Tuesday, December 3, 2013

White Cheddar Beer Mac and Cheese

(from my Instagram: ashmelzorn)

Back in October when my family took a trip to Oregon we visited Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. We began our meal with their Beer Cheese and pretzel dip which was insanely memorable. The cheese was a melted white cheddar laced with beer and there was coarse stone ground mustard rimming the bowl. When you swiped the pretzel through the mustard and into the cheese it was phenomenal. When it came time to make our Thanksgiving menu, I mentioned turning the beer cheese dip into a mac and cheese. I've had mac and cheese with mustard powder as an ingredient in the past, so I knew if I kept it subtle we'd have a winning dish.  

(Thanksgiving plate, mac and cheese is at twelve o'clock)

I used somewhat local Tillamook White Cheddar, which is delicious. We chose the Fat Tire Amber Ale because I'm not a fan of IPAs, which the dip used (we bought a 6-pack so I didn't want to get shorted out of the leftover beer!) This mac and cheese got better with each plate of leftovers! The beer taste was a little stronger and we declared it the best mac and cheese I've ever made!

White Cheddar Beer Mac and Cheese
Veggie by Season original

12 oz. short cut pasta (we used shells)
Kosher salt
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 large or 1 small yellow onion, minced
Black pepper
3 tbsp. flour
1 c. beer of choice
1 c. 2% milk
2 tbsp. coarse ground mustard (I like inglehoffer from World Market)
12 oz. fresh grated sharp white cheddar

Preheat oven to 400*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt and add pasta, cook to al dente, about 8-10 minutes.
Heat a shallow skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter and add onions
Saute' onions for 2-3 minutes, until translucent, season with salt and black pepper.
Add flour, whisk to cook for a minute then turn heat up to medium-high.
Add beer, whisk flour clumps into beer and reduce liquid by half.
Add milk and bring mixture to a simmer, turn heat off.
Add mustard and cheese, use a spatula and stir using a figure-eight motion.
Taste cheese sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Drain pasta and pour into a baking dish, add cheese sauce and stir well to combine.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until desired brownness and crunch.