Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Macaroni & Cheese! ~ Broccoli, Ham and Lorraine Swiss

     Gourmet Mac & Cheese!
     Mornay Sauce has been used in café style restaurant circles for a long time.  It seems like every so often, Mornay Sauce is popular for a while,  then it fades away and the cycle starts again a few years later.
     Classic Sauce Mornay is a white wine and white cheese flavored Supreme Sauce.  For the Sauce Supreme, the Chicken Velouté is made with a white roux instead of a blonde roux.  Cream and flavorings are added to the Velouté to make the Supreme, then white wine and cheese is added to make the Mornay.  The result is a silky smooth refined white sauce that is made with multiple reduction.  Classic Mornay in a very elegant sauce.

     Many chefs make a Simple Mornay instead of Classic Mornay.  The Simple Mornay version is usually served in casual restaurants.  Simple Mornay is made with Béchamel Sauce instead of Sauce Supreme and this version is much cheaper to make.  Some of the casual dining public cannot tell the difference between the two versions of Mornay, but a gourmand will know just by looking at the sauce.

     Since today's Macaroni Cheese has a comfort food theme the Simple Mornay Version made with Béchamel Sauce was chosen for the recipe.  A Béchamel Mornay Sauce still has the rich white wine and white cheese flavor.  Basically for a Béchamel Version, the word Mornay only acts to identify the flavor of the sauce.  When guests hear the word Mornay, a white wine and Gruyere Cheese cream sauce flavor is envisioned.

     It is important to use a good dry white wine to make Mornay.  The best white cheese options for a Mornay are Emmentaler, Lorraine, Madrigal or Gruyere.  White Cheddar or Parmigiana Cheese can be used to make Mornay, but those cheese flavors can be a bit strong.
     Broccoli is often served with Mornay Sauce as a side dish.  Mornay goes well with ham too.  When making Mac & Cheese with broccoli, this vegetable has to be added late in the recipe so it remains green and somewhat crisp to the bite.
     Simple Mornay Sauce (White Wine & Lorraine Swiss Cheese Béchamel Version): 
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.
     The mother sauce for this Simple Mornay version is a basic Béchamel.  Nutmeg and spice clove are not needed for this Béchamel.  
     Any white cheese can be used, but an Emmentaler or Gruyere style cheese is the best choice.  Lorraine Cheese is also a good choice if a mild flavor is preferred.  Lorraine is also called Baby Swiss or Lorraine Swiss. 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring with a whisk to make a roux.  (The roux should look shiny and not caky.)
     Stir till the roux is a white color with very little hazelnut aroma.
     Step 2:  Add 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Stir till the wine thickens with the roux.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 cups of milk while whisking.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Stir as the sauce heats and thickens to a very thin consistency.  (The sauce should look soupy.)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add a bouquet garni sachet.  (Laurel leaf, thyme, parsley sprig, short celery stalk and onion tied in a piece of cheese cloth.)
     Gently simmer and reduce, till it is a thin sauce consistency that can barely coat a spoon.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Remove the bouquet garni sachet.
     Step 6:  Add 3 1/2 ounces of grated Lorraine Swiss Cheese.
     Stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.
     Gently simmer the sauce, till it reduces to a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.
     Step 7:  Pour the sauce into a ceramic container.
     Keep the sauce warm in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Macaroni with Broccoli Ham and Mornay
     This recipe yields 1 serving!  This is not a baked macaroni and cheese version.  Not every macaroni is best when baked, especially if a vegetable like broccoli is added.
     Step 1:  Heat a 3 ounce piece of roasted ham in a 300ºF oven.
     Cute the ham into small bite size pieces and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Cook 1 portion of macaroni pasta in boiling water over high heat, till the pasta is almost al dente.
     Step 3:  About one minute before the pasta finishes cooking, add 3/4 cup of bite size broccoli florets to the pasta water.
     Boil till the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is blanched.
     Drain the water off of the macaroni and broccoli.
     Step 4:  Place the macaroni and broccoli in a mixing bowl.
     Add the pieces of roasted ham.
     Add just enough of the warm Mornay Sauce, while stirring, to generously coat the ingredients with the sauce.  (About 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups.)
     Step 5:  Place the macaroni with broccoli, ham and mornay into a shallow soup bowl or a single portion casserole dish.
     Try to expose a few pieces of the broccoli and ham on the surface of the pasta.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This is a nice aromatic stove top style gourmet Mac & Cheese!  

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