Southern Comfort

It’s been far too long since my last food related post.  The reasons could follows paths back to a number of things (i.e. moving, wedding plans, laziness, not cooking anything of great note), but the time has come today! 

It was a nice Monday evening and a group of us had just finished playing a pick-up game of football at a park.  It was planned out that we would make dinner afterward 2006 style (in ’06 I lived in an apt with my brother, my friend Josh, and his brother Jason.  We all love food and would cook a noteworthy meal at least once a week).  This time the menu was set, Sweet-Tea Brine Fried Chicken and Bacon-Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese.  Josh was the chicken master and I was the Mac.

 

Like a light from Jesus shining in on the cheesy melty bacony deliciousness that was the Bacon-Jalapeno Mac N Cheese.  It’s a fairly easy recipe, nothing too complicated but very delicious.  Something important to remember though is that you want sharp cheddar cheese.  Anything else will get lost in the mix.  The sharper the better. 

Bacon-Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese

1 box elbow macaroni

1 quart of whole milk

6 cloves of garlic

5 1/2 cups sharp quality cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 stick of butter

2 heaping tbl spoons of flour

2 jalapenos chopped

6 slices of bacon sliced width-wise into small bites

1/3 onion chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine milk and 3 garlic cloves in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Leave the garlic in the paper (you’ll strain it later).  In a separate pan cook macaroni according to box to just al dente (8-9 minutes).  In a saute pan render the bacon to desired crispness; add remaining garlic minced and onion.  Cook until onion and jalapeno are soft but not mushy.  In a large saucepan add butter and flour over medium-high heat.  Mix together until smooth.  Strain the simmering milk into the flour/butter mixture.  Stir and whisk until the large chunks are gone and the sauce begins to thicken.  Add 4 1/2 cups grated cheese and continue to stir until cheese is melted.  Add cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce.  Stir until the noodles are covered.  Strain the bacon/onion/jalapeno mixture to rid of excess fat.  Add the mixture to the noodles and cheese.  You want the noodles to still be a little loose; it’ll come together when you bake it.  Pour into a large baking dish and top with remaining cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese begins to form a crust on top.  Enjoy.

I’ll let Josh tell you about the chicken which was fantastic if he ever wants.

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