Poblano Macaroni & Cheese

27 Jan

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The first time I made this for my husband he asked me: “What’s the green stuff?”! He was skeptical, but after the initial forkful he smiled and mentioned to me how much he enjoyed it! He liked this side dish so much, he asked me to make it the next night again! It’s not your standard Mac & Cheese. It contains white cheddar and the outlier is the green stuff… Cilantro and poblano peppers! The peppers do not add much heat to the dish, but they do offer a nice depth of flavor. Coupled with the various seasonings this recipe calls for, it’s bursting with goodness! Enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS:
2 Poblano chiles
8 oz. elbow pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups grated white cheddar (I was just shy of 4 cups, so I added some regular cheddar cheese)

DIRECTIONS:
Roast the poblano chilies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the for 20 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stem 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 ad then drain the pasta. (You want the pasta to be cooked but not mushy; cook for 5 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large baking dish or a large 12 inch 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, 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 seems a little thick return it to the stove until soft again. 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.

Recipe originally from The Homesick Texan

Adapted from http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2011/09/10/poblano-macaroni-and-cheese-the-homesick-texan-cookbook-spotlight-cook-off/

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