Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese for The Homesick Texan Cookbook and Spotlight Cookoff

 After looking through my copy of The Homesick Texan it was this recipe for Poblano Macaroni and Cheese that really stood out to me.  I knew, almost for certain, that it would be chosen as part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-off.  And, thankfully, I was right.

My first thought when I saw this recipe was simple.  "Why haven't I thought of this before?"  I mean really...poblanos and macaroni and cheese.  You know it has to be heavenly!  When Heather announced this was one of the recipes I jumped right in and made this straight away.

There are three things I loved about this macaroni and cheese.  First and foremost, it was luxuriously, ultimately, undeniably the creamiest macaroni and cheese ever.  Hands down.  Secondly, it wasn't one dimensional.  It had lots of flavor. And, lastly, the macaroni was even better the next day once all the flavors had a chance to mingle.  Normally homemade macaroni and cheese must be eaten on the same day it's served, but not this stuff.  It makes wonderful leftovers, so go ahead and make extra.  You'll be happy you did.

This macaroni and cheese has several variations, listed below.  If I wasn't currently watching my waistline I would have loved to try this with some chorizo added.  I think a little chorizo would really put this dish over the top and make it insanely delicious!

 Poblano Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from The Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain
Makes 8 servings

2 poblano chiles
8 ounces elbow pasta (I used whole wheat pasta)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk (used 2%)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups grated white cheddar cheese (12 ounces)
1/2 cup Cotija cheese, for serving* (couldn't locate so I omitted)

Roast the poblano chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side.  Place chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes.  Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin.  Remove steam and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch-long pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook according to your package's directions and then drain the pasta.  (You want the pasta to be cooked but not mushy; I cook my pasta for 5 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Grease a large baking dish or a large cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.

In a pot (you can use the pot the pasta cooked in or you can do this while the pasta boils), on low heat melt the butter.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the flour and cook until a light brown, toasty paste is formed, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk and stir until it's thickened a bit but still fluid, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles.  Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper.

Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted and well combined into the sauce. (If the sauce has cooled too much and the cheese won't melt, return the pot to low heat on the stove.  If, however, the sauce gets too thick, like a custard, you can thin it by stirring in milk, a teaspoon at a time.) Pour sauce over pasta and top with the remaining half of the cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.  Sprinkle with Cotija cheese (if using), and serve immediately.

Variation:  Try adding cooked bacon, chorizo, chicken, squash, or corn to the macaroni and cheese before baking.  You can also substitute pepper Jack for some of the cheddar if you like.  And if you like a crunchy top, add crushed tortilla chips before baking.

Heather  - girlichef

 *This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*


  1. This definitely looks delicious. I really like the idea of the poblanos...the thought of adding chorizo? Over the top. I love it.


  2. Wow. Wow. Wow. I like the idea of lime juice and cumin. And it does look super creamy.

    P.S. What a cute little pepper!

  3. This is a beautiful mac & cheese....I LOVE the poblanos in there. You're right, it really does look creamy. My hubby would love me if I made this and put the chorizo in it.

  4. I am SO making this...and I am SO not sharing.

  5. Wow, that looks delicious! I'm coming over!

  6. Well, I wouldn't know about these so-called leftovers, but I'm willing to make it every day for the rest of my life to try and find out ;) I just knew you'd love this as much as I did! Looks awesome.

  7. This was an excellent recipe and yours looks so very creamy with all of that cheese. I have been enjoying my leftovers too--it does taste just as good, if not better when reheated. ;-)

  8. mama mia, i don't know that i've ever seen anything so yummy looking in my life. it looks SO cheesy and flavorful, i so wish i could dig in with a huge spoon.

  9. Oh girlfriend! This looks seriously delicious!!!

  10. This looks and sounds so delicious! It is so cheesy! Love it!

    Maria @ A Platter of Figs

  11. I agree with you, this was a great mac and cheese. You done it justice by the looks of your pictures!
    Great job..

  12. Your Pablano Macaroni and Cheese looks so creamy and delicious. I can't wait to make this recipe. Great job! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.
    Miz Helen

  13. This mac and cheese looks great! I can't wait to post mine :)

  14. UM... YUM! What a delicious dish - I'm so glad you loved yours as much as I loved mine... from one M&C fan to another!

    Great job!

  15. I dont make much mac and cheese cause I get a little freaked out by all the fat that goes into it, but I always order it when I see it on a menu cause it's so yummy. I love this wonderful twist, it is very tempting to get in the kitchen and cook up a batch!
    *kisses* HH

  16. This looks scrumptious! I love trying any new mac n cheese recipe and poblano's are one of my favorite peppers, especially roasted. An excuse to go back out to Evans Orchard to see if they got some more peppers.

  17. I've just recently discovered my love of poblano peppers, so I must make this immediately. Yum!

  18. Love love love poblanos! The only place I can buy them around here too is Whole Foods. Weird. Anyway, this looks gorgeous Kim. So flavourful, creamy and delicious!

  19. I love your photos! All that cheesy mac and cheese goodness!

  20. DIVINE!! I loved this dish, my hubby was in heaven..great photos!!

  21. I can not wait to try this. When ya'll first announced this event and listed the recipes you would be doing, this was THE ONE that I was most interested in.


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