Yes I did say macaroni and cheese soup! It’s awesome and teeters on the verge of sinful. Make this on a cold snowy night and you are headed for decadent and rich bowl of comfort. Sometimes you just have to go for it.
I have spent years trying to create the perfect macaroni and cheese. There are thousands of recipes and techniques and another thousand opinions on what makes that perfect mac and cheese. My favorite includes four cheeses and each serves a very special purpose–a flavor explosion. In my opinion the perfect mac and cheese combo includes aged White Cheddar and Swiss or Gruyere Cheese, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. They all compliment each other and bring their own personalities to the party.
Naturally, the next step for me was to put this combination to work in a bowl. Below is the recipe I created for my macaroni and cheese soup. I call this my adult version, which, by the way, goes great with wedge of crusty bread and a glass of red wine. In a few day’s I’ll pass on another version the kids are going to love.
- 1 lb elbow macaroni (cooked according to package directions)
- 1 1/2 C onion (diced)
- 3/4 C celery (diced)
- 3/4 C carrots (diced)
- 1/4 C flour
- 6 oz bacon (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 3 tbs Dijon mustard
- 6 C chicken broth
- 1 C shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1 C shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- 1 C shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 3/4 C heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp ground or fresh nutmeg (optional)
- Fresh Cracked Pepper (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
YIELD: 16 Cups
DIRECTIONS Saute bacon, onion, celery and carrots in large soup pot until vegetables are soft. Add flour and Dijon mustard, cook for 3-5 minutes on low. Add chicken broth and simmer until mixture starts to thicken (think of the consistency of a gravy).
Slowly add each cup of cheese one at a time waiting until each is incorporated into mixture over medium/low heat, stirring constantly. (Note: you may want to add a 1/2 cup of each cheese and then do a taste test before adding the remainder of each, sometimes one cheese may overpower the others. This will allow you to adjust the amounts accordingly). Once all of the cheese has been added, salt and pepper to taste and add nutmeg if desired. Simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes allowing the flavors to mingle.
Just before serving add heavy cream and cooked elbow noodles. If you would like more broth add less noodles, less broth more noodles. Top each bowl with sprinkle of cheese or bacon bits if desired.
NUTRITIONAL INFO (Per One Cup Serving) 366 Calories, 26.3 g Carbohydrates, 1.6 g Fiber, 21.4 g Fat, 17 g Protein.
NOTES: There are many ways to lighten this up. Use evaporated milk instead of heavy cream; substitute low fat cheeses; cut each cheese to 3/4 C it may be enough for you, just taste test as you go.; replace bacon with Canadian bacon and add 1 tbs butter or 2 tbs olive oil; use fortified, high fiber, enhanced or whole wheat pasta. Throw some leftover or cooked veggies like broccoli or cauliflower in with the pasta! Try any combination of these. Enjoy.