Bacon and Dark Ale Mac & Cheese

 

Prep Time: 20 min. - Cook Time: 40 min. - Total: 1 hr. +10 min. resting

Serves: 8

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (12 oz) Goodnight Brothers Hickory Smoked Dry Cured Bacon
  • 1 lb macaroni
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark ale
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups 35% heavy cream
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded aged Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large high-sided skillet or saucepan set over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until fat is rendered and bacon is golden and crisp around the edges. Transfer to paper towel–lined plate. Let cool completely and chop.
  3. Remove all but 1/3 cup bacon fat from pan; cook onion, garlic and thyme for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle flour over top; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Slowly whisk in ale, milk and cream; bring to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Stir in mustard, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in 1 1/2 cups Cheddar and 1 cup smoked Gouda until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and half of the bacon.
  6. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar, Gouda and bacon. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chives.

 

Tip: Spread any leftover mac and cheese into a parchment paper–lined cake pan or loaf pan. Refrigerate until set. Invert pan onto cutting board and remove parchment paper. Cut into cubes; dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg and then coat in bread crumbs. Deep-fry until golden brown for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.