Stovetop Mustard Macaroni & Cheese

I put mustard in dishes that should not have mustard in them.  Mustard powder is great, but the real-deal condiment adds a great zing to just about everything, in my experience.

Taco meat? Add mustard. Tuna salad sandwiches? Let’s add some mustard. Hummus? Mustard. Clam chowder? Why not – where’s the mustard.

Did anyone else eat cheese and mustard sandwiches growing up? I never really missed the ham or turkey.  I was after that sharp cheddar cheese and French’s Yellow Mustard combo, with so much mustard it would ooze out the edges and seep through the holes in the bread if you pressed down on the sandwich.

The addition of yellow mustard and Dijon mustard to your typical tabletop mac and cheese did not disappoint – and it gave me validation to continue with my bizarre food experiments. I had been adding mustard powder to most of my stovetop macs, but the condiment adds a “what did you put in this?” mystery flavor that’s difficult to put your finger on.

Stovetop mac, if you haven’t made it before, can and should be a staple food in your household. Yes, even if you are kid-less. Admit that you want it – it’s OK, we all do.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is perfect in every way an iconic American staple food can be perfect. But you’re getting so much extra oomph mixing whatever yummy cheese you have on-hand in your fridge to your favorite short pasta, adding some milk or cream, and seasoning the gooey mixture to your heart’s content. Just make sure you’re adding some of the processed stuff – Kraft American Cheese Singles or Velveeta – I will arrest you if you don’t.

Mike Myers, featured in a 1992 blockbuster as the doofus Wayne in Wayne’s World, had his priorities straight when he asked:

“Pardon me sir – do you have any Grey Poupon?”

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetites.

  • 1 box short pasta
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, of your choosing
  • 10 Kraft American Cheese Singles
  • 3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard, of your choosing
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, of your choosing
  • 3 / 4 cup half & half
  • 1 cup reserved cooking liquid from the pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil a pot of water, cooking the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid before straining.
  2. In the same pot, add the butter, half & half, both mustards, salt and pepper. Immediately return the pasta to the pot.
  3. With the pot on low heat, add the cheeses and stir until the cheese and butter melts completely. Begin to stir in the cooking liquid in small pours until the mixture reaches desired consistency. The pasta will dry out over time, so if you’re going for seconds you may want to add more of the cooking liquid to “re-creamify” it.
  4. Serve hot.

 

 

 

 

Jägermeister & Guinness-Poached Blood Bangers & Mash

I’ve been working on-site for a client in downtown Manhattan. We have an apartment through Airb&b overlooking Times Square that they’re paying for. It’s really, really cool.

Except for the work part.

Work culminates each day with a zombie walk to the nearest Irish pub like a moth to a lightbulb, where I will always order a Guinness.

I didn’t realize how many Irish pubs were in Manhattan – they’re on every block.

Whenever I’m at one of these places, my mind goes to Archer.  When he chugs directly from the Jägermeister shot dispenser machine slurring one liner insults at Pam or Cheryl / Carol, when they get hammered at happy hour a dinky Irish pub near the ISIS office, all following a funeral of one of their brutally-murdered colleagues.

You’ll always see the go-to Irish pub grub when you walk into these places – Boiled Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips. And I smother on that Colman’s Mustard like there is no tomorrow.

This recipe is a twist on Bangers and Mash. The blood sausage, replacing more traditional pork or beef sausage gives it a heartier (read: bloodier) edge that makes this a good cold-weather dish.

Look no further than Lucky Peach’s “A Guide to Blood Sausages of the World,” to understand why blood sausage is such a ubiquitous dish outside the U.S. – hint, it’s generally categorized as a poor-man’s food, like so many of the delicious foods of the world.

In terms of the type of blood sausage you can or should use for this recipe, I can only say, treat yourself. As in, get the best quality available to you. Which, by the way, will not be an expensive product if you go to a good butcher. Realistically, I’d recommend calling your butcher to see 1) if they have blood sausage available 2) if not, whether they can place an order for you ahead of time, and if all else fails 3) order the blood sausage online. If you have a choice, French Boudin Noir has particularly good flavor.

The only real prerequisite for this recipe is that the sausage has a substantive casing so it survives the poaching process, and is shaped into a sausage form to retain that good old “bangers and mash” presentation. This recipe calls for an entirely optional sauce derived from a reduction of the poaching liquid, because I can’t leave well enough alone.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 – 4, depending on appetites. But really, I have to ask. If you had left over mash, would that be the worst thing in the world?

  • 4 – 6 blood sausages of your choosing, in their casings

F o r  t h e  P o a c h i n g  L i q u i d  &  S a u c e

  • 4 12 oz bottles Guinness Extra Stout
  • 1 / 3 cup Jägermeister liquor
  • 1 / 4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 / 2 medium white onion, skin removed
  • 10 clove buds
  • 5 star anise

F o r  t h e  M a s h

  • 2 1 / 2 lb medium Yukon gold potatoes, or 2 1 / 2 lb equivalent of another potato, peeled and large-diced
  • 1 – 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the boiled potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons course ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups Dubliner Cheese by Kerrygold, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons Kerrygold butter, melted
  • 1 / 2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

O p t i o n a l

  • Serve with Colman’s Mustard and / or the reduced sauce from the poaching liquid, instructions below

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of boiling water. Throw in the large-diced potatoes. Cook until a knife slides easily into the center of the vegetable, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to reserve two cups of the cooking liquid before draining. Once the potatoes are tender, drain in a colander and cover with a clean dish towel to allow them to steam for an additional 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut an onion in half, removing all the onion skins, and stud the onion with the clove buds.
  3. Put the onion half and all the poaching ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the liquid to a temperature just under a simmer, about 180* F. Drop in the blood sausages, making sure to keep the liquid at a stable temperature. You do not want to boil the sausages.
  4. Allow the sausages to poach for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any fat or impurities that rise to the surface. The sausage is done when it reaches 160* F internally.
  5. After 45 minutes and when the sausages reach an internal temperature of 160* F, remove them to a clean plate and cover with foil.
  6. To finish the mash, throw the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add all the mash ingredients, the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, reserving 1 tablespoon of the chives for garnish. Mix with a hand mixer or potato masher.*

*One note on mixing – a hand mixer will give you a smoother consistency that gives the mash a more elegant mouth-feel. If the mixture is too dry or thick, continue to add the cooking liquid to thin it out, until you reach desired consistency.

  1. Heap as much mash as you want on serving plates. Cut each banger in half diagonally, if only plating one. If plating two bangers per plate, lay one on top of the other cross-wise. Sprinkle the dishes with the remaining chives. Serve with Colman’s Mustard, if desired.

O p t i o n a l

  1. Once sausages are done, drain poaching liquid through a colander or sieve into a glass bowl.
  2. Take 2 cups of the poaching liquid and pour into a sauté pan heated on medium-high. Reduce the liquid down for 10 to 15 minutes, until approximately half of the liquid remains. The sauce should be thick, but still pour-able.
  3. This step is important – taste the sauce for seasonings. It should be highly flavorful and will likely need to be heavily salted. Add as must salt as needed to taste.
  4. Pour as much sauce as you’d like on top of the bangers and mash, and sprinkle with chives.