Recipe of the Month
MACARONI AND CHEESE FROM JIKO: THE COOKING PLACE
A soon as guests set foot inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, they are immersed in African culture. The African-themed Deluxe Resort features Savannas, where guests and visitors can see a variety of live animals grazing from public viewing areas or even their balconies. The animals alone make this Resort incredible and worth visiting, but Disney didn’t stop there. The Resort is amazing in so many other ways as well.
One big draw is their food. The Animal Kingdom Lodge features some of the best restaurants on property, blending African-inspired dishes with American fare. You would think that with all the cultural influences, Guests would rave about an authentic dish. Not the case. The one dish that keeps Guests coming back again and again is the quite American, Macaroni and Cheese from Jiko: The Cooking Place.
Jiko’s Macaroni and Cheese is traditionally served as a side dish with their famous Oak-grilled Filet Mignon and Red Wine Sauce. Their version features a rich 4-cheese blend, which makes it creamy and smooth. Believe it or not, it only takes a handful of ingredients to recreate this fan favorite at home.
The key to a great homemade Macaroni and Cheese is to keep things “low and slow”. Too much heat could scald your cheese sauce causing it to break. Follow each direction to the tee, allotting the exact right amount of time for each step. Move too quickly and your sauce can become lumpy. Another great tip is to use warmed milk rather than right out of the fridge. Stir in your cheese using a “figure eight” method. Both of these tips will help your cheese sauce come together easier.
Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s start cooking!
JIKO’S MACARONI AND CHEESE
Jiko — The Cooking Place, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Recipe from D23) Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
8 ounces shredded Italian four-cheese blend (such as mozzarella, asiago, fontina and provolone)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and kept warm
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stirring until combined. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until golden (do not let brown).
2. Add milk to butter mixture, whisking until completely smooth and no lumps remain.
3. Simmer mixture, stirring frequently, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Add cheese to saucepan in batches, stirring until completely melted. Add salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
5. Place cooked macaroni in a large bowl. Add cheese sauce, stirring to combine.
Serve immediately alongside a grilled filet or even chicken. Next time you’re at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I highly recommend making a reservation at Jiko: The Cooking Place. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance for on-site guests.