An Irishman’s Mac and Cheese.
Yup, this is SOOOO happening right now. An Irishman’s Mac and Cheese is happening right now!
I normally wouldn’t start chatting your ear off about St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipes this early, but with Easter being in March this year, St. Patrick’s Day recipes need to come out a bit sooner.
Totally fine by me, because umm, when is mac and cheese not a good idea? FYI – it’s always a good idea, but especially on a Monday. 🙂
So even though I don’t mind chatting about this Irishman’s Mac and Cheese, I am kind of bummed that Easter is in March this year. Anyone with me?? It’s totally throwing me off. I mean for one, March is just not “springy” enough for Easter. Come Easter there should be things popping out of the ground and warmer temps. I mean let’s be real, that just doesn’t typically happen by the end of March. Second, I simply like having Easter in April, it adds something special, gives it color and just makes it more, well… fun! UGH. For real though, does this bother anyone else or is it just crazy and insane me?
SIDE NOTE: I just pulled meringue out of my hair and off of my red sweatshirt (that I have been wearing since Saturday). The sweatshirt is covered in so many different foods I can’t even distinguish what they all are any more. To say that I need a shower would be and understatement. My kitchen could probably use a good scrub too, but well, that’s most likely not going to happen…
Alright, but let’s be serious. Are you guys ready for this mac and cheese??? Because it is legit.
Meaning it’s loaded with all things a really good mac and cheese should be loaded with, and then some.
To be completely honest, I don’t know a whole lot about Irish cooking. I know they eat a lot of potatoes, corn beef, cabbage, fish and chips (which are potatoes), but other than that I’m really not all that knowledgable on Irish cooking.
Ohhhh, but I do know they like their stout beers and especially their whiskey.
Basically what I did is took the Irish foods I know (and love) and put them into a mac and cheese…the bestest mac and cheese. I used mass amounts of sharp Irish cheddar, a little bacon, some kale pesto and um well as you can see, a little potato chip crumble situation baked on top. You may be thinking twice about that kale, and maybe even questioning potato chips on top of mac and cheese, but just stop all those thoughts right now. If you don’t like kale, that’s fine, leave it out, but don’t even think twice about omitting those potato chips.
I mean, you love a good baked mac and cheese with a buttery bread crumb on top right?!? Well, this is that mac and cheese only elevated. Traditionally I’m really not all that into potato chips, but there are certain foods that I just love paring them with. They add a delicious salty crunch and when I thought of that salty crunch atop a buttery, cheesy mac and cheese, I couldn’t resist.
It had to happen.
So I created the ultimate “Irishman’s Mac and Cheese”. Think a little stout, a lot of cheese, crispy bacon, kale for greens and flavor (and because I heard somewhere that Irish like dark greens…is this true??), topped with crushed all natural potato chips and baked to cheesy pasta perfection.
Really though, could there be anything better? And on a Monday to boot??
The only thing missing is a little whiskey…but I’m sure that could be arranged.
An Irishman's Mac and Cheese.
Kale Pesto Slaw
- 1 bunch kale sliced into thin shreds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup [homemade | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/20-minute-brown-butter-chunky-basil-pesto-pasta/] or store- bought pesto
- juice of half a lemon
Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound of your favorite short cut pasta
- 4-6 slices thick cut bacon chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup stout beer or another 1/2 cup of milk
- 3 cups whole milk warm
- 2 1/2 cups sharp Irish white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 1/4 cups havarti cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup of the kale slaw recipe above
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoons salt + pepper
- 1-2 cups lightly crushed potato chips
Kale Pesto Slaw
- Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Massage the olive oil and salt into the kale for a minute or two. Add the pesto and lemon juice, toss well to combine. Keep stored in the fridge.
Mac and Cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray or lightly grease with oil.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al-dente. You want it to have a bit of bite to it. It will finish cooking in the oven. Drain well.
- In the same pot you boiled the pasta, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease out of the pot. In the same pot, melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the beer and cook another minute. Now slowly pour in the milk, whisking until combined. Raise the heat up to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the cheese, kale pesto, mustard powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted (if needed, return the pot to the heat to fully melt the cheese). Stir in the pasta and bacon, transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the potato chips crumbs and place the baking dish on top of a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let site five minutes (yeah, right). Top with the kale pesto slaw. Dig in!!
Mac and Cheese + cocktails = Monday done right! 🙂 Oh, and don’t forget to keep on voting!