Mmmm mac’n’cheese. I love a good pasta dish, especially when the weather is cold, it’s one of the best comfort foods right? A hot bowl of saucy carbs.
But mac’n’cheese is in a league of its own. Creamy, cheesy pasta, which oozes and stretches as you pull out your fork with just enough to make a mouthful. The crunchy golden top, with breadcrumbs and even more cheese, perhaps one of my favourite parts, giving the top layer a nice crunch.
Alex’s mum makes the most insane mac’n’cheese. Since living with Alex, she’s actually delivered us some of her signature dish a couple of times, but I knew that with Alex now away from home, I needed to try and make my own version – well let’s face it, you can never replace family recipes and cooking, and I’d never want to. I love our little food deliveries every now and then.
I know usually Alex’s mum pops ham in her version. A nice meaty addition, with the added salt and flavour adding some amazing to each mouthful. I wanted to add something to mine too, something different…and that’s when I spotted our leftover beef burgers.
What could be better than mac’n’cheese and burgers? I’ve seen burger bars add a heap of the cheesy stuff to burgers before (god knows how you eat those without getting it everywhere) so decided it would be a winning combo. And it sure was.
I marinated the burger in herbs and seasoning first, to intensify the flavour slightly, and then baked it in my own mac’n’cheese topped with cheesy breadcrumbs.
It definitely wasn’t the same as Alex’s mums but he said it was delicious in its own way. Winning. The herby beefburger pieces added extra depth and a salty, rich flavour.
I even made plenty so that we could have leftovers the next day, and it was just as good then!
Here’s how I made it…
Burger Mac 'n Cheese
A twist on the traditional mac 'n' cheese, this dish includes pieces of rich beef burger which add a delicious depth of flavour.
- 2 cheese topped bread rolls
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 300 grams macaroni
- 25 grams butter
- 1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp French's classic yellow mustard
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 600 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 250 grams reduced fat cheddar cheese grated
- 60 grams parmesan
- 2 beef burgers cooked, cubed
- 2 tsp Thyme
- 1 beef oxo cube
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Cut the bread rolls into roughly 1cm cubes, spread over a lined baking tray. Drizzle the bread chunks in the oil and bake in the oven for roughly 5 minutes until crisp.
Cook the macaroni in a pan of salted water, using the times stated on the packet. Do not allow to over cook.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, in a separate bowl, combine the oxo cube with 4 tbsp. boiling water to form a paste. Add the burger pieces and thyme, and toss to coat thoroughly. Leave to the side to marinade.
In another pan melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and mustard and cook for a further minute.
Mix the flour into the butter and mustard mixture, stirring continuously to form a roux. Add the milk a little at a time, whisking the mixture to ensure a smooth sauce - if needed, remove from the heat and use an electric whisk to whisk until smooth.
Return to the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continuously as the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add the cheddar and 40g of the parmesan and stir to combine well.
Drain the pasta, stir into the cheese mixture. Fold in the herby burger pieces. Pour into an oven proof dish, top with the baked bread and the remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Serve with your choice of side – it’s fab with vegetables or a side salad, or even by itself.
What’s your ultimate comfort food?