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Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

You can blame Twitter for this one …

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

While tweeting yesterday with @KerrygoldUSA we were discussing macaroni and cheese.  Specifically, we were discussing the seasonality of the dish.  Some folks apparently feel that macaroni and cheese is a cool weather dish … only.  In my humble opinion, even if it is piping hot from the oven in the middle of August, macaroni and cheese is always a good idea.  I will agree that some comfort food is decidedly seasonal.  If it has certain spices, herbs, or root vegetables I will concede their place on fall/winter menus only.  However, macaroni and cheese is different for me.  Maybe it is my addiction to gooey cheese, or perhaps it is my carb lust, but I can eat macaroni and cheese anytime as long as it is prepared well.

I do not often make baked macaroni and cheese, preferring my quick and easy stove top recipe.  Mainly I like a high sauce to pasta ratio and, at least in my experience, mac and cheese is less creamy once subjected to nearly an hour in the oven.  Could I make a baked mac and cheese that would retain the gooey goodness I so love and desire?  I decided to find out.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

I started with what flavors I wanted in my dish.  That got me thinking of other cheese dishes I love and beer cheese soup came to mind.  When paring beer with cheese I prefer bock beers.  The malty flavor of bock beer is a nice contrast to rich, sharp cheeses.  Another flavor I wanted was onion.  I tried a recipe for macaroni and cheese that included grated onion and, while I disliked the texture, the grated onion had a big impact on the flavor.

To keep the finished product extra creamy I decided to add 4 ounces of cream cheese to the sauce.  Cream cheese also helps the sauce from becoming grainy while baking, another mac and cheese pet peeve of mine.  The last thing I did was fry up two slices of smoked bacon until they were very crisp and then blitz them into powder in my blender.  I added this powder to the panko crumb topping.  You could skip that part, but the essence of bacon really takes this dish from ‘super-good’ to ‘over-the-top awesome’.  Thick, creamy, and oh-so cheesy, this macaroni and cheese is perfect anytime.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese         Serves 8

8 ounces elbow of penne pasta
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bock, or other amber, beer
1 cup half and half
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) Parmesan cheese, finely shredded, divided
2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) fontina cheese, shredded
2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) smoked provolone cheese, shredded
2 slices thick cut bacon, cooked crisp
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions, reducing the cooking time by one minute.  Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking.  Set aside.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

In a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat until it foams.  Add the grated onion, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes or until the mixture is just lightly golden brown.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Whisking constantly add the beer and half and half and cook until the mixture is smooth.  Let the sauce come to a simmer and thicken.  Add the cream cheese and whisk until completely smooth.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Turn the heat down to low and, in three batches, add the cheddar cheese, half the Parmesan, fontina, and provolone.  Once smooth turn off the heat and fold in the cooked pasta.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish and top with the reserved Parmesan cheese.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Put the crisp bacon strips in a blender and process until the bacon is finely ground.  Combine the bacon powder in a medium bowl along with the melted butter and panko bread crumbs.  Toss until the mixture is well combined.  Spread the mixture evenly over the macaroni.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the mixture is just starting to bubble at the edges.  Cool for ten minutes before serving.

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Enjoy!

Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese

 

 

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33 Responses to “Bock Beer Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. This looks great I also usually prefer stovetop mac because of the creaminess. I’ll have to try this!

  2. julia says:

    Beer, cheese, bacon and onion, dear sweet goodness. I think I just fell in love. I feel the same way about baked mac and cheese. I’m gonna have to make this, HAVE to!!!!

  3. You’ve outdone yourself…I am drooling everywhere!

  4. RavieNomNoms says:

    WOW!! I am in love with mac and cheese and this is just such a great recipe. You are a 10 on the YUMALICIOUS scale!

  5. Karly says:

    Those people that only eat mac n cheese in the winter? Insane. And probably sad.

    This looks AMAZING. Love how creamy you kept it!

  6. Love all of the flavor components and I’m with you…after making my first dish of mac and cheese without the oven baking I realized why it had often not appealed to me…I like the gooey sauce business too!

    I missed the crispy coating on top though and this seems to bring it all together…nicely done!

  7. Kari says:

    Mmmm. Looks much better than the frozen lunch I’m eating right now!

    Do you have a favorite beer cheese soup recipe? I’ve been looking for a good one that doesn’t call for Cheez Whiz (:

  8. Bacon powder could become my new seasoning of choice. What wouldn’t it be good on, seriously? I’m going to sneak one of my hubby’s bock beers away from him and try your recipe.

  9. In the south we eat mac and cheese all year round. I make mine with smoked gouda. I will have to make yours. Anything with bacon in it has got to be good.

  10. Oooh this looks so naughty! Beer, cheese, and bacon? Yes please, love it!

  11. Impressive! This looks completely delish. Love the addition of beer – I have book marked this one to make!

  12. Parsley Sage says:

    Awesome dish! The bacon in the panko is absolute genius :) Well done!

  13. Rodzilla says:

    This looks really good, did you use a craft beer?

  14. Oh my word, that’s one amazing (and drunk!) mac’n cheese! Delicious, indeed!

  15. anna says:

    shoot! how amazing does this look! wow, beer with mac and cheese is a FANTASTIC idea.

  16. WOW. I need this.
    I refuse to make it until my vegetarian challenge is over bc I feel like without bacon it just won’t be as amazing. But is anything?

  17. Tiffany says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more… macaroni and cheese is a year round dish! And I love the beer…

  18. Oh my goodness… This looks just amazing!

  19. dena says:

    Oh yum! Will be trying this at my daughter’s house at next visit. She likes mac ‘n cheese, her fiancee likes beer. A match made in heaven.

  20. JulieD says:

    I love when you can blame twitter for a foodie creation. I agree with you that mac & cheese is good ANY time of the year. I’m sure my husband would love this!

  21. Carolyn M says:

    EVERYTHING YOU MAKE IS AMAZING!!!! I am making your bologense sauce right now and smells better than anything Ive ever smelt and your chocolate chip cookies with bacon greese and cayene pepper where both delicious and outragously original! You are a rock star! Keep it up!!!!

  22. I think I just fell in love…with this recipe. I never would have thought of adding beer; must make this soon!

  23. Jeff Patrick says:

    Looks awesome! I would love to put some chilli on top of that as well. Bock beer is always great as well.

    Jeff Patrick
    Joint Health Author
    joint juice review

  24. Kristen says:

    Can you please make a specific bock beer recommendation? I don’t know anything about beer and want to make sure I get the best one :) Thanks!

  25. Kelly says:

    Kristen – I usually use Shiner Bock since it is from Texas … like me!

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