Recently I shared about some of the perils I experienced when first learning to make a sauce from a roux (browning flour in butter and then adding a liquid). This led me to share a delicious easy alternative using cream cheese for my Enchiladas Suizas recipe. Even though I still hold to this quick fix technique as a useful tool in your weeknight dinner artillery, there’s something wonderful about successfully achieving the real deal when you have more time. My hope is that my Buffalo Chicken Mac n’ Blue Cheese will motivate you enough to try out this technique! It’s rich, spicy and creamy comfort in every bite.
By now you probably must all think I have an IV of constant cheese running through my veins where I just replace the bag with different kinds every morning (can you even do that …hmmm?!) but I promise I don’t! The truth is, I have to actually limit my dairy intake for the sake of my lactose intolerance. For the most part, I don’t eat any other dairy items (yes this means no ice-cream) but when I do, it’s going to almost definitely be for cheese and it just so happens that a lot of these are the recipe triumphs that I love to share with you.
It’s hard to believe that for the first 10 years of my life, I actually didn’t like the stuff…if only I could remember that fateful moment when the winds changed and I began my descent into cheese addiction so I could go back in time and replace that slice of Brie (or whatever it was) with a carrot stick! Like most kids however, I thought Blue cheese smelt like feet and didn’t want any of it until about 10 years ago when, as with most addictions, I kept delving deeper and deeper for the ‘harder’ stuff! By the time I moved to the States and had my first introduction to the Buffalo Wings experience, I didn’t have to think twice about answering ranch or blue!! The pairing of that fiery, red, sweet tang with the smooth, creamy, richness of Blue Cheese Sauce was a wonderful new sensation. It is no surprise therefore that a timer was set somewhere in the depths of my soul waiting for the right moment to awaken my hands at combining the great delight of Mac n’ Cheese (another American Favourite) with Buffalo Chicken!
I confess that this isn’t one of those throw-it-together-while-getting-everyone-settled-at-the-dinner-table kind of meals. It’s more involved ..yes.. but well worth it for a special weekend treat.
Buffalo Chicken Mac n’ Blue
2 tbsp flour
2 -3 cups of cold milk (add more if you like your sauce to be thinner but keep in mind that the cheese will help the sauce to thicken once it melts)
1 8oz pack of crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/2 cup of Buffalo wing sauce (I know it sounds like a lot but the cheese really mellows away the heat.)
2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken
About 2-3 cups of elbow macaroni
Add half the wing sauce to the shredded chicken and allow to sit for about an hour before making the mac n’ cheese. Cook macaroni according to instructions. In the meantime, heat butter in the pan on medium heat. You want the butter to get hot but not to the point of browning or burning. Add the flour and, using a wire whisk, mix it quickly around into the butter. (I always test my butter by adding just a tiny pinch of flour and making sure it sizzles). Keep whisking around the pan for about a minute until the flour cooks and is slightly golden. At this point you want to start adding the milk very slowly but making sure to whisk rapidly the whole time. I usually gradually add the first half of the milk while whisking, but then take a small break to keep stirring and working out the lumps. I then continue to gradually add the rest of the milk. Once it is smooth and beginning to thicken up, pour in the blue cheese and continue whisking so it melts and is fully incorporated. Add the chicken and the remaining wing sauce. (We also added some Mango Habanero sauce….just coz that’s how we roll! Amazing flavour but very little of the heat actually managed to fight through the richness of the cheese.)
Once the macaroni is cooked and drained, pour it into the blue cheese sauce and serve.
Those lovely little blue flecks of cheese let you know that this a seriously good, rich and creamy mac n’ cheese. Even with all that Buffalo wing sauce, we added some extra on the side for a more powerful punch of flavour and heat.