Recipe 25: Mac and Cheese Soup

Hello, Weekly Mackers.  I don’t know what the weather’s been like by you, but here at the Maison de Mac, it has been ridonkulous-hot.  I confess I may be biased: I tend to handle weather extremes quite poorly, especially when it’s extreme heat.  I have not been feeling like doing a whole lot in the kitchen, especially if it involves hovering over the stove-top.  But I can’t let y’all down, can I?

I knew looking at this recipe that it would probably be better suited for the fall or winter, but I couldn’t resist.  Last time I made a recipe that was less than mac, it was a dismal failure.  I couldn’t just leave the category like that, I needed to give it a chance to redeem itself.  So I braved the sweltering hot of my kitchen to whip this up.  Oh, the things I do for the love of the Internetz!

Mac and Cheese Soup (from This Woman Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni (I used rice fusilli)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced celery (I left this out, but maybe should have kept it in)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free equivalent)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used sake because that’s what I had open – and no white wine at home)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk (I used skim)
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese – optional (not “optional” in my book!)
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh chives

Directions

Cook macaroni in large pot of salted water according to package direction; drain and set aside.

Sweat onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour to coat and cook 1 minute (this got really quite clumpy for me). Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated (I didn’t simmer long enough; I think I felt panicky over the clumpiness). Stir in broth, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 minutes, then whisk and warm through. Do not let boil or base may become grainy.

(Note: Nowhere in the original recipe does it indicate when to add the milk.  I added it around now.)

Add cheddar, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next cup. Stir in macaroni, lemon juice, and salt; remove from heat.

Combine bleu cheese and chives in a small bowl. Garnish each serving with bleu cheese mixture.

Mmm… Soup…

Verdict: 2.5/5

This was not a bad recipe, but it could have been better.  I think maybe 1/2 cup more noodles would have been better, and maybe the addition of bacon.  I should have used the whole milk instead of skim; it would have been thicker and heartier.  however, you see the addition of the lemon juice at the end?  This isn’t so much for a note of citrus, but rather because by adding the acid tot he milk, it causes it to mildly curdle; not in a bad way, but in a way that actually helps thicken it slightly (fun fact: If you add acid to warmed milk, it can be the beginning of creating some homemade ricotta).  The soup had a feel rather like a potato soup, but a little salty – maybe my stock wasn’t low sodium?  I didn’t check, but I usually just buy the normal stock.  The addition of the blue cheese was not optional in my opinion, and not just because of my affinity for the stuff; it added a savory note that helped interrupt the somewhat salty overtones.

Have you ever made any of the recipes here?  Do you have any suggestions for me to make?  Let me know!

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