Yes, there are several weeks missing. Yes, I plan to make up for them. Turns out getting COVID 10 days before Christmas puts a big crimp in a person’s motivation to cook, or to get caught up with blog posts after the fact.
With only six weeks to go until the end of this project (!!!) I decided picking up where I should be might be more of an incentive to get back on track than constantly working from behind. I do still plan to insert some catch-up posts along the way, so that the end result will still be 52 types of mac & cheese, even if the schedule got kind of hosed.
ANYHOODLE – every Christmas my dad makes smoked cheddar and beef jerky and wraps them up for our stockings. Last week I brought both packages to work with me – I had just tossed them in my lunch bag and my co-workers were a little confused as to why I was unwrapping presents to make my lunch that day! 😂
And because of this mac & cheese project, I scored a couple extra blocks of cheese and I’m finally putting them to use!
Daryl’s Smoked Cheddar Mac
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 5-6 ounces of my dad’s smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (see notes 1 & 2)
- Bring a pan of water to a boil, add salt, then add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse, set aside.
- Warm the milk over low heat until just on the edge of bubbling, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Melt butter over medium-low heat, then stir in flour and whisk continually for 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly add the warmed milk, stirring constantly; cook for 3-4 minutes until it thickens slightly.
- Stir in ½-1 teaspoon of salt.
- Remove 1 cup of the white sauce and reserve for future use. (see note 3)
- Add the cheese and stir until fully melted.
- Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta and stir until fully coated.
Yum! Since I haven’t made mac and cheese the last several weeks, I haven’t eaten mac and cheese the last several weeks – this is a great way to remind my taste buds what they’ve been missing. I thought about adding a few drops of Liquid Smoke to really ramp up the smoky flavor, but it wasn’t necessary.
- OK, this may be hard to obtain for people who are not my siblings, so 5-6 ounces of someone’s smoked cheddar, just know it’s way better when done in small batches at home than buying some mass-produced version.
- Typically, about 4 ounces of shredded cheese equals two cups, but I wanted to be sure that it would be really cheesy, so I used a little extra. Plus I shredded it with my superfine microplane, which creates more volume, so again I wanted to make sure I was getting a full 2 cups’ worth.
- I forget to scoop out some of the white sauce about half the time, which results in a much less cheesy flavor as well as being way too much sauce for the amount of cooked pasta. It’s useful when re-heating (instead of adding milk) to keep the mac creamier, but I do suggest also adding in more cheese. You can’t go wrong with more cheese! (Unless you’re lactose intolerant, but if that’s the case, I don’t think this blog is for you.)
Posted January 19, 2021