Mac & cheese soup will elbow the competition

I forgot the bacon. I admit it. I did it. There’s no denying it.

Joey tried a big bowl of this week’s recipe for macaroni and cheese soup and said, “It feels like there’s something missing.”

There was. It was the bacon. I thought maybe I’d get away with it, but it was clear that while this soup was still pretty darn delicious without the bacon, those strips of pork would have pushed it over the edge into something even better.

Lesson learned.

So, you’ll notice that the recipe below includes bacon; I recommend making sure to include it, but even if you’re not a bacon fan, you will still get a nice meal without it.

This comes from the blog “Five Heart Home,” and you can find the original at http://www.fivehearthome.com/2015/09/24/macaroni-cheese-soup-recipe/. I added a bit more onion powder than the original calls for.

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Macaroni and Cheese Soup

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

6 cups chicken broth or stock

12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 cups milk, warmed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

Begin by cooking the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a stock pot, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir to combine and let cook for about two minutes over medium heat to cook off the flour taste.

Whisk in the chicken broth until all the flour clumps are gone.

Bring the pot up to a slow boil, and continue whisking until the mixture thickens (mine took about 10 minutes).

Remove the pot from heat.

Add in the cheddar a little at a time, whisking after each addition to let it melt into the sauce.

Do the same with the parmesan.

Add the milk and stir until well-combined.

Add the cooked macaroni, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper and stir until combined.

If your temperature dropped upon adding the additional ingredients, return the pot to a burner set on low and keep stirring as it heats back up so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.

Serve each bowl with bacon crumbles on top.

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I have a container of this soup waiting in the freezer for one of those nights when neither Joey nor I want to cook, but I think I’ll at the very least need to fry up just a little bacon when we thaw it out. I need to redeem myself, after all.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.

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