Mac and cheese is comfort food at it’s best. I eat it when I’m happy, when I’m down and when I can’t be asked to cook. Especially when the weather is cold to the extent it is snowing. I love making ordinary mac and cheese but sometimes I like to add a twist like white truffle oil, bacon and spring onion or pepperoni with chilli and chives. Anything I have in the fridge I fling it into my mac and cheese. But I hate it when people make mac and cheese with any other pasta shape than Macaroni. I mean, then it’s not called mac and cheese. It’s Penne and cheese or Fusilli and cheese.
Now as I do sitting there watching endless cookery programme re runs on the Food Network Channel, on one of the series of Eat St, they featured a ‘GRILLED CHEESE TRUCK’. Now this truck doesn’t make grilled cheese on the norm. These are gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. They do a Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Whipped Goat Cheese with Caramelized Mushrooms and Fresh Arugula on a whole roasted garlic bread, which sounds so fresh and Italian; and my Ultimate favourite. A Macaroni and Cheese with Sharp Cheddar, BBQ Pork, Caramelised Onion. I mean Mac and Cheese IN a grilled cheese with pork. Sounds like heaven.
After seeing this I had to do some pork and mac and cheese, with all the caramelised goodness. It was so typically American. Smokey, barbecued, with hints of spice and sugar, full of succulent piggy goodness. Yum Yum YUM!!! One thing I love about savoury cooking, is there is no need to weigh. I usually add gradually, taste then add some more. So feel free to do so. Remember you can always add, but you can’t take away.
Inspired by the Grilled Cheese Truck
For the belly pork…
500g belly pork cut into 3cm chunks
1 cup of smokey bbq sauce
1tbsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 red onion roughly chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
For the mac and cheese…
30g plain flour
1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt & pepper
Brown the pork in a frying pan. Mix the rest of ingredients together except the onion in a large bowl. Add the browned pork to the marinade and thoroughly coat. Place in the oven at 200°C in a roasting tray lined with foil and add the onions and sprigs of rosemary.
Cook for around 45mins or until the meat is tender turning consistently. If the meat begins to char on the edge cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
For the mac and cheese, boil the pasta in salted water for the timing stated on the packet then drain.
Melt 30g of the butter in a saucepan then add the flour making a roux. Allow to cook for 30secs then gradually add the milk whilst whisking. You should have a smooth and slightly thick consistency. You may not need all the milk or some extra. Season with salt and pepper then stir in 150g of the cheese.
Sweat the onions till soft and add to the sauce. Combine with the pasta and pour into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese and the mixed herbs.
Bake in the oven till the to is lovely and golden.
Serve with the mac and cheese with the belly pork and some veggies such as broccoli, carrots and corn on the cob.Oh So Sweet Baker x