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Wild Recipes from Public Lands: Chilkoot Trail Mac and Cheese

Editor's note: The following is part of a series featuring recipes with ingredients harvested from public lands.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has compiled its favorite recipes of dishes that "include ingredients you can hunt, fish, or forage on public lands," and has given GPM permission to reprint their creations here. Before you fire up your campfire or woodstove, however, DOI reminds us:

Hunting and fishing are outdoor activities with tasty results. Before you go after game or cast your line, check out our hunting and fishing guides so that you can make sure you’re following the rules, have the federal and state licenses you need and are keeping safe.

On many public lands, gathering natural, renewable products -- such as fruits, berries, nuts or sea shells -- is permitted, subject to certain conditions set by each location or state office. Be sure to check nps.gov, fws.gov, blm.gov or the websites of specific parks and national wildlife refuges for the most up-to-date information on availabilities and quantity limits before going to pick plants. Always make sure to properly identify plants before picking them, as some can be hazardous.

Chilkoot Trail Mac and Cheese
This rich and cheesey mushroom mac will have you cheesing all day! Mushrooms will add a fresh bite to this gooey pasta dish, and are an ingredient that can be found on many public lands, such as Alsea Falls Recreation Site in Oregon or Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Hike Chilkoot Trail at Alaska’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to gather the mushrooms this macaroni is named after. Some mushrooms are dangerous to eat, so make sure to properly identify all mushrooms before consumption. A warm thank you to National Park Service employee Catherine Stewart for this magnificent mac.

Ingredients:
1 pound of pasta
At least 10 oz of any kind of cheese (recommended: add a little cream cheese or american cheese to make it creamy)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste
Mustard to taste
As many mushrooms as you like, sauteed

Ingredients for topping:
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup butter
Salt and pepper
Parsley or other herbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Boil pasta to al dente and drain.
Shred cheese.
Melt butter in pot. Add flour, whisking constantly, and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat without letting it brown.
Add milk slowly, whisking the whole time. Add mustard and hot sauce, salt and pepper, and then start adding cheese. Mix continuously so it doesn’t stick!
Once the sauce is smooth, stir in the pasta, mix well, and put it in an 11 x 13 casserole dish.
Mix topping ingredients together and spread over the top of the pasta.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned.

Photo Credit: Charlie Jones, National Park Service.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.