Whooooa Nelly! Crab and Brie Macaroni and Cheese? Over-the-top decadence in a comfort food? YEP! And the decadence makes the comfort food even more comforting–like ‘died and gone to heaven’ comforting! Yet another winning recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication “Best Loved Reader Recipes; 125 Winners from 1930 to Today”. (My last post was a recipe for “Peach Iced Tea” inspired by a recipe from this magazine)
If someone is having a hard time, and that sweet “I am going to drop off a casserole” American tradition seems appropriate, THIS is the casserole to take. I took it to my 120-miles away daughter who is bravely attempting a semester long college Physics course in a six-week summer session, working the 4 PM-midnight shift at Target, and sweltering in the hot central valley heat. I am not saying this Macaroni and Cheese is miraculous or anything, but she did score 15 points over the class average on her first mid-term. Not dropping off a casserole to a friend-in-need anytime soon? I’ll bet you’ll be going to a potluck then. Take this! Want to eat it at home, like we did? We had it with mixed roasted veggies, but a leafy green salad would be nice too, and a corn muffin.
This casserole is not cheap, but if you shop at Costco for your pound of brie and pound of crab (the only two expensive ingredients), it won’t break the bank and you’ll have made a casserole big enough feed a small army.
Truth be told, I was a bit afraid of this recipe at first, wondering if the Brie would be too strong, and wondering if I would be able to taste the crab over the brie. Both worries proved needless. Everything melds together nicely. Comfortingly nice. I’ll say it again, because it’s true, ‘died and gone to heaven’ nice!
I changed the recipe just just a bit; one, to conform to the quantities of crab and brie sold at Costco (no leftover bits and no need to buy two big cartons of anything) and two, to make the recipe a bit easier by substituting panko instead of homemade bread crumbs. I also re-wrote the recipe a bit, making roux is not hard, just follow my instructions: brown the flour and butter (and don’t skimp on the butter), remove the pan from the heat, then vigorously stir in hot milk until sauce is smooth.
Enjoy your comfort food decadance.
Crab and Brie Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb. dried macaroni (small shells or elbows)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 tablespoons butter (maybe a bit more)
- 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 13-16 oz. Brie, cubed
- 16 oz. refrigerated container crabmeat, drained and flaked
- 1/2 cup Panko or favorite breadcrumbs
- Cook macaroni in salted water according to package directions. (Choose the shortest cooking time since pasta will continue to cook when baked.) Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-in by 13-in casserole dish.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion in butter until tender and golden, about 15 minutes. (Do not skimp on the butter. You’ll need the full quantity of butter to make the roux in the step 5.)
- Heat 3 cups of milk in microwave until hot (3-5 minutes).
- Meanwhile, over medium heat, stir flour into onion and butter mixture. Stir constantly for 3 minutes (to cook flour and to incorporate butter into the flour). If mixture is too lumpy or dry, add an additional tablespoon of butter.
- Remove hot pan with onion and roux from heat. Pour in 1 cup of hot milk. Stir well, and keep stirring-vigorously if needed-until mixture is smooth and lump free. Add another cup of hot milk, stir and mix again. When mixture is smooth and lump free, repeat with last cup of milk.
- Return pan to medium heat. Add cubed brie to sauce in pan. Stir constantly until brie is melted and incorporated. Remove pan from heat when brie has melted and the sauce is smooth once again.
- Fold drained crab into cheese sauce then stir in cooked and well-drained macaroni.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour crab-brie-macaroni mixture into a well buttered 9-in x 13-in casserole dish.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of macaroni and cheese.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until mixture is heated through and bread crumbs have browned. If breadcrumbs don’t brown, turn on the broiler and broil casserole for a few minutes.
- Remove casserole from oven. Let cool 5 – 10 minutes, then serve. In a bowl, while curled up on the couch with a good book or good movie, or on a plate with roasted veggies or a salad, and maybe a small corn muffin. Enjoy. Feel better. Ace the Physics test!
Leftovers can be reheated in microwave or frozen for a future treat.
Thank you for stopping by my kitchen again today, I love having you drop by! Let’s see what else I can make from this magazine. It’s supposed to be on the shelves until July 15, 2013, so if you see it, you might want to pick up a copy.