Friday, July 19, 2013

Mac & Cheese with Chicken, Roasted Jalapenos and Bacon

* 2 fresh jalapeno peppers
* 4 oz bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped (reserve a small amount of the bacon drippings)
* 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp AP flour
* 2 cups whole milk, warmed
*  12 oz cheddar, grated
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
* 8 oz dry pasta

1. Roast the jalapenos over a stovetop gas burner or under the broiler, turning with tongs, until the the skins are blistered all over. 
2. When the peppers are cool enough to handle remove the stems, skins, and seeds of the peppers.  Chop the flesh into a fine dice and set aside.
3. Combine the small amount of bacon drippings with the panko.
4. Cook the pasta as directed on the box.
5. In a medium sauce pan melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Cook and stir for about 2  minutes.
6. Gradually whisk in the milk.  Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce is simmering and thickened.  Let the sauce bubble and thicken for about 10 minutes, but stir it often so it doesn't scorch.
7. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheddar until melted.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
8. Pour the sauce over the cooked and drained pasta.  Mix in the reserved jalapeno peppers and the chicken.   Pour into a prepared 7 x 11 baking pan.  Top with breadcrumbs and back for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!!!

This didn't call for chicken originally, but we added it to make it a meal, and it was delicious!!!  This was great, though it had some kick from the jalapenos.  And be warned...if you have leftovers, the heat will intensify over time.

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