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    Baked Macaroni and Cheese

    Source of Recipe

    From "Jubilee" by Toni Tipton-Martin

    Recipe Introduction

    "In Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, James Beard Award winner Adrian Miller asked, 'How did macaroni and cheese get so black?' The answer: James Hemings. Hemings was an enslaved chef in Thomas Jefferson's home who mastered the sophisticated technique of French classical cooking in Paris, including the operation of a 'maccaroni' press. As Monticello's chef de cuisine, Hemings handwrote his recipes; the ones whose records have survived include fried potatoes (French fries), burnt cream (crème brulée), and 'Nouilles a maccaroni' (macaroni noodles). It's known that he prepared a 'macaroni pie' for a White House dinner in 1802. The macaroni recipe turns up topped with grated cheese following its publication in The Virginia Housewife published in 1845 by Mary Randolph, a Jefferson relative. But that was just the beginning. Black chefs continued to adapt macaroni and cheese for their menus. In 1911, chef Rufus Estes of the Pullman railroad layered cooked macaroni, cheese, melted butter, salt, and black pepper in a baking pan, then poured milk over it all before baking. In her 1912 cookbook, the Kentucky Cook Book: Easy and Simple for Any Cook, by a Colored Woman, Mrs. W.T. Hayes spotlighted two African American culinary practices—croquette making and frying—in her macaroni croquettes, a special-occasion dish. And of course, today, mac and cheese is still a staple on soul food and holiday menus. This mac and cheese resembles the one Texas caterer Bess Gant rolled up in ham jackets, made of thin slices of ham, like crêpes, in 1947. If you're so inclined, feel free to add chunks of ham, cooked shrimp, or lobster."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ Softened butter, for the baking dish
    ◦ 1 pound elbow macaroni
    ◦ 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
    ◦ 2 cups shredded Jack cheese
    ◦ 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted
    ◦ ½ cup sour cream
    ◦ 3 large eggs, well beaten
    ◦ 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
    ◦ ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    ◦ ¼ teaspoon white pepper
    ◦ ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ◦ Paprika


    Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

    Bring a large pasta pot or saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain.

    In a large bowl, combine the Cheddar and Jack cheeses. Measure out 1 cup of the cheese mixture and set aside for the top of the dish. Layer the remaining combined cheeses and macaroni in the buttered baking dish, beginning and ending with the macaroni.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sour cream, eggs, evaporated milk, ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste), white pepper, and cayenne. Pour the cream sauce over the macaroni and cheese. Top with the reserved 1 cup cheese and sprinkle generously with paprika. Place the dish on a rimmed baking pan to catch any juices that spill over.

    Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the top is browned and crusty, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Serves 8 to 10




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