This year I wanted to do something different for dinner for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage that my mom makes, so I decided to create a dish that was a blend of ingredients from Ireland and America. I love Irish cheeses and butter, so I knew I wanted to use them in the dish, and I’ve been craving comfort food lately, so the wheels started turning and I came up with this Irish-American Mac & Cheese. It combines Irish cheeses, meat, butter and beer to put a distinctly Irish twist on the American classic. Serve it hot from the oven with an Irish beer to celebrate and have Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Irish-American Mac & Cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
6 oz. Irish beer (A lighter beer would work best here like a lager or an Irish red. I used Harp.)
1 lb. Irish bangers (pork sausage) or rashers (lean Irish bacon), chopped
4 oz. Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, shredded
7 oz. Kerrygold Vintage Cheddar, shredded
4 oz. Emmental Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Kerrygold Irish butter, plus extra for the casserole dish and to dot the top before baking
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. flour
salt & pepper
Ritz Crackers, crushed for Crumb Topping
Prepare macaroni according to directions on the box and set aside. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a large skillet, add tablespoon (or less) of butter and sauté the sausage or rashers until brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, heavy cream, butter, flour and the beer (6 oz. should be half the bottle, so cheers to you chef! You get to drink the rest!). Bring milk mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens. It should coat the back of a spoon. Once it has thickened, remove it from the heat and set aside.
Begin layering the macaroni, cheeses and meat in the casserole dish alternating layers until you finish with a layer of cheese on the top. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the macaroni that has been layered in the casserole. Top with the cracker crumbs and dot with butter. Transfer to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is browned. Remove from the oven and serve.