when they’re in season. I used to live in New Mexico when I was in my late teens and early 20s, so the aroma of roasting green chiles takes me back to my younger days. Last summer I bought a HUGE tray from Whole Foods and then froze them in 2 cup piles. I try to ration my chiles throughout the year so I run out right about the time that I can replenish my stock.

Don’t you just love this pasta? Any good mac n cheese starts with an awesome noodle. I love these because all those little curves hold the cheese sauce. Yum.

The second trick to an outstanding mac n cheese is a rich cheese sauce. We have a really good local grocery store called New Seasons and they have some of the best mac n cheese in their hot deli section. They list their ingredients and one of them is egg yolk. My first thought was “really?” but if you think about it, the trick to really good ice cream is to make the base with egg yolks, so I figured I would give it a try. It made a huge difference in the sauce. The yolk kept the cheese nice and melted and prevented it from separating from the milk (or half and half in this case – go big, or go home, right?).

The final trick to a delicious mac n cheese is to use freshly grated cheese. I cheat all the time and use the pre-grated stuff for eggs, burritos, and mac n cheese. But if you’re going to go the distance by making a rich sauce with egg yolk and half-and-half… if you’re going to lovingly chop up your wonderfully spicy green chile… if you’re going to lather your favorite cast iron skillet with a thick layer of butter… then why would you sell yourself short by not using the real deal when it comes to cheese?

I tell ya, this stuff was wonderful with a capital W.

Can you imagine a better comfort food? So rich and creamy.

So do yourself a favor and make up a batch of this awesome mac n cheese and then be sure to stop back and let me know how you liked loved it!


Hatch Green Chile Macaroni & Cheese

Let’s face it, mac & cheese is having an identity crisis. With all the toppings, cheese variations, and cooking methods (hello, fried cheese balls!), searching for the perfect recipe can feel daunting. Well friends, you’ve arrived at your destination. Our version of this classic features layers of flavor thanks to a trio of cheeses and kicks it up a notch by including the earthy notes of Hatch green chiles. The end result? A perfect medley of cheesy, salty, and spicy goodness that truly is the best version we’ve ever had.

This is a stovetop version so it’s ready (with prep) in just a short time - no baking, no cheese breaking, just cheese, cheese, and more cheese.

Serves 6

5 cups whole milk, slightly warmed

7 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 oz shredded gruyere cheese

4-5 oz can or jar of green chiles

1 lb dry pasta (shells or macaroni)

Cook pasta according to package instructions, 5-7 minutes. While pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add flour and whisk to make roux. Add in 2 1/2 tbsp of Hatch Green Chile Powder Whisk to combine for 1 minute to toast powder.

Lower heat to medium-low and slowly add milk. Continue to whisk while the sauce begins to thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Add cheese in batches, starting with the goat cheese, waiting for each batch to melt before adding more. Continue to whisk, and once all the cheese has melted, add salt and fresh cracked pepper. Keep sauce on low and continue to whisk so not to burn.

Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and add cooked pasta to cheese sauce. Gently stir to combine. Add pasta water as needed to thin if sauce is too thick. Add canned or jarred green chiles (optional). Allow pasta and sauce to meld and chiles to warm, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Cook's notes: We prefer using fresh-roasted green Hatch chiles as it adds a depth of flavor and brightness, but you can easily substitute the canned/jarred version.