For this post, Heinen's is also sponsoring a GIVEAWAY. Two lucky readers will receive a gift certificate good for two people to take a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School. To enter to win simply leave a comment about your favorite mac & cheese on this post. If you don't like mac & cheese, just leave any comment. Bonus entries awarded for tweeting, facebooking, blogging it, etc. See all the ways you can enter at the end of this post. I will announce the winner next week.
Shrimp with Dill Vinaigrette. Someone from Heinen's read the post and saw I was unhappy with the quality of the shrimp I purchased at Heinen's in Avon and contacted me to send me a gift card to cover the cost of the shrimp. I never asked for it and they never asked me to mention it on my blog. That's just an example of the amazing customer service you can expect to receive from Heinen's.
I wanted to pick a great recipe from Live to Cook for this special post and I decided on Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary (p. 89). This is probably Michael's most famous dish and one that has been on his menu since he first put it on the menu at Piccolo Mondo in 1992. He hasn't been able to take it off the menu ever since. You can currently find it on the lunch menu at Lola, the happy hour & dinner menu at Lolita, the dinner menu at Bar Symon, and the sides menu at Roast. This dish is comfort food at its finest and is sure to please the pickiest of eaters. I found this recipe a few years ago floating around the interwebs and have made it many times yet my wife still often orders it when we go to Michael's restaurants.
Only 5 ingredients
This is one of the easiest dishes that I've made from the book and it does not require many ingredients. The book suggests using rigatoni but that is one of my least favorite pastas (too toothsome for my taste). The cellentani pasta by Barilla is what we use most often, but you can use any pasta that you like.
Seasoned chicken about to go in the oven
The recipe calls for 2 cups of roasted chicken. The idea of the recipe is that you can use up leftover roasted chicken but I decided to buy a whole chicken, break it down, season it, and roast it. I like the flavor you get from roasting chicken with the skin on and prefer a combination of leg, thigh, and breast meat but you can easily substitute any kind of chicken you have on hand.
I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and good Hungarian paprika from Spicehound. The recipe does not call for paprika but I like the flavor it adds to the dish. Once it was seasoned I roasted it in a 375 degree oven until it reached 160 degrees. In nicer weather I prefer to grill it, but I was preparing dinner for friends this night and didn't want to mess with the charcoal in 20 degree weather. Once the chicken reached 160 degrees I removed it from the oven and let it cool a little before removing the skin and bones and chopping the chicken. I used all of a small chicken except one of the breasts. If you cook a whole chicken be sure to save the bones for stock!
Seasoned cream reducing
While the chicken was roasting, I added the cream to a large pot along with a little salt and a couple tablespoons of fresh rosemary. You may notice some sticks also floating in the cream. I like a strong rosemary flavor in the sauce so I add the rosemary "sticks" to the sauce as well and remove them once the cream reduces. I brought the cream to a simmer, ok a boil, and then turned it down. It can be difficult, at least for me, to control the heat of the cream. I struggle to keep it at a simmer unless I constantly watch over the pot. Even though I often let it boil or rest below a simmer, I never notice any affects to the taste so don't worry if you struggle with the temperature like I do.
Once the cream reduced, I added the goat cheese and roasted chicken. There are two goat cheeses in Cleveland I really like, Mackenzie's & Lake Erie Creamery. I use Mackenzie's more often, simply because it is more convenient for me to buy it at Heinen's than to drive to the Westside Market or Coit Road Market to get Lake Erie Creamery. Both are great cheeses and I encourage you to try them both. I wish Heinen's carried Lake Erie Creamery but I think Lake Erie Creamery does not have the bandwidth to distribute on that large a scale. I've also heard great things about a new creamery making good goat cheese, Lucky Penny Farm, but I have yet to try it. I let the cream, goat cheese, and chicken simmer over low heat until it was nice and thick while I prepared the rest of dinner.
This bowl didn't last long!
When we were almost ready to eat I cooked the pasta and added it to the sauce. Do not rinse the pasta! Rinsing pasta is a common mistake home cooks make. Rinsing washes the starch off and prevents the sauce from sticking to the pasta.
A delicious dinner shared with good friends
The book says this recipe will serve 6-8 people and that's probably pretty close. We had 5 for dinner and there were leftovers for my wife & me for lunch the next day even though everyone had seconds. I served the mac & cheese with a simple salad and roasted asparagus and my first attempt at homemade brownies (need some work - any tips on homemade brownies.
The recipe also easily doubles, I even tripled it once while visiting my in-laws so don't hesitate to make more if you are concerned it won't be enough. The leftovers are good, although not great because when reheated the oil in the cream separates and can be a little unappetizing. All the more reason to have seconds the first time around!
One more tip, the mac & cheese is delicious by itself but I like it even more after I add a little Sriracha hot sauce to it. A couple of my guests agreed with me after skeptically adding a little to their portion.
WIN A GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR YOU AND A GUEST TO ATTEND A COOKING CLASS OF YOUR CHOICE AT THE VIKING COOKING SCHOOL
Heinen's has been kind enough to give two lucky readers a gift certificate good for 2 people to attend the class of their choice at the Viking Cooking School - for those of you outside of Cleveland, sorry but the passes are only good at the school at Legacy Village in the Cleveland area. There are multiple ways you can enter:
- Leave a comment on this post describing your favorite mac & cheese or something else of interest if you aren't a mac & cheese fan
- Mention this post on Twitter - be sure to mention @live2cookathome
- Mention this post on Facebook
- Write a blog post about mac & cheese and link to my blog
You can enter one time per day so feel free to come back every day to add another comment, tweet, etc. Be sure to leave a comment for each entry and make sure to leave an email address I can contact you at in case you win. I will pick the lucky winners next week via www.random.org/. Good luck!
CostI will provide the approximate cost for each recipe in the book, as well as the source of the products used.
It cost about $27.13 to make Michael Symon's Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary.
Pasta - $1.39
Organic Valley Cream - $8.76 (I prefer to use organic but you could easily cut the cost in half by using regular cream if you don't care about organic)
Chicken - $4
Mackenzie's Goat Cheese - $11.98
Miscellaneous (Salt, rosemary) - $1