Long, long ago, in a small pub seated at the bar, an Allagash White in front of me, our journey begins. I was having dinner with a friend at a favorite local pub when on a whim I decided to order the lobster baked mac and cheese. This is going a few years back now, so at the time, baked mac and cheese was still in the infancy of its rise to popularity in our county. I didn’t know what to expect. I had only had homemade mac a handful of times in my life and none of them were baked. Hell, even to this day I can barely make a box of Kraft that tastes halfway decent. Everything had changed after that night.
This truly American delicacy began popping in restaurants all over the county in no time. Some sucked. Some kicked ass. One that I ran into last summer was smothered in pulled pork. I was totally shocked by that and now its common at barbeque joints around the country. The staple however, seems to be lobster baked mac and cheese. So rich and delicious. Hearty and filling. But it was missing one thing. For years I couldn’t figure it out until one night at hibachi, the answer fell right into my lap. My hibachi usual, surf and turf, would be the perfect baked mac host.
Finally after many moons had passed, surf and turf mac and cheese came to be on a cold February afternoon.
Prep Time- 30 Minutes
Cook Time- 1 hour
- 12 ounces steak, lean and diced into bite sized pieces
- 12 ounces lobster meat, diced into bite sized pieces
- 3 strips bacon
- 8 ounces desired pasta (I used Gemelli)
- 1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
- 1 7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 1 egg
- 16 ounces shredded cheese (I used Cheddar and Monterey Jack)
- 1 cup panko breading
- In a large skillet, combine enchilada sauce with chipotle adobo and mix well. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Stir in beef and bacon. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on, giving the pan a shake periodically. Reduce to low and remove the lid, cooking an additional 7-10 minutes. When complete, chop the bacon and set all meat aside. Cook liquid on high heat for 3 minutes, ensuring all bacteria are neutralized. Reserve for later.
- While meat is simmering, cook your desired pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside
- Over low to medium heat, combine butter and flour and begin stirring together to make a roux. Stir for 5 minutes, making sure there are no flour pockets and that it is well blended. After 5 minutes, add milk, paprika, cumin, chili powder and shallot. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, temper an egg into the milk mixture, making sure it does not instantly cook when touching the hot liquid. Stir in 6 ounces of each cheese blend until well mixed.
- Place pasta in a baking dish or oven safe pan. Mix in the beef and lobster. Pour the cheese blend over the top and stir together thoroughly.
- Use the remaining cheese as a topping. Sprinkle one cup of panko on the top of the dish and top with the chopped bacon. For a golden crisp, place a few slivers of butter on the top to assist the panko.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Use the sauce from the beef as a spicy topping. Serve and enjoy.
And there you have it. While fairly easy, this is definitely a time consuming recipe. So much fun to make, especially if you have company in the kitchen so don’t be afraid to get some help. I know what I will do different next time, but sadly that information is for me and I can’t share. I mean I could, but i’d have to kill you.
Stay hungry my friends.