Esquites Mac & Cheese
Like everything SuckerPunch represents, we can confidently say that just like our products, our recipe is better than any other recipe you may be pondering, considering, or simultaneously reading. So close that other tab and read on. For starters, this recipe includes Fiery Heat Three Pepper pickles, which make everything better.
Esquites, otherwise known as Mexican street corn, is undeniably incredible as it is. Have you ever treated your taste buds to a combination of esquites with mac & cheese? We're not saying there's anything wrong with classic Mac & Cheese; the same way, there wasn't anything necessarily wrong with the classic pickle.
What we're saying is we found a way to make Mac & Cheese even better...like way better. Like, “hot damn, I don't think I will ever be able to eat Mac & Cheese without these spicy pickles and Esquites in it ever again,” better.
Get ready for a cultural collision of epicurean proportions as Mexico meets middle America in this elevated version of the Sonoran street food sensation.
Esquites Mac & Cheese Recipe
Makes - 8 servings
Prep Time - 30 minutes
Cook Time - 30 minutes
Total Time - 1 hour
For the Pasta
Makes: 8 Cups Macaroni
3 Quarts Water
2.5 Cups of SukcerPunch Brine
1 Lb Dry Elbow Macaroni
- Using a large stockpot, cook 1 lb dry elbow macaroni according to macaroni package directions.
- Bring a mixture of 3 quarts of water plus most of the brine from a 24 oz jar of SuckerPunch Fiery Heat Three Pepper Pickles to a boil. Save a ½ Cup for our cheese sauce.
- Cook your pasta for approximately 8 -12 minutes or until it is al dente. A slightly firmer pasta will hold up better once it's added to the creamy cheese sauce.
- Drain completely and divide the macaroni into two 11" x 8" casserole dishes. If you prefer to make one large batch instead of two smaller batches, use a large roasting pan that is big enough for all of the macaroni plus 2 quarts of cheese sauce.
- Set the macaroni aside to cool.
For the Mac & Cheese Sauce
Makes: 2 quarts sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot thinly sliced
14 oz can evaporated milk
7 oz bag shredded Chihuahua cheese
8 oz blend of shredded Monterey Jack and Asadero cheeses
4 oz shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 cup Fiery Heat Three Pepper Pickle brine
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot.
- Add the shallot, and sweat for 2 minutes until the shallot becomes translucent.
- Add the evaporated milk and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the heat to medium and puree with a handheld immersion blender or stiff whisk.
- Add the mustard powder and stir. Begin to quickly blend in the cheeses a little bit at a time, constantly stirring to ensure the mixture doesn't cool too rapidly while also preventing the bottom from burning.
- If the mixture cools to where the cheese begins to thicken, and you cannot stir it, simply add a little more heat and whisk rapidly to ensure the bottom doesn't burn.
- Finish by stirring in the SuckerPunch Three Pepper Pickle Brine. Pour the finished creamy cheese sauce over the macaroni and mix well until evenly coated.
If you are making two small batches, divide the cheese sauce accordingly for each tray or casserole dish of macaroni. For one large batch, simply pour over and stir to coat.
For the Esquites
6 Fiery Three Pepper Spears, chopped fine
4 ears cooked corn removed from the cob (canned sweet corn kernels or frozen corn kernels can be substituted)
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
¼ cup cilantro, chopped fine, to taste
½ cup toasted bread crumbs (store-bought is fine - panko bread crumbs can be substituted)
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
- Mix all ingredients for the Esquites together in a separate bowl.
- Sprinkle Esquites evenly over each dish of Mac & Cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 - 30 minutes (or until heated through).
Quick Tip: You can also add fried bacon bits for added texture and flavor, as well as minced poblano pepper for that extra kick.
Once your Mac & Cheese is out of the oven and on your plate, there's only one thing left to do...dig in! Remember to breathe in between bites, and be sure to chew as you inhale this masterful take on Mac & Cheese. We know it’s a winner. Check out the SuckerPunch blog for more recipes and all the pickle periodicals you can sink your teeth into.