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Pot Liquor Mac-N-Cheese


I didn't want to waste the delicious liquid that comes from simmering collard greens for my Thanksgiving table. So I use the "pot liqour" sauce to flavor my mac-n-cheese and now I have 2-for-1 flavorful sides for my holiday table.

The Gourmandize Team

This hearty meal is a great way to use up a lot of the ingredients in your fridge when you need it!

Rate this recipe 4.2/5 (36 Votes)


  • 2 bunches of collards (about 2 pounds) or two 16oz bags chopped collards
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon cut in half
  • 1 large red onion diced
  • 2 cups sliced baby Portabella mushrooms
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups reduced sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 lb large shell pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups shredded aged cheddar
  • 2 cups cubed processed cheese
  • ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan
  • 2 cups spicy pork rinds crushed


Servings 6
Level of difficulty Easy
Preparation time 90mins
Cooking time 30mins
Cost Average budget


Step 1

Thoroughly clean each collard leaf, removing the tough stem and rib. Cut or tear into ½ inch pieces pieces. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 10 minutes. Add onion, mushrooms and ham hocks. Saute for 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant.

Step 2

Add in the collards. Pour in beef stock, water, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and brown sugar.. Add salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Drain greens over a large bowl, reserving the liquid. Reserve greens for separate dish.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place liquid from greens into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add pasta and water if necessary to cover pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8-9minutes. Drain, reserving pasta water.

Step 4

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour to butter, whisking constantly; cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Pour half and half slowly into the flour mixture, whisking continually until fully incorporated. Reduce heat to low. Cook sauce, whisking frequently, until it begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Step 5

Add the shredded Cheddar cheese and cubed processed cheese; stir continually until the cheese melts completely. Once cheese is entirely incorporated, remove sauce from heat. Stir in drained pasta and add any pasta water, if necessary, to loosen. Pour mixture into a round baking dish.

Step 6

In bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and crushed pork rinds. Top the macaroni mixture evenly with the pork rind cheese mixture. Bake in preheated oven until heated through and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

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Chef Tips and Tricks

Three Cheese Baguette

You'll drool over this 3 cheese, bacon-wrapped baguette.



  • Blue cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozarella
  • 1 baguette
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Bacon


  1. Cut your cheeses into thin slices
  2. Slice baguette down the middle (like a sandwich)
  3. Layer cheddar, blue, and mozarella cheese inside the bread
  4. Top with sun-dried tomatoes
  5. Close baguette and wrap with bacon strips
  6. Put in oven and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees
  7. Slice and serve!

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