Friday, December 3, 2021

Chicago Winter Day - Southern Style

I teleworked again today and adjusted my lunch to run an errand before the sun went away and the weather got any ideas about snowing. The weather has been odd this year, the trees turning color almost a month late, and no snow yet to be seen.  
With the sun out and post-Thanksgiving shopping still going on it was crazy out there.  I was tempted to just park the bat truck and "assume the position".

But no, I needed to hurry on home so I could . . . . wait for another train.
It wasn't long until the clouds were bunching up and the temperature had dropped to the low 40's.  It's a good night for comfort food. 

Southern Style Mac and Cheese

8 ounces macaroni
8 ounces American cheese
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Janes Krazy Mixed-up Salt (or any low/no sodium blend with herbs)
1/4 heaping teaspoon crushed garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup  sour cream (not the "lite" version)
3 cups half and half or a mixture of half and half and whipping cream
half of a small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups grated cheddar (grate your own, the pre-shredded stuff has fillers and stabilizers that do change how good it turns out.)
8 slices bacon.
4 sprigs of green onion chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix all of the spices and the garlic and set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, stirring so it doesn't brown too much. Stir in half and half and cook, whisking briskly to incorporate the flour, making sure it doesn't come to a boil,  for 6-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in American cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.  

Let cool while you cook the macaroni for 4-5 minutes ONLY (do not cook it all the way) and drain, fry the bacon, and chop the sweet and green onion.

Into the cooled milk mixture, whisk in the eggs (that you've already whisked in a bowl) and the spices, sweet onion, and Worcestershire sauce.

Put the macaroni in a buttered 13 x 9 pan, pour the milk mixture over the top.  Give it a stir then top with 2 cups of the grated sharp cheddar, bacon, and green onions.  Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.  The edges should be firm and starting to brown, with the center still a big jiggly (it will finish cooking as you let it sit 10 minutes).

This is a little different than the ultra-creamy mac and cheese many of you know and love.  Made with either a warm or cold custard (I've done it both ways) with eggs, and made with a mild mixture of American and Cheddar, it bakes into a creamy casserole you cut into squares. The traditional southern Mac and Cheese is made with Velveeta, but we prefer ours with American, sliced fresh at my grocer's deli.  It's very good hot or cold and reminds me of meals from childhood.

Of course, the ones from childhood weren't covered in bacon, but hey, it's my kitchen.

And there WILL be dessert.

Mini pistachio cream pies


  1. Hari OM
    Well, while there lots of no-no ingredients in this version for me - I still have to say YUMMEROONIES coz, well, ... mac 'n' cheese!!! YAM xx

  2. mouth is watering just looking at those photos!


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