Beer n' Bacon Mac & Cheese
Who didn’t grow up without consuming ample boxes of KD? I’m pretty sure it was a pantry staple in most households. A go-to easy meal for mom’s attempting to appease ravenous rug rats.
The recipe I am going to share with you today rivals ANY homemade mac & cheese that I’ve tried in the past. What makes it so special? Aside from being loaded with garlic, thyme & cheese this recipe also incorporates bacon and beer. Yep you read that right…a hearty stout is one of the ingredients that elevates this meal.
Here we go…
Prep Time: 15 min Cooking Time: 40 min Poll: 5 sips out of 5
6 slices bacon - diced, cooked & divided
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, divided
2 cups milk
¾ cup stout beer, such as Guinness
Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ½ cups uncooked shells pasta
½ panko breadcrumbs
½ parmesan cheese
Preheat oven (or in my case our Traegar grill) to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the shells to al dente, according to package directions & drain.
Heat a large cast iron skillet (I used the one I cooked the bacon in) over medium high heat and add 3 Tbsp. of the butter. Once melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook until bubbly and golden in colour. Slowly whisk in the milk and beer. Once the mixture starts to thicken slightly add the cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic and approximately half of the thyme. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens – 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ¾ of the cooked bacon as well as the cooked shells to the sauce.
In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter. Remove from heat and add the panko, parmesan, remaining thyme & bacon. Sprinkle over your pasta mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbly.
To be honest, the true test of this recipe was our teenage son (he loves his KD). If he approved, I was golden! Needless to say, once our meal was dished out and we started devouring…errr…enjoying our meal I asked him the question – “How do you like the mac n’ cheese?” After swallowing his latest bite he replied with three simple words that were music to my ears – “Is there more?”
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did – I promise you won’t be disappointed!