Murray’s Better than Basic Mac & Cheese

 

Béchamel

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until mixture gets slightly darker in color. Add milk to the butter and flour mixture and stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Once the Béchamel boils, it will start to thicken. Once thick whisk in the cheeses, stirring until melted.
  2. Stir in the cooked pasta until well combined.
  3. Pour into a large baking dish, Dutch oven or cast iron pan and Bake at 375 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Serves: 6-8 people.

Murray’s French Onion Soup Mac & Cheese

Brilliant: combine two classic winter warmers into one delicious dish. Creamy, pungent Scharfe Maxx is the star here. It melts like a dream and its big, oniony flavor makes this mac over the top savory.

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INGREDIENTS

Béchamel

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  1. In a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat, add the onions and olive oil and cook until caramelized, about 40 minutes. Be attentive, don’t overstir. When nicely browned and very soft, place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan set over medium high heat, cook pancetta until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove and reserve pancetta.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until mixture gets slightly darker in color. Add milk to the butter and flour mixture and stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Once the Béchamel boils, it will start to thicken. Once thick whisk in the cheeses, stirring until melted.
  4. Stir in the cooked pasta, the onions and the pancetta until well combined.
  5. Pour into a large baking dish, Dutch oven or cast iron pan and Bake at 375 degree oven for 45 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Boozy Dessert Idea: Beer and Ice Cream

Kevin Brooks is the resident beer geek at Murray’s Bleecker St.

Not the first thing that comes to mind, right?  Who would drop a scoop of chocolate ice cream into pint of IPA or pour a cold one onto a banana split? Garnish their Corona with an ice cream sandwich, maybe?

While I might be on to something with that last one, my point is that the pairing doesn’t exactly leap to mind. Beer goes with the steak dinner, while the ice cream is the cold treat afterwards, right? I mean it’s not like beer works with everything.

Oh, but it does.

I was first exposed to the pleasure of beer and ice cream during a visit to Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton, Pennsylvania. Their imperial stout, Old Heathen, is a punch in the mouth, full of bitter roastiness and intense coffee flavor. I was savoring my fourth sample cup when the bartender suggested pouring it over vanilla ice cream. When I indicated my surprise, she said it was even better with coffee ice cream. My wife and I couldn’t resist and as soon as we got home, we discovered that the bartender knew her stuff. The creaminess of the ice cream cut the bitterness of the beer, allowing the coffee notes to stand clearly on their own, which paired with the vanilla in the ice cream quite nicely.

Now, given the spectrum of flavors available in the brewing world coupled with the nearly limitless possibilities of ice cream flavors, what other pairings work? Surely we can do better than boring old vanilla. (not that there is anything wrong with vanilla., we’ll get to that later)

One of my favorite trends in brewing right now is the ascendance of smoked beer. Smoked porters, pilsners, straight up rauchbiers; I love them all. However, the originals are still the best, and the Schlenkerla brewery in Bamberg has been making smoked beers for hundreds of years. I just recently enjoyed their oak smoked dopplebock, Eiche, which has a milder smoky kick and a rich, chewy sweetness that just begs to be drunk.

So, when I had the pleasure of trying Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s Salted Caramel, I knew I had found a match made in heaven. Sweet, salty, smoky… not just delicious, but alliterative as well. I could also have added creamy and luscious, but that would have broken my S streak. But this sundae pairing shows how satisfying a good savory on sweet pairing can be.

That’s all well and good, I hear you say, but what about that IPA you mentioned in the beginning?

Back in my IPA post, I wrote about Southern Tier’s Oak Aged Unearthly, a shockingly strong IPA that had been de-fanged by a lengthy slumber in an oak barrel. It was the surprise of the tasting, as its lack of hop bite left behind a big, caramelly malt bomb with a solid underlying bitterness. “Pairs well with chocolate,” I wrote, perhaps foreseeing this very problem.

As with any pairing, it’s important to find something with an equally intense flavor that can stand up to the beer. How about Steve’s Brooklyn Black-Out? That sounds intense, let’s see… milk chocolate ice cream swirled with Ovenly’s chocolate stout cake pieces and dark chocolate pudding. So that’s chocolate with chocolate, with chocolate swirled in. Yeah. That sounds pretty intense. The beer and the ice cream work surprisingly well together, with the beer’s bitterness teaming up with the bitter notes of the chocolate while the heavy chocolate sweetness stands out, amplified and accented by the beer’s caramel backbone.

So there’s your IPA and ice cream sundae. Done and done.

But are sundaes the only option? There are so many other ice cream treats out there. What about that most indulgent of sweet treats, the root beer float? It already has beer right there in the name, surely there must be a way to capture that same sweet, creamy, vanilla and spice deliciousness?

The first step is finding a beer with the right flavor and the right amount of residual sweetness to pair with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream. Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout is a perfect choice: The addition of lactose, a sugar that yeast cannot ingest, leaves this stout with a mellow sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ve got everything you want: An alcoholic root beer float with that fantastic melted ice cream/beer slurry. A perfect combination for those long winter nights at home.

Beer and ice cream: two great things that go great together. While hardly the obvious pick, a little experimentation will reward you with some surprising flavor combos, as well as a few raised eyebrows when you up end the beer bottle over the giant sundae you’ve just put out.

Ice cream and beer are currently available at our Bleecker location only.

Meet the Meats: La Quercia

Shop Murray’s Cheese for La Quercia Artisan Meats Now!

How did a family in Norwalk, Iowa come to produce some of the best cured meats in the world? It started with tradition: After three and a half years in Parma, Italy, Herb and Kathy Eckhouse brought classic techniques back home to create their signature salumi, something they say “expresses our appreciation for the beauty and bounty of Iowa”. Adding responsible sourcing and sustainability to the recipe means that their products don’t just taste great, they’re also produced with the highest standards and best quality ingredients around.

 

With the demand for awesome American meat constantly growing, Murray’s and La Quercia are now teaming up to help more people get a bite of the good stuff. We will now be stocking even more of their products, and helping Herb distribute his goods to more people. Here are some new products that you have to taste:

Tamworth Bacon - This is the “end all, be all” Bacon. Produced from the belly of the Tamworth pig, this Bacon is full of well-balanced smoky and fatty flavors. Tamworth pigs snack on acorn for a few months which leaves a smooth, lingering nutty flavor on your tongue after the fat melts away.

Pancetta - This pancetta is the perfect balance of herbaceous and fatty sweetness. Perfect for flavoring a dish, bright notes of Juniper and Bay leaf will immediately stand out. Making pasta for dinner? Throw in a bit of Pancetta to bring it to the next level.

Prosciutto – Finding a cured ham that can compete with the Europeans can be tricky, but La Quercia gives even the Italians a run for their money. Nutty, fruity, and slightly sweet, this prosciutto will easily convert the most devoted Italophile.

Lomo Americano – Unlike most cured meats, Lomo is produced from pork tenderloin. This makes Lomo slightly less fatty than some other cuts, but it sure doesn’t lack in flavor. Rubbed with pimento and cocoa, slightly spicy and has incredible depth. This guy is the perfect prosciutto substitute, and plays well with wine.

Speck - Some hams are smoked, others cured. Speck has the distinct honor of receiving both treatments. The smokiness and saltiness combined perfectly to create a meat that is made for pairing. From dense aged cheeses, to bright, tangy, fresh ones; speck can easily transition into many roles.

Iowa White Spread – Like Buttered bread? Yea, me too. But when I tried a schmear of this stuff on a toasted baguette, my world changed. White Spread is basically prosciutto fat that has been cured, and then ground leaving it smooth like velvet. Think porky butter.

Guanciale – Meaning check in Italian, this cured pork jowl is anything but cheeky. The jowl holds some of the pigs most highly concentrated flavors, making Guanciale perfect for cooking with.

 

– LEO RUBIN

When Leo is not mongering behind the counter at Grand Central he is pursuing his Food Studies degree at the New School or interning in the Murray’s Marketing Department or developing new recipes for the store or managing an event or eating cheese.

Superbowl Recipe: Chorizo Chili!

How do you make a classic winter chili even more warming and delicious? Throw in some chorizo for a subtly smoky, spicy twist on this one pot meal. This recipe comes from our own restaurant, Murray’s Cheese Bar. Makes enough to feed a crowd, so it’s perfect for game day! Make sure to have the recipe handy… they’re gonna ask for it.

 

Murray’s Cheese Bar Chorizo Chili

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Olive oil

2 strips bacon, cut in ¼ inch strips

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 ea green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1/4 lb chorizo (if using fully cooked or cured, chop into ½ inch or smaller pieces; if using raw, remove casing before cooking)

28 oz can peeled whole tomatoes, chopped

28 oz can black beans

1.5 cups beef broth

1.5 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 Tbsp paprika

1/2  cup cilantro, chopped

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. Heat Oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add bacon, cook until slightly crisp
  2. Add Onion, Green Pepper, and Garlic to pot and sauté till aromatic. Add Beef and Pork to pot and cook until browned
  3. Add remaining items to pan. Once boiling, lower heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Season with Salt and Pepper
  5. Top with Sour Cream, Cilantro, and Cheddar Cheese. Serve with Tortilla Chips.

Serves: 10

Total Time:2.5