Green Chili Macaroni and Cheese

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Former Mayor John Hickenlooper was installed as Governor this week.  The Inaugural dinner menu included Green Chili Macaroni and Cheese.  I’ve had a craving for it ever since.  First some background on Colorado Inaugural menus, the recipe I’m going to make tonight follows.  From the Denver Post:

With victory comes the banquet. But what’s a Colorado governor to serve?

Depends on the governor.

A century ago, Gov. Henry Augustus Buchtel took over Denver’s Savoy Hotel for the first grand banquet in his administration — “The Governor’s Good-Fellowship Dinner” — to which he invited his staff, the state Supreme Court, and both chambers of the state legislature — a couple hundred guests in all. The menu for the Jan. 31, 1907, event read like this:

Blue Point Oysters — Navy Bean Soup — Broiled Blue Fish with Butter Sauce — Small Potatoes (‘no reference to any-one here to-night’) — Roast Spring Chicken, Stuffed — French Peas, Candied Sweet Potatoes — Orange Punch — Waldorf Salad — Apple, Mince, Pumpkin Pie — Cream Cheese — Cigars

But it’s 2011 and times are different:

Guests at the buffet-style event (no sit-down dinner for this crowd) will nosh on, among other things:

Short rib empanadas — “Colorado chips and dips” — Pulled Colorado pork — BBQ Colorado beef brisket with Stranahan’s whiskey sauce — Vegetarian tamale with Haystack Mountain goat cheese — Green chile macaroni and cheese — Colorado Cache Mandarin Salad — Doughnut holes rolled in Enstrom’s almond toffee crumbs — Cinnamon bread pudding with Leopold Bros. Rocky Mountain Blackberry Liqueur sauce

You can read about the entire event here.

Now for the recipe.  I pulled together a few resources.  I’m not in mood to roast my own chilies today, we’ll leave that to JeffW  and IndyLib, so I’m using canned chilies, pickled jalapeno (my fave anyway) and a tomatillo salsa.  For real Green Chili, try IndiLibs, it sounds amazing.

Green Chili Macaroni and Cheese

  • 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup green salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
  • 4 ounce can mild chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 tbsp (or more) finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, about 2 cups
  • 4 oz hot pepper Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

2 qt baking dish, oiled and saucepan

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour until well blended and bubbly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in salsa, chile peppers, and 6 oz of cheddar and all of the Jack cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper. Combine with the drained macaroni; spoon into the prepared baking dish. Spread remaining cheddar cheese over the top of the baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese bubbly and top is lightly browned.