Chorizo Mac & Cheese


A little while back, a pasta place opened up near the office - It's called Coco di Mama and is a London chain.  I got lured in there a while ago because they had a board outside saying they were selling mac & cheese (marketers take note, that is all it takes to make me come to your shop).



They have mac & cheese on permanent rotation, but with a few variations: pulled-pork, chorizo and truffle oil.  Of the three, the chorizo variety is definitely the stand out. The pulled pork is fine, but the pork really just sits in the background not bringing much to the dish, and the truffle variation is not really to my taste.


But the chorizo, that is good. it brings a slightly spicy, acidity and brightness to the dish that works like a cross between tomatoes and bacon (the high notes of the tomatoes and the meaty, low notes of the bacon).  So, as if it wasn't already obvious, I have to try and re-create it.  Now I feel guilty making mac & cheese to frequently, as its really not a healthy meal, but I decided it was high time last weekend.


I went with my usual mac & cheese approach, so I will only skim over that, with a few notes at the bottom.


Method

  1. Cook the macaroni until al dente

  2. Cook the leek in butter, then use the butter to make a basic roux (I have never actually weighed/measured any of the flour, butter, milk or cheese I use here, so I can't really comment on that, but here is the basic idea)

  3. Add the cheese to the roux - again never weighed the cheese, just add to taste and thickness of the sauce - unsurprisingly, if you use stronger cheddar, it will taste stronger!  I also added 4 cheese slices (see notes below)

  4. Mix the leeks, chorizo, cheese sauce with the macaroni in an oven proof dish and top with more grated cheese and breadcrumbs (if you dont have breadcrumbs, I find grating a piece of sliced bread works well) - put in the oven at ~160 degrees for something like 30-40 minutes

Notes

  1. The cooks chorizo I used came similar shape to bacon lardons, small cubes about 1 cm in length - I found these somewhat underwhelming, and really I think I need to go for bigger slices of chorizo to get that brightness - with the smaller size it adds overall flavour to the dish, but not the more direct hit

  2. I added the cheese slices on recommendation from the FoodLab - the reason being it contains sodium citrate, which is used to make cheese slices more meltable - and the theory is helps make the sauce smoother, and bring out more of the cheese flavour. Modernist Cuisine go as far as using the sodium citrate raw in their mac & cheese. Without doing a particularly controlled experiment, I can't say that I observed nay notable difference, but I had the cheese slices (leftover from burgers) so in it went!

  3. I leek in my mac & cheese, but there is no denying it varies from the original, so to be true to re-creating that it might have to drop out next time around..


rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen

2 comments:

  1. Straight mac and cheese for me every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I am often a purist, but I also often put bacon in mine, and this is a good extension to that approach. The spicy/sweetness nicely offsets the richness of the cheese in much the same way cherry tomatoes do (and probably better than the bacon does).

      Delete