One of the household duties I’ve picked up is cooking dinner during the week. While I’m a fine grillmaster on my Big Green Egg, most of my inside cooking knowledge is theoretical rather than practical. I’m not (much of) a danger to myself or anything, but I haven’t needed to do much cooking over the past 20 year. THE WIFE is an excellent cook, and it’s her hobby, so there really hasn’t been much of a need for me to step in beyond serving as her sous chef or making the occasional meatloaf or enchiladas.
One of the first things I cooked was grilled pork chops paired with the Pepper Jack Mac And Cheese from Steven Raichlen’s book Man Made Meals (Amazon affiliate link). It was a spicy beast, but was quite wonderful, and I made the whole thing from scratch. Unfortunately, the recipe for this specific version of the Mac isn’t available online and I don’t have permission to reprint the recipe (food folks get very upset and litigious about recipes!), so I’ll just have to tell you about it.
It’s a baked Mac And Cheese with a cut up poblano pepper, prosciutto, and an onion. It’s topped with either break crumbs or (my choice) crushed up tortilla chips. After cooking up 2 cups of macaroni you melt some butter and toast the chip bits. After that, brown the onions, peppers, and ham for about 4 minutes. Stir in some flour and let it cook for about a minute, then begin whisking in some milk. At this point you’re basically making a white gravy filled with peppers, onions, and proscuitto. After it has thickened a bit, add a wee bit of mustard, then the cooked macaroni and the cheese. Stir that all together and pour it into a greased baking dish. Cover it with the tortilla bits and bake.
And the verdict? It was pretty darn good, although a bit spicy. If I had more presence of mind, I would have taken a picture. I’ll try to get better about that. I’ve always struggled with things like making a white gravy, so I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I just had to be patient and stick to the recipe.
Would I Make This Dish Again? Yes
Would I Change Anything? Yes. We like spicy food, but this was perhaps a bit hotter than either of us would prefer in side dish. It’s likely the fault of the specific pepper Jack cheese I used, but I think next time I’ll either leave out the poblano pepper or just use regular Jack cheese.