Unleashing the Flavor of New Orleans
New Orleans, known as a haven for food lovers, offers a culinary experience like no other. While fancy restaurants serve up delectable Creole dishes, the real magic lies with the small eateries, food trucks, and talented home cooks who can turn a simple dish into something extraordinary. This holds true even for the classic macaroni and cheese.
The boxed version of mac-n-cheese has long been a favorite among people from all walks of life. In fact, the Macaroni and Cheese brand, owned by Kraft Foods, earns a staggering $16 billion annually. That’s a lot of cheese-covered noodles! However, there are numerous ways to create a cheesy masterpiece that go beyond the standard cheese powder packet.
Making macaroni and cheese from scratch is easier than you might think and has transformed into an art form. Serious Eats has compiled a list of the 10 Best Macaroni and Cheese recipes that will make you think outside the box. Alongside the classic homemade version, you’ll find tantalizing options like an extra gooey cheese rendition, a baked variation, waffle-style macaroni and cheese, a chickpea and spinach twist, a pizza-inspired version, and more. Surprisingly, a Creole or Cajun version did not make the cut.
Luckily, I’ve been preparing my Creole Macaroni and Cheese recipe for years. As with most recipes I cook, the ingredients do vary from time to time. For this “grown-up” version, I typically use jalapeno Velvetta cheese, but occasionally experiment with different blends. In the pictured version below, I opted for the creamy and mild taste of “Queso Blanco.”
A homemade mac and cheese dish rivals any boxed alternative in terms of cheesiness and, more importantly, taste. To achieve this, you’ll need to flex your roux-making skills to transform a blonde roux into a velvety, white cheese sauce. Once the sauce is ready, simply add cooked elbow noodles, ensuring they are thoroughly coated in the sauce. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 pan, sprinkle with more shredded cheese, and bake for a few minutes until the cheese melts and bubbles tantalizingly on top.
Planning to serve mac-n-cheese at your next holiday gathering or family get-together? Rest assured, this Creole twist will be an instant crowd pleaser. Furthermore, give the other recipes on Serious Eats a try, and you might find yourself ditching the boxed versions and embracing homemade macaroni and cheese from now on!
Indulge in New Orleans’ Finest
When it comes to macaroni and cheese, some of the best you’ll find in the entire country comes from the vibrant city of New Orleans. FOOD&WINE even recognized Chef Donald Link’s establishment, Cochon Butcher, as serving one of the country’s finest bowls of mac and cheese. Their unique rendition features elbow macaroni, cream cheese, sharp white cheddar, tomato paste, and house-cured pancetta, all finished with a sprinkle of Parmesan and bread crumbs.
Recently, GoNOLA compiled a list of the Top 5 Places to indulge in Macaroni and Cheese in New Orleans. These spots represent the culmination of what Drew Lockett, former chef de cuisine at Cochon Butcher, describes about mac ‘n’ cheese: “It’s part of our culture in southeast Louisiana. It’s comfort food, plain and simple.”
Impress with Creole Macaroni and Cheese
Give my Creole Macaroni and Cheese recipe a try the next time you’re searching for a delightful side dish to impress your loved ones. Not only is it a fantastic addition to any holiday spread, but it also pairs perfectly with any chicken dish. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recipe, so don’t forget to leave a comment below!
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