Cajun bacon stovetop mac & cheese


Dinner tonight, January 17, 2016
The best comfort food there is, creamy and cheesy , tasty and delicious - YUMMY!
10 servings
  • 1 lb. dried macaroni noodles
  • ½ lb. bacon, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup half & half
  • 8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Green onions, cayenne pepper, and bread crumbs for garnish (optional)

1) Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until al dente (do not overcook!).

Drain the noodles and set aside. Return the pot to the stove and set the heat to medium. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has rendered, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon grease in the pot.

Add the jalapeño and bell peppers to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. After five minutes, remove the jalapeño and bell peppers from the pan and set aside with the cooked noodles. Carefully wipe any excess fat from the pan.

Add the half cup of butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk into the butter. Cook the roux mixture* for 3 minutes, whisking constantly.

Slowly pour the chicken broth into the pan and continue to stir. Add the thyme, garlic powder, and smoked paprika to the pot, and allow the sauce to come to a boil over medium heat. Once it has come to a boil, pour the milk and half & half into the sauce and stir well.

Once the sauce mixture just barely starts to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese by the handful. Return the cooked pasta and sautéed peppers to the pot. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with green onions, cayenne pepper, and bread crumbs if desired.

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