Poblano Macaroni & Cheese: The Homesick Texan Cookbook Cook Off

As I scanned Girlichef’s email outlining the assignments for our Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off, I giggled with glee to learn that week two would include a twist on one of my favorite dishes – Macaroni & Cheese.

In one of my earliest posts on my own Mac and Cheese, I waxed poetic for a solid three paragraphs on my personal and family history with this classic American dish. If you want, you can read about it on the link above, however, suffice it to say, should old wives’ tales start coming true, “you are what you eat” would have serious macaroni & cheese consequences for me. If you start hearing of people turning into random foods, look for me in the pasta aisle.

The “extra” ingredients that Lisa Fain uses in this fab dish really give it the pop and zing that make this M & C special… and give it true Texas flavor! YUM. I can’t put my finger on if it’s the cilantro, the lime, the cumin, the poblanos… or a combination of all of the above. Every mouthful brings flavors that burst across your tongue and delight the senses.

Six stars on a four star scale!

Poblano Macaroni & Cheese

adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook, page 265

2 poblano chiles
8 oz (2 cups) elbow pasta (I used farfalle)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin (accidentally used 1 tsp because I looked at the wrong recipe)
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt & black pepper to taste
4 cups grated white cheddar
1/2 cup Cotija cheese

1. Roast the poblano chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close tightly and allow chiles to steam for 20 minutes. Remove from bag, and rub off skin; then remove the stem and seed, chipping into 2″ long pieces.

2. Preheat the oven to 375. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente; drain and dump into a large greased baking dish.

3. On low heat, melt the butter, then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Add flour, stirring constantly and cook until a light brown paste forms (1 minute). Whisk in the milk and stir until thickened but fluid, then remove from the heat. Stir in remaining seasonings.

4. Add half the cheese and stir until combined into the sauce. (If you need to, return to low heat, but don’t allow to get too thick — adding milk 1 tsp at a time can, however, thin back out.) Pour over pasta and top with remaining half of cheddar. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until cheese is browned.

Sprinkle with Cotija and serve. Optional, garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

Until next week, when you learn what Week 3 will bring… a teaser… expect a whole lot of chiles and some red meat!

This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef.

Check out what some of my collaborators made:

girlichef #1 (#2) – Foodness Gracious (#2) – Kahakai KitchenMangoes and ChutneyStirring the PotEKat’s KitchenA Platter of Figs Anchovies and ButterSweet LifeFudge RippleMiz Helen’s Country CottageBo’s Bowl Creative KitchenRook no. 17Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head ManorCooking for My Peace of MindLa Cocina de Leslie (#2) – Nutmeg NannyMy Year on the Grill

EKat’s Kitchen :. a series of culinary experiments and digressions on life. © 2010-2011

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24 Responses

  1. tadkapasta says:

    This sounds wonderful, Erin. Poblanos are a fave with us, so much flavor and spiced just right.

  2. This was such a great dish wasn’t it?! I love it with the farfalle–it’s one of my favorite pastas and the extra cumin–not an accident in my book.

    I do thank you Erin for commenting on my willpower on my post, for this dish but remember I am a household of one so a half-batch still means I had plenty of it. 😉

  3. Looks awesome with the farfalle! I can’t wait for next week to see where everyone goes with the free choice!
    Thanks and take care in that pasta aisle…

  4. girlichef says:

    I think it’s the CUMIN! That’s what totally sent it soaring to the top of the charts for me. I love how people have such wonderful love affairs with cheese-covered pasta 😉

  5. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Erin,
    Your Poblano Macaroni and Cheese looks delicious. It is has so many great flavors. Thanks for sharing and hope you are having a wonderful week!
    Miz Helen

  6. Kim says:

    I’m a mac and cheese lover too and I loved that you used the farfalle in your recipe. Plus, the extra cumin was no doubt fantastic since it gives such a nice flavor. Can’t wait to see your week 3 pick!

  7. Dan says:

    That looks soooo good.

    I WISH that I was able to make something like that. My oldest is a very picky eater and when it comes to pasta, will only eat Kraft Dinner or plain pasta with butter.

    As much of a treat it is to make real mac and cheese (baked, good cheeses, spices, etc.), it’s not worth it if I need to make something else for him. Well, maybe I’ll try it anyway since the youngest will definitely try it (he east anything).

  8. JennyBean says:

    Good lord, that looks good. And me trying to diet and all. Sometimes, I think I should just give in and be fat.

    XOXO, Jenny

  9. Ale says:

    Hi Erin,
    Do you stir in the poblanos on #3 or do you blend them with the mixer? This looks so yummy! And reminds me of one of my mom’s recipes 🙂

  10. Ale, you stir them into the sauce. Though blending would also be a delicious way to to! 🙂

  11. Lisa~~ says:

    So many wonderful flavors, sounds delicious.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  12. Miranda says:

    I dipped into my leftovers tonight. I think after you turn into some sort of pasta dish, I’ll be close behind!

  13. Hey Erin,
    If you are what you eat, I too would proabably fall into the pasta ranks! Although I can’t handle the spicy eats my family would LOVE this!

  14. I love the addition of the cilantro! I am going to have to make another batch 🙂

  15. Rajani says:

    Love pasta in any form, simple, yummy and trouble free to make 🙂

  16. peachkins says:

    this is something that I would love!

  17. kayla says:

    Your Mac N Cheese looks amazing and love the “texas” spin you put on it!!

  18. Yum. I love the addition of poblano; I bet that is a scrumptious combination with the cheese. I’m intrigued and will have to try this now. Thanks for sharing!

  19. This looks amazing! I love poblano’s! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  20. Krissa says:

    The flavors in this sound so good!

  21. Run DMT says:

    It’s comfort with a kick. YUM!!!

  22. Concetta says:

    What a wonderful recipe and the farfelle is the best choice! Thank you for sharing this keeper!

  23. I think it’s the lime!! great flavor!! happy weekend!!

  24. Leslie says:

    I think it’s the cumin and the chili powder! Whatever it was, it worked!

    And I think that Mac & Cheese should be it’s very own food group.

    Turning into Mac & Cheese wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I mean, EVERYONE love Mac & Cheese. No one can resist it. 🙂

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