Recipe: Apple Beer Mac & Cheese

Apple Beer Mac & CheeseApple Beer Mac & Cheese
By Chef Nicole Gomez, Executive Chef
Nicole Gourmet, Calgary, AB

This easy gourmet macaroni and cheese is a favourite! The sweetness of the apples and addition of the sharp beer really add a new dimension. You can fancy it up even further by adding your morning’s leftover bacon or last night’s roast ham.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
¼ cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
3 cups (750 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) crème fraiche
½ cup (125 mL) strong IPA beer (7%)
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
1½ tsp (7 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly grated nutmeg

Pasta Apple Cheese Layer:
3 cups (750 mL) mini lumaconi or elbow pasta
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
3 cups (750 mL) peeled and grated Golden Delicious apples (about 3 large)
¾ cup (175 mL) Panko breadcrumbs, toasted
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 cups (500 mL) lightly packed shredded Black River Medium Cheddar cheese
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed shredded Canadian Muenster cheese
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed shredded Gunn’s Hill Five Brothers cheese
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed shredded Sylvan Star Canadian Smoked Gouda Cheese
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed shredded Canadian Raclette Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°F).

2. In large pot, melt butter on medium-high heat. Add flour and bay leaf and whisk until smooth; cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Whisk in milk in a slow steady stream. Whisk until smooth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat spoon, about 8 to 12 minutes. Turn off heat. Whisk in crème fraiche, beer, mustard, salt, and nutmeg. Remove and discard bay leaf.

3. Pasta Apple Cheese Layer: In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes under the package directions. Drain and rinse lightly. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, in medium skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add apples and any accumulated juices; sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and oil; set aside.

5. Spread one-half of the pasta in 13×9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish. Pour one-half of the sauce, top with one-half each of the Cheddar, Muenster, Five Brothers, Smoked Gouda, and Raclette cheeses. Top with one-half of the apples and stir lightly. Repeat with remaining pasta, sauce, cheeses and apples; stir lightly. Sprinkle evenly with reserved breadcrumb mixture on top.

6. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered until hot, breadcrumbs are light golden brown and edges are bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Source:  Dairy Farmers of Canada and Balmoral Multicultural Marketing