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Eat in Nashville: Poblano Mac ‘n’ Cheese
“The building that Merchants Restaurant is housed in was built in 1892. Our second floor is all about chef-inspired fare, and our first floor, called The Bistro, is where we serve classic Southern and Americana-type food—burgers, sandwiches, fried green tomatoes, and this macaroni and cheese, which is one of our best sellers. You start with heavy cream, cook it down, and add the cheese, so it’s almost like a cheddar Alfredo, Then you get the roasted crunch of the poblano, the smoky goodness of the bacon, and the sweet finish of the tomato—all of which complement the cheesy sauce. It’s a really awesome, rich macaroni and cheese. If this won’t fill you up, nothing will.”
Who Duane Loftus, sous chef
Where Merchants Restaurant
2 large poblano peppers
6 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup cooked bacon crumbles
5 1/2 cups large macaroni noodles, cooked
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1. Grill peppers until skin blackens. Remove from heat, and place in a bowl. Cover in plastic wrap, and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel and de-seed under cold water, then dice.
2. Cook cream over medium heat, stirring constanty, until reduced by half. Stir in noodles, bacon and 1/4 cup peppers. Add cheese, cook over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, then add tomatoes. Garnish with scallions.
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