June 11, 2014

Hatch Green Chile Chili Mac

4 fire-roasted Hatch green peppers, diced
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 lb 93% lean ground beef
28 oz canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
15 oz canned dark red kidney beans, drained
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 1/2 tablespoons New Mexican chili powder
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
10 oz cooked to just under al dente, hot macaroni or cavatappi
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. Saute the peppers, onion, garlic, and carrot until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the beef. Brown, breaking up large chunks until nearly fully cooked. Add the tomatoes, spices and beans. Simmer until warmed through and the liquid is nearly completely evaporated. Stir in the pasta, cook 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately!

My thoughts:
I had never heard of chili mac until a quick trip down South years ago. I didn't try any, but I was tempted. I love chili, I love mac and cheese why not combine the two? I already enjoy Cincinnati Chili which is served over spaghetti so the idea of chili and pasta wasn't foreign to me.

Anyway, I didn't give chili mac much thought for years until I was reading a ton of restaurant menus trying to decide on which restaurant to go to dinner last week and came across a fancy farm-to-table version with lots of local cheddar. When I saw that ground beef was on sale I thought it was kismet. Finally, it was time to make chili mac! Plus while warm, it has been overcast and rainy--perfect chili weather.

I've been trying to use up the Hatch green chiles I froze last fall before the new season sneaks up on me so I thought they'd be the perfect addition to a spicy, smoky version of chili mac. If you didn't freeze the chiles last year, I've seen them available canned at the supermarket. I added fire-roasted tomatoes and naturally smoked spices to up the smoky profile. Think of it as the sophisticated chili mac.

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