Beer & Bacon Mac and cheese
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Beer & Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

A silky beer and bacon-infused cheese sauce takes this mac and cheese up a notch. This recipe is perfect for entertaining or feeding a crowd.
Course Baked pasta, Mac and cheese, macaroni, Pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 -10
Author Alida Ryder

Ingredients

for the sauce

  • 500 g bacon diced
  • 150 g butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 can beer approximately 330ml
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml cream
  • 2-3 cups strong cheddar grated
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste

to assemble

  • 1 kg cooked macaroni reserve 2 cups of the cooking water
  • 1 cup grated cheese mixed with 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and grease a large oven-proof dish.
  • Fry the bacon in a large pot until crisp and golden.
  • Remove the bacon from the pot but leave the fat.
  • Add the butter to the bacon fat and allow to melt before adding the flour.
  • Stir and cook for 1 minute before slowly pouring in the beer whilst whisking. When all the beer has been incorporated, add the milk and cream and mix until the sauce is smooth. At this point you might need to add a little more liquid, I just add more milk but you can also use chicken stock if you prefer. The sauce needs to be the consistency of shop-bought custard. Take the pot off the heat and Add the cheese and bacon back to the sauce as well as the smoked paprika and nutmeg, and stir until the cheese has melted. Season to taste.
  • When the sauce is cooked, mix it with the cooked macaroni. Add some of the reserved cooking water and mix well. The macaroni needs to be well covered by the sauce and will almost look like it's got too much sauce covering it. If it doesn't, add more of the water. If you wanted to be very decadent you could add more cream at this stage too.
  • Transfer the macaroni into the prepared dish and cover with the breadcrumbs/cheese mixture.
  • Place in the oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.