Source: California Milk Advisory Board
A customer favorite—mac and cheese—is transformed into snack size by cutting the chilled mixture into cubes. The cubes are then coated with panko and crushed potato chips and deep-fried to create a crunchy crust. To contrast with the richness of the recipe, Chef des Jardins pairs the bites with a refreshing tomato jam.
Mac & Cheese Bites
10 tbsp. butter
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
5 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups each grated white cheddar, provolone, Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/4 tsp. cayenne
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
10 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
5 cups panko bread crumbs
5 cups crushed potato chips
8 large eggs, beaten
Rice bran oil, for deep frying
Spicy Tomato Jam
2 cups sliced white onions
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 qt. canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1 tsp. cayenne
6 tbsp. hot pepper sauce, or to taste
2 tbsp. kosher salt
- Prepare Mac & Cheese Bites: In large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over med. heat, melt butter. Stir in 11/4 cups flour to make a roux; cook about 5 min., stirring frequently.
- In a separate saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Slowly pour hot cream into roux, whisking constantly. Cook 5 min. or until thickened, whisking frequently. Add cheeses and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until cheeses melt to a smooth consistency, whisking frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Cook macaroni in 4 gal. heavily salted boiling water for 2 min. less than directions state. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well.
- Fold macaroni into warm cheese sauce; cook over low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until macaroni is tender.
- Coat a shallow hotel pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray; pour mixture into pan and spread in an even layer. Refrigerate, covered, until firm.
- Cut around edge of pan to release macaroni. Unmold onto a cutting board; cut into 11/2-in. cubes.
- In food processor, pulse panko and potato chips until roughly the same size. Dust macaroni cubes lightly with flour, dip into eggs and toss in panko-potato chip mixture to coat completely. Place on parchment paper-lined sheet pan; refrigerate until needed.
- Meanwhile, prepare Spicy Tomato Jam: in large saucepan over med. heat, sweat onions and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes and cayenne; cook over med. heat until reduced to 6 cups. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add salt and hot pepper sauce and purée in food processor or blender. Set aside.
- Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 F. For each serving, to order, deep-fry 3 macaroni cubes in hot oil about 4 min. or until crust is golden brown. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve with 1/4 cup Spicy Tomato Jam.