Mac and cheese is a favorite comfort food for many people. While the blue box variety might be a convenient pantry staple, another item on the shelf can make a creamier, more flavorful option. A can of cream of onion soup is one recipe hack upgrade you may have never known you needed. A fantastic homemade macaroni and cheese relies on flavor and creaminess. Making a roux for a béchamel sauce can be daunting. Whether your concern is cooking out all the flour or avoiding dreaded lumps, tackling this "mother sauce" may make you want to place a to-go order instead.
However, a can of cream of onion soup can eliminate the need to mess around with a béchamel without sacrificing the creamy texture you crave. For best results, use condensed cream of onion soup for this trick. While you could choose a different cream soup, using the onion version gives the sauce a stronger flavor foundation. Similar to how onions are the base of a mirepoix, that underlying flavor can help round out all the other cheese notes. In addition, it creates a fantastic base for enhancing the recipe. Options like diced jalapeños, mushrooms, or even an extra dash of hot sauce can be balanced by the cream of onion soup.
Why Cream Of Onion Soup Is The Best Choice For Mac And Cheese
A condensed cream soup in a mac and cheese recipe makes a creamier forkful of deliciousness, but the particular flavor needs careful consideration. While a cream of onion soup might have a subtle underlying sweetness, it does not overpower the cheese in the dish. The soup acts as a thickener and lends a subtle flavor undertone; it functions more like an ingredient helper than a taste inhibiter.
Switching to a different soup base has both its benefits and deterrents. For instance, cream of cheddar heightens the overall cheesy factor. But, it could make the dish a little one-note. Having salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami taste notes creates a composed bite. If cream of cheddar soup is used, the recipe might need additional ingredients to achieve the correct balance.
If you don't want pieces of mushroom or chicken, you may not want to use a cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup. Although contrasting textures can be good in certain situations, some might find the small ingredients fight the dish's composition. In addition, some people may not appreciate mushrooms' earthiness or avoid eating chicken. Cream of onion soup might not necessarily be the most used condensed soup across the recipe space, but its subtle flavor could change the conversation around mac and cheese.
Cream Soups Are A Versatile Time Saver
While that slow, gooey pull might be a picture-perfect moment, a great mac and cheese recipe is more than copious amounts of cheese. At its best, mac and cheese is an easy dish that can be thrown together to make a homemade meal in minutes, not hours. Cream soups double down on ease because, in many households, at least one flavor can typically be found in the pantry. Condensed cream soups have been used to make a simple sauce for chicken dishes or casserole bases for years; that foundation can extend to your mac and cheese. By starting with a cream soup, you can control the overall thickness of the cheese sauce. Whether adding extra liquid to loosen the sauce or keeping it thicker, this method is more approachable than using a roux base, which can be more finicky.
Also, a cream soup comes seasoned. Even if the pasta water resembles the saltiness of the sea and the cheese brings its unique flavor, these ingredients need another element to meld them all together. Instead of pulling out the entire spice cabinet, the cream soup brings salt, pepper, and other seasonings to help round out your other ingredients. Although everyone might think the secret ingredient in Grandma's mac and cheese recipe is love, the reality may be that she had a can of cream soup on standby every time.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.