Last Thanksgiving, I created this exceptional macaroni and cheese creation that has quickly become a family favorite and my go-to recipe when I want something extra naughty. Because the menu that night had a Latin-American theme, I titled this dish, “Cerveza” (Beer) Mac and Cheese, even though I’ve never actually made this with a Mexican brew (although I pretty sure Dos Equis would work well here). This creation has a Mexican aunt if anything (the chipotle peppers bare homage to that), but it really was a smokehouse whom served as the true mother, for I have produced a gutsy sauce utilizing a blend of sharp cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses, a burst of garlic, and lots and lots of beer. As it is the most important component in this dish, make sure you pick a beer that’s teeming with flavor. I chose a sharp and spicy IPA this time around, abundant with citrusy notes of orange peel and a jolting, bitter kick that lingers in the mouth and counteracts, yet still plays well with, the complexities of the cheese. Gone are the days where we should get content with one-note, boxed mac. Surrender yourself to this loud, raunchy, and bold symphony of flavors that takes the “night cheese” to a whole new level.
Recipe: Cerveza Mac and Cheese
A CookingFever Original
- 3/4 pound macaroni, elbow-shaped pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk, use at least 2% fat content
- 12 oz beer, recommend anything flavorful and hoppy, such as a dark ale or IPA
- 2 canned chipotle peppers, chopped
- 3 plump garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 pound smoked gouda cheese, grated
- 1/3 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk rapidly, cooking it out for a minute until it has changed to a slight golden brown color and the raw-flour smell has disappeared.
- Add about half of the milk, whisking until the mixture has thickened. Then add the rest of the milk.
- Add the garlic and chipotle peppers, along with a little bit of salt and good amount of cracked black pepper, Simmer the mixture for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly so that nothing sticks to the bottom or burns.
- Begin streaming in the beer adding it in increments, waiting for the mixture to thicken before adding more each time. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the bottom of a wooden spoon but not so thick that its super glopy. Feel free to add extra milk or beer if you need to thin it out.
- Add the cheese and let it melt over low heat. Once melted in, taste the sauce for seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
- Stir in the cooked macaroni, tossing for about a minute or so. The sauce should stick to the noodles. If the dish seems a little too saucy, that’s fine for the noodles will continue to soak up the sauce as they sit.
- Serve warm with garnish of fresh cilantro on top, if desired.