Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese!

Since we ate all of the mushrooms from last nights chicken dish all we had left was a bunch of lightly lemony chicken which was just not acceptable. I decided to chop it up and make some buffalo-chicken macaroni and cheese with a poor young couple living in the city twist (read: I eliminated a bunch of the ingredients). The original recipe is amazing and delicious. I highly recommend making it without changing a single thing. I made it last spring for my roommates and there wasn't a lot left. It makes a TON so you might want to cut it in half.

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese 
(Food Network Magazine) 

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

4. Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

5. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

For our poor young couple living in the city version I used left over green onions instead of a real onion and italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of the panko (and the panko is essential!). I omitted the celery, half-and-half (used 2% milk instead), pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and blue cheese (the travesty!). It still tasted good but it didn't come close to the original in taste or creaminess for obvious reasons. I just pretended I was being all healthy by cutting the cheese, half-and-half, and sour cream. Mr. Lawyer was inhaling it until I told him about the cuts to which I received an anguished "But you could have included ONE of them!!!" The best part is that even though I cut the recipe in half (another cheapo sacrifice influenced by ingredients on hand) there's enough to feed us for three nights!

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