The secret ingredient in this insanely good mac and cheese is your favorite West Coast IPA.
National IPA Day is this Thursday, August 6. Who knew? If you’re here for the beer, maybe you did. Me, I’m here for this recipe I just nabbed from Colorado pizza institution Hops & Pie: their IPA Mac & Cheese.
I’m told any West Coast-style IPA will do for a nice Western spin on the traditionally beer-centered holiday. And I’m sure the leftover brews will pair as nicely with the mac and cheese as they do with Hops & Pie’s artisan pizzas.
When in Denver, you gotta drink — or, in this case, eat — the Colorado Kool-Aid!
Hops & Pie’s IPA Mac & Cheese
Makes six servings
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorn
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup sharp cheddar
3 cups elbow macaroni (cooked)
1 cup English peas (cooked)
1/4 cup shredded/braised ham hock
1/4 cup West Coast style IPA (Hops & Pie likes using an IPA from Ska Brewing Co. in Durango, Colorado)
1 tablespoon chopped bacon
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Tapatio, or another Mexican hot sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a saucepan add cream, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly to prevent burning and boil-over.
Once the cream is reduced by 3/4, strain through a fine mesh strainer into another saucepan. Return the pan with the strained cream to a medium flame and stir in the cheddar. Once the cheddar is fully incorporated, add hot sauce and cracked black pepper to taste.
Add the macaroni, peas, and ham hock to the pan and stir well. Add the IPA and continue stirring until hot. Add salt to taste and place in large baking dish. Top with the chopped bacon and breadcrumbs. Bake until the breadcrumbs become golden brown and crispy.