Milena’s Cooking Adventures — Yesterday Was Monday
Yes, I know. I keep posting kefir recipes. It’s because (surprise) I have a lot of kefir. And it’s delicious. And it makes me very happy. My little guys (the grains) make about 4 cups or more a week. So if you don’t like kefir, or you can’t find it, or you don’t have grains to make it, I’m sorry. I wish your life were enriched with tiny magical wizard grains.
My twin’s favourite recipe with kefir is definitely kefir mac’n’cheese. It’s tangy and interesting and super easy to make. It’s what I use to bribe them. I truly hope they’re not reading this… because it is a highly useful manipulative dish that I intend to keep on using for that purpose.
I like to add in some veggies into any mac’n’cheese I make. I find with the kefir sauce, a flavour that can compete with– but not overwhelm– the tangy flavour of the kefir, is needed. For this recipe, I chose sautéed leeks. They end up as a nice round complement to the kefir. I also added mustard, which melds with the kefir and makes for a gorgeously tangy sauce.
Because kefir is more yoghurt-y than milk-y, do make sure not to overheat it when you’re using it for cooking– it is much easier to overcook and therefore curdle than just using plain milk. Just like kefir grains, you have to be really nice and gentle with your kefir cheese sauce. Never cook it above medium heat, and aim for lower. Stir constantly. If you are kind to your kefir, it will be kind to you.
Kefir Mac’n’Cheese with Browned Leeks
- Macaroni noodles (however much you want in relation to the sauce)
- 1 leek, chopped into rounds
- ~4 TBS butter
- ~4 TBS all-purpose flour
- 4-6 cups kefir
- 1 TBS Dijon mustard (2 TBS if you’re a mustard fiend or live in the US where mustard is weak)
- 1/2 – 1 cup grated comté (or gruyère) cheese, preferably aged
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Paprika to taste (I suggest 1 tsp)
- Put a little bit of oil or butter in a large frying pan, heat to medium-high. Once the pan is heated, add in chopped leeks, stirring until they are nicely browned and soft.
- While leeks are cooking, start the macaroni noodles as per the directions on the package. If you have my kind of memory (non-existent), set a timer for when to strain them!
- Lower heat under frying pan and add in 4 TBS butter with the leeks– let melt and brown a tiny bit.
- Sprinkle in flour slowly while whisking very fast to avoid any flour lumps.
- When flour and butter is browned and clumpy, add in kefir slowly while whisking very fast to avoid lumps.
- When mixture is warm again, add in mustard, cheese, and spices. Whisk until all cheese is almost melted, then turn off the heat. Let sit off the heat a couple minutes, still stirring, to let cheese melt the whole way.
- Pour sauce over noodles and use this dish to bribe your twin. If you do not have a twin, find someone else to bribe. It will be effective.