Thursday, March 12, 2009

Crock Pot Pumpkin Mac N Cheese

JessTrev with a recipe for comfort food.

The following is a melding of a Paula Deen Creamy Mac N Cheese recipe (courtesy of DC Urban Moms), Mighty Appetite's Hold-the-Velveeta-Queso Recipe, and GreenBean's suggestion to add pureed pumpkin to my kids' m + c.

Cheezy Sauce Ingredients

1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt to taste

Method

In a medium saucepan, add butter and allow to melt over low heat. Add flour and stir until it is well integrated with butter and mixture is free of lumps. Color will be golden after 1 minute or so. Add cream and stir to combine, allowing to heat up until thickened, about five minutes. Stir frequently with spoon and do not allow cream to boil. Add cheese, and whisk vigorously until completely integrated and fluid. Taste for salt and add accordingly.

Crock Pot Pumpkin Mac Ingredients

4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (a 16-ounce box is pretty close)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2-3 cups pureed pumpkin
Cheezy sauce recipe from above
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. Make queso. Stir in sour cream, salt, mustard, and pumpkin. In a slow cooker, combine drained macaroni and queso and stir. Add eggs and milk and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

24 servings

Tips:
  • Puree the pumpkin ahead of time.
  • Use whole wheat macaroni elbows (Safeway and Bionaturae make them).
  • Makes a ton (note the # servings).
  • Sort of pumpkin soufflĂ©-y. What I am really trying to recreate is Amy's frozen mac n cheese which has a really velvety sauce. I may skip the crock pot step and the eggs and see if I can approximate that addictive mouthfeel for the younguns.
  • Would not cook for longer than 3 hours if going crockpot route (maybe a bit less? Try 2 hrs next time.)
  • Freezes decently.

8 comments:

EcoLabel Fundraising said...

I'm in FL. It isn't cold enough for comfort food anymore, but this still looks delicious. Maybe I'll turn up the A/C for an hour and pretend. (wait, that's not so eco-friendly, is it?) Thanks for the great recipe!

organicneedle said...

This recipe sounds very yummy , but I would be shaped like a pumpkin if I ate it with any regularity!

I make a similar but simpler and much lower fat version of this in the oven. I make the roux and then add powdered mustard once it reaches the right golden color. I then just add 2% milk, or even skim if that is all I have, and then the cheese once the milk comes to a simmer. I then usually add butternut squash, but pumpkin does the trick too. Then I just poor the whole shabang over whatever noodles I am using, sprinkle more cheese on top and back it up until golden brown. It comes out plenty rich enough if you get the roux right and your squash of choice is properly pureed.

organicneedle said...

That would be "bake" not back.

Lynn from organicmania.com said...

Yum. I wonder what the calorie count would be! We get a lot of great pumpkin from our CSA in the fall - I'll have to remember to try this recipe then! Thanks, Jess!

Green Bean said...

Hm, never thought about it in the crock pot. I'll have to try a mish mash of your and Needle's recipes.

Fake Plastic Fish said...

Oh how you taunt me. Mac & cheese is one of my most favorite things. But I can't get the cheese without plastic. *Sigh*

JessTrev said...

EcoLabelFR - hmmm. I don't think it'd be very yummy cold. Maybe you can have some local citrus fruit and really make me jealous, though!

OrganicNeedle - ha! That is so funny! I agree that we all would roll pumpkin like to our beds if we used the heavy cream sauce all the time. I was daydreaming about whether or not regular milk would work. That said, check into Sally Fallon/Weston A Price Fdn stuff about skim milk. I use only (grassfed) whole milk after reading their stuff about how powdered milk is bad for you. Also? Thanks so much for the simpler, leaner recipe!

Lynn - GB convinced me to freeze pumpkin puree, that's the ticket! If you swing into the city, Dupont farmer's market has had pumpkins lately.

Green Bean - thanks again for the inspiration!

Fake Plastic Fish - OK, you need to check out Kingsolver's book or just research cheesemaking. OR we need to do research on vegan mac n cheese that is pumpkin puree-worthy!

sfoxy said...

I love this recipe! I have made this twice now: first I followed the recipe near exact (I added a hint of brown sugar for fun) and it was excellent, the second I used whole milk with a little butter instead of heavy cream and it was okay- took a long time for the sauce to solidify enough to stay on the noodle and even then it was eh. I am making it again for Christmas dinner and adding sauteed brussle sprouts and onion, maybe turkey bacon. We'll see how it goes!

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