Baseball Mac

I once had a crazy good hot dog at Senate in Cincinnati. It sounded weirdly delicious and I had to order it. Perhaps a bit discourteously, it was called the Trailer Park hot dog. A bacon-wrapped beef hot dog topped with American cheese, coleslaw, and crushed potato chips. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it really made my afternoon and I have never forgotten the experience. I was flipping through my beloved Mac & Cheese cookbook the other day and came across Trailer Park Mac & Cheese, which is macaroni in a creamy cheddar sauce with chopped beef hot dogs and topped with crushed potato chips. It was every bit as delicious and comfort-foody as you would expect. Trust me, you just have to try it. I have re-named the recipe Baseball Mac because it highlights the snacks that are staples at a baseball game. Serve it with a nice, cold beer of course! 🙂

adapted from: The Mac & Cheese Cookbook ( a must for mac & cheese lovers!)
serves: 4

1/2 pound dried elbow pasta (for gf version Tinkyada brown rice elbow pasta is the best I’ve had yet)
2 cups Mac Sauce (see recipe below)
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp white cheddar)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped hot dogs (I like Hebrew National beef franks)
2 cups crushed potato chips, for topping (I use kettle chips, for an extra crunch)

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Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente (this goes for GF noodles too). Drain, rinse the pasta with cold water, and drain again.

Add the sauce, the Cheddar, and the hot dogs to a large heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. If needed, the sauce can be thinned with extra milk. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes or so.

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Spoon into warmed bowls, sprinkle with potato chip crumbles, and serve immediately.

Beer pairing suggestion: Pilsner, or whatever beer you would be drinking at a baseball game!
Wine pairing suggestion: Sangiovese

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Mac Sauce

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (the GF Flour Blend also works well in this recipe)
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy bottomed pot. When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 3 cups. This is normal.

Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 1 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Use the spoon test to make sure it’s ready. To do this, dip a metal spoon into the sauce-if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn’t slide off like milk, you’ll know it’s ready. You should be able to run your finger along the spoon and have the impression remain. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Pour into a large measuring glass or bowl to stop the cooking process.

The Mac Sauce is ready to use immediately and does not need to cool. Store it in the fridge for a day or two if you want to make it ahead of time- it will get a lot thicker when refrigerated, so it may need a little milk to thin it out a bit when it comes time to melt in the cheese. Try melting the cheese into the sauce first, and if it is too thick then add milk as needed.

 

 

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