Friday, June 07, 2013

What if macaroni and cheese...was a SOUP? Oh yeah.

The eternally soggy spring shows no signs of drying up anytime soon. In fact, when Cyd got home today, she set about making a fire in the wood stove for us, as I was finishing up with a cozy crock pot of soup for our dinner. SOUP! IN JUNE! THAT ISN'T GAZPACHO OR VICHYSSOISE! That's just not right. Oh well. I'll take it over 100 degree days anytime.
I'm not sure where I first ran across this recipe. It was probably something a friend posted on their Facebook wall. In any case, I adapted it to be made in the crock pot because I wasn't exactly sure when we would feel like eating dinner. So I basically made a cheese soup and cooked it on low all day, then I made the pasta and held it separately until serving time. That will help keep the leftovers from getting mushy, too. Am I not clever?
I think it turned out very well. Of course, Cyd's initial remark when she came in from work? "Smells weird." Her second comment? "I'm going to go get a cheeseburger from the drive-thru." Cyd thinks soup is just a precursor to "real food," but she ate a whole big bowl of it, begrudgingly admitted it was good and quite filling, and never did go get that burger. Ha! This also makes a nice meatless meal, I might add, if you're trying to cut down on the carne.
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Soup
(Source: adapted from Seeded at the Table
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 of a large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
few shakes of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup sharp pub cheese spread
1/2 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound elbow macaroni or small shells

Garnish: sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

Melt butter in a small skillet or sauce pan and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Scrape the roux into the crock pot, then whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time. Whisk in the cream, mustard, hot sauce, pepper, and salt. Cook on high for two hours or low for four, then whisk in the pub cheese and shredded cheddar until smooth.

Meanwhile, prepare one pound of pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water to hold until the soup is done. To serve, add a handful or two of pasta to a bowl, then fill with the cheese soup and stir. Garnish with a spoonful of chopped sun dried tomatoes.


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