Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille – Two Ways

by Mac & Cheese Chick on February 4, 2015

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

It’s almost time for Mardi Gras! Like it or lump it, you can’t argue with the fact that for many people, Mardi Gras is simply synonymous with good times, frivolity, and joie de vivre. And without ado, Laissez les bon temps roulez!

While Seattle is known for many things, including many foodie-type things, crawfish and andouille sausage are not among those things. So, I placed an order with my brother from another bayou and through the miracle of FedEx, I had fresh crawfish tails and andouille sausage at my doorstep.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

The rest of my ingredients were locally sourced from AmazonFresh. Well, their warehouse is local, so it counts, right? (I forgot to include the breadcrumb ingredients in the photo above – it was one of those days. Picture a container of Panko bread crumbs behind the tomatoes and you’re all set.)

The beauty of this recipe is in its versatility. And not just because I give you a stove-top version and a baked version, either! Just like making jambalaya: you throw whatever meat or seafood you have on hand into the pot and call it good. This recipe features crawfish and andouille sausage, but you could easily substitute one or both or these for chicken, turkey, beef, ostrich, pork, gator, hot dogs (okay, that’s a stretch but not unheard of), shrimp, fish…you get the idea. And if you have a health nut in the family (*cough* husband *cough*), you can also throw a couple of handfuls of spinach in the finished product and call it “healthy”. Yeah.

Let’s do this. Start by preheating your oven at 350 degrees, and Pam an oven-safe container. This mac and cheese makes enough to feed everyone and their family, so if you have a large Le Creuset or dutch oven, that should be big enough. I initially made this in a 13×9 Pyrex pan and I had at least four cups of mac and cheese that wouldn’t fit in the pan.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (keep it on the al dente side). Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

While the pasta is cooking, prep your ingredients: chop your onion and peppers, mince the garlic and parsley, shred the Cheddar cheese.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

Next, make the breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, a tablespoon of melted bacon fat and a tablespoon of minced parsley. Stir to combine and set aside. ***NOTE: Do not make the breadcrumbs if you’re going to make the stove-top version of this recipe. Also, go turn off the oven. 

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of bacon fat (yes, you are detecting a theme here). While the fat is melting, crumble (or slice, depending on which kind you get) the andouille sausage into the skillet.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

Brown over medium heat until, well, browned. Add the crawfish tails, fat that they came in and all, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until the tails are warmed. Remove the crawfish and sausage from the skillet using a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and set aside.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

To the same large skillet (don’t wipe out the skillet, you want the nice flavorful fat and meat bits in there!), add the garlic, onion and peppers and cook over low heat until the onions are slightly caramelized and the peppers are softened, about 15 minutes.

Over medium heat, melt one tablespoon bacon fat in the same large pot in which you cooked the pasta. Once melted, add flour and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk as the roux cooks for three minutes. Still whisking, slowly stream in the milk and cook the mixture, whisking frequently, for five minutes or until it begins to thicken.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

Add the Cheddar to the pot and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and hot sauce and stir to combine. Next, add the sauteed veggies and the tomatoes, then the pasta, and stir until everything’s well-mingled and happy.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

If you’re wanting a stove-top version, you’re done here. And hopefully you didn’t turn on the oven to preheat previously. Spoon up the delectable gooeyness, top with some parsley, and you’re good to go.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

If you’re still with me, that means you want the baked version of this recipe. Grab your Pammed pan and spoon the mac and cheese into it. If you run out of room, just grab another pan. Top your mac and cheese with the breadcrumb mixture, then pop it into the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

Remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool for five minutes. It is a loooooooooong five minutes. But the house smells amazing.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

Get out your bowl and spoons and grab your friends. Make sure you have a bunch of them over, because this mac and cheese serves a whole passel of people.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

It looks luscious, right? It tastes even better. Promise. Between four and five elbows up! I sent it in with my hubs to his office, and there was a standing ovation (or maybe that was just in my mind…). Well, I know at least two people went back for seconds. Even with all that flavor going on, the crawfish and the andouille stand out. And the ever-so-subtle smoky essence from the bacon fat adds another layer of mouthwatering yum. The spicy afterburn just makes it that much better.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

A direct quote: “Tell the wife…THIS IS SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!

And I would have to agree.

Here is my recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille - Two Ways
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10+ as a side
 
Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille - Two Ways
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni or other dried pasta
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat, divided (butter works in a pinch)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat
  • 1 pound pork andouille sausage
  • 1 white onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned pepper
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and Pam a large oven-safe pan. (for baked version only)
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook per package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Make breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, one tablespoon melted bacon fat and minced parsley. Stir to combine and set aside. ***NOTE: Do not make breadcrumbs for the stove-top version of this recipe.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of bacon fat. Crumble andouille sausage into skillet. Brown over medium heat. Add crawfish tails and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until tails are warmed, about two minutes. Remove mixture from skillet using a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and set aside.
  5. To the same large skillet, add garlic, onion and peppers and cook over low heat until softened, about 15 minutes.
  6. Over medium heat, melt one tablespoon bacon fat in the same large pot in which you cooked the pasta. Once melted, add flour and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk and cook for three minutes. Slowly add milk and cook, whisking frequently, for five minutes.
  7. Add Cheddar to the pot and stir until cheese is melted. Add salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and hot sauce and stir to combine. Add sauteed veggies and tomatoes, then pasta, and stir.
  8. Stove-top version: plate and enjoy!
  9. Baked version, continue the recipe here. Spoon mac and cheese into Pammed pan. Top with breadcrumb mixture, then bake for twenty minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and allow the pan to cool for five minutes.
  11. Serve and scarf down immediately!

Laissez les bon temps roulez! Oh, and pork fat rules.

Jambalaya Mac & Cheese with Crawfish & Andouille

 

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Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

I’m serious. If you don’t loveloveLOVE blue cheese, you should try one of my other blue-cheese mac recipes – this is not for you. If, however, you revel in the sharp, tangy cheese-funk that is powerful blue cheese, then this recipe is, indeed, for you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

True story: when I was developing a blue mac and cheese recipe, my initial attempt was this very recipe. It was shot down my my husband. It was shot down by his entire office staff. And even for me, a blue-cheese loving freak, it was a bit too strong. So, knowing this, consider yourself warned.

Did I mention it’s a gluten-free recipe? Indeed. And if you can tolerate gluten, you can absolutely adjust the recipe to make it with plain old white flour instead of gluten-free flour and with a wheat-based pasta rather than a rice-based pasta. Even cooler? The Tillamook and Maytag cheeses I used in this recipe are gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

Heat some water in a nice large pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, drop your gluten-free pasta in and prepare according to the package directions.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

Shred your Cheddar and crumble your blue cheese while the pasta is cooking. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set aside.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

In the same large pot, melt the butter and once melted, whisk in the gluten-free flour. Whisk over medium heat for two minutes. Add the milk, streaming slowly into the pot while you continue to whisk (sensing a theme here? Whisk. Always whisk.) Cook the mixture over medium heat for four minutes, whisking frequently, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove your pot from the heat source.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

Stir in the salt, pepper and one tablespoon of your minced chives. Next, add the two cheeses and stir until the cheeses are melted and everything’s happy. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

Divvy that pungent mac and cheese up into individual bowls and top with the remaining chives. And you’d better be sure all your friends like stinky cheese as much as you do!

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

The verdict? Well, you got a good inkling in my intro above. Piquant, pungent, powerful…all encompass this particular mac and cheese recipe. I give this recipe two elbows up because it is simply too strong – heck, it could probably put hair on your chest! Or maybe you could use it to break up congestion in lieu of Vicks VapoRub. I’ll leave that up to you. And if you do try this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments!

Here, sigh, is my recipe.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese - Proceed at your own risk!
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25
 
Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 2¼ cups fat-free milk
  • 16 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) - Tillamook is gluten-free
  • 14 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups) - Maytag is gluten-free
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced and divided
  • 16 ounces brown rice or other gluten-free pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot per package directions. Drain, then set aside.
  2. In the same large pot over low heat, melt butter. Add gluten-free flour and whisk for two minutes over medium heat.
  3. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously. Cook, whisking frequently, over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, about three minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat and add salt, pepper, one tablespoon chives. Stir to combine. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add pasta and stir to combine.
  5. Top each serving with some of the remaining chives.
  6. Serve and scarf down immediately!

Now eat some and go breathe on your nearest frenemy.

Gluten-Free Hardcore Blue-Cheese Lovers Mac & Cheese

 

 

 

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Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

by Mac & Cheese Chick on January 25, 2015

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

The Seahawks are going to the Superbowl for the second time in two years! I’m so excited, I can barely hold onto my whisk. The Mac & Cheesehawk is back!

Since I’m guessing you want nothing to do with a green mac and cheese (I won’t subject you to a kale mac and cheese – some things just don’t translate very well and after trying a few versions of mac and cheese with kale in them, I have to say I am not a raving fan), we’re going with a blue mac and cheese in honor of the Seahawks! Actually, now that I think of it, this mac and cheese has both blue (cheese) and green (chives) – perfect!

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

I must come clean here. I tried an initial version of this mac and it was SO incredibly blue-cheese-laden powerful, I couldn’t eat it. Well, more than three bites. I couldn’t eat more than three bites. I send it in to the hubs’ office, and the staff concurred…you’d have to be an absolute stark-raving stinky-blue-cheese nut in order to enjoy this one. BUT, because I know some of you will still want to try it (you crazy kids, you), here’s the recipe.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

This time around, I toned down the blue and amped up the creamy factor with some lovely Neufchatel cheese. I also made this one gluten free, although if you’re not celiac or gluten-intolerant, you could always just use ordinary pasta and flour in place of the brown rice pasta and gluten-free flour. And one thing I learned while developing this recipe: the TillamookMaytag, and Philly Neufchatel cheeses I used in this recipe are gluten-free. I considered using a quinoa pasta, but ended up with one of my standards instead: Tinkyada’s brown rice fusilli.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

Start by cooking your pasta in a large pot per package directions. Drain, then set aside. While the pasta is cooking, shred/crumble/chunk your cheeses and mince your snipped chives.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

In the same large pot, add the butter and allow it to melt over low heat. Add the gluten-free flour and whisk briskly for about two minutes over medium heat. Slowly add your milk, still whisking madly. Once the milk is incorporated, cook the mixture, whisking frequently, over medium heat until it begins to thicken, about three minutes.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

Remove your pot from the heat source, and add the salt, pepper, one tablespoon of your chives, and stir to combine. Next, add your cheeses and stir until the cheeses are melted and you have a lovely, thick-yet-smooth sauce.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

Now you’re ready to plate your creation, and top each bowl with a bit of the remaining tablespoon of snipped chives.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

How was it? A solid four elbows up! I’m a discerning pasta freak, and the gluten-free brown rice pasta tastes just like an ordinary gluten-filled pasta. The toothiness and texture are the same, and the pasta picks up the sauce beautifully.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

Did I mention that mac and cheese is a perfect food for the Super Bowl? Especially for my Seahawks fans out there – this is the recipe you’ll want to serve on February 1st. And on that note, here is my recipe.

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 as a side
 
Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 16 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 2 cups) - Tillamook is gluten-free
  • 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese - Philadelphia brand is gluten-free
  • 5 ounces blue cheese (about 1 cup crumbled) - Maytag is gluten-free
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced and divided
  • 16 ounces brown rice or other gluten-free pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot per package directions. Drain, then set aside.
  2. In the same large pot over low heat, melt butter. Add gluten-free flour and whisk for two minutes over medium heat.
  3. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously. Cook, whisking frequently, over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, about three minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat and add salt, pepper, one tablespoon chives. Stir to combine. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Add pasta and stir to combine.
  5. Top each serving with some of the remaining chives.
  6. Serve and scarf down immediately!

Go Hawks!

Gluten-Free Maytag Blue Mac & Cheese with Snipped Chives

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My Amazing Chance Encounter with Delivery Service Caviar and Bitterroot BBQ in Ballard

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Mac & Cheese Chick Nominated for King 5′s Best of Western Washington, Please Vote!

September 20, 2014

Guys, I have amazing news – we’ve been nominated for King 5′s Best of Western Washington in the Best Food Blog category! You don’t have to live in Seattle or anywhere near it to vote, so I’d love some cross-country and international love. The contest runs through October 24, 2014. I am so excited, and [...]

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Field Trip! Station’s Black Truffle Mac & Cheese Gnocchi in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Product Review: Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese Aged White Cheddar

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Field Trip! Duck Confit Mac & Cheese at The Blind Rabbit in the Anaheim Packing District

August 15, 2014

Every year, we are down in Orange County (I grew up there – if you call it “The OC” I will upchuck upon you) for an annual conference. And each year, I love getting together with childhood friends and reconnecting. This year, there was a big buzz about the opening of the Anaheim Packing District [...]

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Lavender Macaroni & Cheese with Buttered Thyme Breadcrumbs

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To make a short story long, my parents are moving up to my area soon. That means parental-unit visits on a regular basis, which I LOVE. That also means field trips around the Pacific Northwest, one of which brought us to Garden Treasures, a lovely farm stand operation in Arlington, WA recently. Actually, we’d been [...]

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