Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 21, 2011

Beer-Baked Mac 'n Cheese

Libations used: 1/2 cup beer
Libations left over: 1/2 a bottle of beer
It was pouring buckets out on Sunday, and there's nothing like holing up in the kitchen and making some creamy mac 'n cheese.  Keeping up with this month's beer theme, this recipe I found on the LA Times' Culinary SOS blog, adapted from Denver's Rackhouse Pub, seemed appropriate.  I had a ton of pretzels left over from those Chocolate & Pretzel-Covered Beer Marshmallows, so I mixed crushed pretzels in with the bread crumbs - it gives it a really nice crunch and goes well with beer.  I've also had a lonely bottle of Dos Equis sitting in my fridge since New Year's Eve - I like the xx, but not Dos Equis.  So what better way to use up this beer than douse it in loads of cheese?  Dos Equis - prepare to meet your cheesy demise!

Beer-Baked Mac 'n Cheese - serves 12

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup amber beer - or whatever you've got
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 lb Brie
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 box (16 oz) penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Panko or regular bread crumbs - I did just enough to cover the top and used about 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
- Heat the oven to 350.
- In a soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour to make a light roux.  Slowly whisk in the beer and half and half.
- Add the Brie and cream cheese to the sauce, stirring until the cheeses are melted and incorporated.
- Stir in the Gorgonzola, cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  I didn't have to add any salt because of the saltiness of the cheeses.

- Pour the mixture into a 13x9 inch baking dish - I just kept mine in the dutch oven.  Top the mixture with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 1 hour until the sauce is bubbly and the toppings are crisp and golden.
- Finish bottle of beer.
- Add crushed pretzels on top of dish about 5 minutes before you're ready to take out of the oven so they don't burn.
- Cool slightly before serving.


Jen H said...

I LOVE mac & cheese and this one sounds so ooey gooey delicious that I may have to try it on the next grey and rainy day!

Unknown said...

I NEED to try this recipe out! Sounds so yummy...