Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese with Crispy Chicken

 
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Are you feeling lonely?! Do you need something to eat your feelings? This creamy, tangy, cheesy mac & cheese will solve ALL the problems!

Let me break down why this pasta is perfect in 3 reasons.

1. JUICY, CRISPY CHICKEN!

I never really thought about pairing chicken with mac & cheese, but LET ME TELL YOU. It adds a layer of deep, savory flavors to the pasta without being soggy. Since you place your partially-cooked chicken thigh, chicken skin side up, on top of your mac and cheese, the chicken skin remains crispy while the meat gets extra juicy and tender from the steam from the pasta. It’s truly a win-win situation.

2. TANGY GOAT CHEESE SAUCE!

The cheese sauce is made with goat brie cheese — it’s extra creamy, tangy, and JUST DELICIOUS. Also, I mix with even MORE cheese, so how bad can that be?

3. A FINISHING DRIZZLE OF HONEY!

I’m a SUCKER for sweet and savory — these flavors balance each other, bringing maximum pleasure! Savory components of the dish (like chicken and cheese sauce) with sweet components (dried apricots and honey drizzle at the end) assure that every bite that you have will be PERFECT.

It’s perfect comfort food that will make you feel like this pasta god is giving you the cheesiest, warmest hug!

Prep time: 30 minutes l  Cook Time: 40 minutes l Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes l Serving: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (you can replace it with chicken breast if you prefer!)

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 1 1/4 cup dried apricots, diced

  • 8 tbsp butter

  • 8 tbsp flour

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1 package of goat brie cheese

  • 2 cups (or more) cheese blend of your choice

  • 4 cups cooked pasta (about a minute shorter than the package suggestions)

  • 1/4 cup mayo

  • 1 cup panko

  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan (optional)

  • Parsley for garnish

  • Honey for drizzle at the end

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat an oven to 375 Fahrenheit degree.

  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides after patting them dry with paper towels. In a medium-sized skillet over a medium-high heat with a little bit of cooking oil, cook chicken skin side down first for 3-5 minutes until the skin gets crispy and golden brown. Set them aside. Discard excess oil, leaving only about a tablespoon.

  3. In the same skillet that you cooked chicken thighs, sauté sliced onion with 1/2 tsp of salt and dried apricots until they onions get translucent and apricots get slightly caramelized. Set it aside as well.

  4. Prepare the sauce by melting butter in a swallow pot. Don’t let it get too dark. After the butter gets slightly golden brown, whisk in flour to the butter. Add milk, chopped goat brie cheese, cheese blend, and 1 tbsp of salt.

  5. In a big pot (or a casserole), mix cooked pasta with the veggies, sauce, and mayo. Mix everything together.

  6. Transfer the pasta mixture to the greased oven-safe, baking dish (you don’t have to do this if you mixed everything together in a casserole already!). Top the pasta with chicken, skin side up, so that the skin doesn’t get soggy.

  7. Sprinkle panko, grated parmesan (optional), and freshly cracked pepper. This will add extra crispy textures and flavors to the dish.

  8. Cook the pasta in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until the panko gets toasty and brown.

  9. Garnish the dish with chopped parsley and finish it with a drizzle of honey at the end.

  10. Now, GO EAT YOUR FEELINGS!

 
James Park