Totally Decadent Mac and Cheese with Smoked Ham and Bacon


Anyone that knows me knows that I love smoked meats.  This heavenly casserole combines 2 kinds of smoked meats (ham and bacon) with cheesy goodness and pasta.
What more could you ask for?
Use These…
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups diced smoked ham (1/4-1/2″ cubes)
  • 1 lb bacon sliced into 1/2″ slices
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup grated yellow onion
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (grind fresh, if you can)
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (I used ground chile de arbol)
  • 5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups diced Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives

Do This…
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a large, deep, oven-safe skillet with vegetable oil.  I use a well seasoned cast iron skillet.
  • Prepare pasta but keep it “al dente”, or toothsome.  It should be cooked, but still a bit firm.  You don’t want to start with mushy pasta!

IMG_20150307_194050

  • While the pasta’s cooking, fry up the bacon slices.  You don’t want them crispy, you just want them cooked and rendered.

IMG_20150307_184325

Don’t wait for the skillet to preheat.  You want the bacon to cook while the temperature increases. This is how you always cook bacon, place it in a cold skillet and then turn the heat on. Trust me, I know bacon!

IMG_20150307_185817

Mmmm…  Ham and bacon!

  • About half-way through the cooking process on the bacon, add the diced smoked ham and continue to sauté until the ham is browned just a bit.
IMG_20150307_191410 IMG_20150307_192030
  • Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add grated onion, mustard, salt, black pepper, nutmeg and red pepper to the butter and sauté until fragrant (about a half a minute).
  • Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is golden brown.
IMG_20150307_192050 IMG_20150307_192121 IMG_20150307_194732
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and cream and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to keep the sauce from burning.
  • Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes while continuously whisking.  The sauce should thicken slightly and stick to a spoon.

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  • Stir in the horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, then remove the whole thing from the heat.

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  • Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.
IMG_20150307_194909 IMG_20150307_195100
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  • Stir in the Cheddar, Pasta, Gruyère\Swiss cheese, and bacon\ham mixture.

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  • Pour the whole smoked meat, cheesy, gooey mess into the prepared oven-safe skillet.

IMG_20150307_195325

  • Process bread crumbs and melted butter in a food processor to combine into a buttery crumbly goodness
IMG_20150307_195740 IMG_20150307_204127
  • Sprinkle bread mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and bake on a foil covered baking sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are gold brown and the cheese is bubbly
  • Remove from the oven and set the skillet on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle chives on the top if you like and serve!

IMG_20150307_205128

Totally Decadent Mac and Cheese with Smoked Ham and Bacon

Use These…
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups diced smoked ham (1/4-1/2″ cubes)
  • 1 lb bacon sliced into 1/2″ slices
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup grated yellow onion
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (grind fresh, if you can)
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (I used ground chile de arbol)
  • 5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups diced Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
IMG_20150307_205128
Do This…
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a large, deep, oven-safe skillet with vegetable oil.  I use a well seasoned cast iron skillet.
  3. Prepare pasta but keep it “al dente”, or toothsome.  It should be cooked, but still a bit firm.  You don’t want to start with mushy pasta!
  4. While the pasta’s cooking, fry up the bacon slices.  You don’t want them crispy, you just want them cooked and rendered.Don’t wait for the skillet to preheat.
    You want the bacon to cook while the temperature increases. This is how you always cook bacon, place it in a cold skillet and then turn the heat on. Trust me, I know bacon!
  5. About half-way through the cooking process on the bacon, add the diced smoked ham and continue to sauté until the ham is browned just a bit.
  6. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  7. Add grated onion, mustard, salt, black pepper, nutmeg and red pepper to the butter and sauté until fragrant (about a half a minute).
  8. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is golden brown.
  9. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to keep the sauce from burning.
  10. Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes while continuously whisking.  The sauce should thicken slightly and stick to a spoon.
  11. Stir in the horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, then remove the whole thing from the heat.
  12. Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.
  13. Stir in the Pasta, GruyèreSwiss cheese, and ham.
  14. Pour the whole smoked meat, cheesy, gooey mess into the prepared oven-safe skillet.
  15. Process breadcrumbs and melted butter in a food processor to combine into a buttery crumbly goodness
  16. Sprinkle bread mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and bake on a foil covered baking sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are gold brown and the cheese is bubbly
  17. Remove from the oven and set the skillet on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.
  18. Sprinkle chives on the top if you like and serve!

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