Side Dish Spectacular – USA stylee (of course!)

I’m back!!!!  I know you’ve all missed me but it’s been a mental few weeks.  In between planning a staff Christmas party, the school Christmas show, a trip ‘darn sarff’ to see family and hosting our New Year’s Eve shenanigans; I have been baking and cooking but not logging it on here…same on me I know!  Anyhoo, i’m back in the baking-saddle and ready to share some more tantalising delights with you.  What better way to start 2013 than with a savoury sensation….Mac ‘n’Cheese and BBQ Baked Beans…hold your drooling peeps this ones a belter!!!

Delicious ingredients…ASSEMBLE!!!! – Vegas mug optional!

These side orders were cooked by my fair hands (not the usual Sir Savoury Tiki G!) and were put together for our New Year’s Eve party where Tiki G’s Pulled Pork was the main feature along with our very talented friend Chris’, fried chicken, coleslaw and corn bread!  Unfortunately if you want his recipes you’ll have to befriend him, buy him beer, knock him out cold and find some kind of memory extracting device :)

The BBQ Baked Beans were made the night before and were tweaked from the BBQ Pit Boys recipe…with extra bacon (naturally) and substituting the molasses with black treacle.  The Mac ‘n’ Cheese I cooked with my mate Ollie (avid whisker) about 4hrs beforehand and then it was warmed through with a little milk prior to serving.  The beans tasted sensational reheated and the flavours were heightened.  The Mac ‘n’ Cheese was stringy, gooey and even though best served straight away from cooking, was just as delicious heated up.

Most importantly we have two American friends who’s feedback included that both dishes taste like authentic american versions…SCORE!!!!!

Ingredients:

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

  • 1lb macaroni pasta
  • 2 cans of evaporated milk
  • 1lb of grated cheese (I used full flavour Sainsbury’s own make – you want it rubbery)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 mozzarella ball chopped small
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1tsp salt

BBQ Baked Beans

  • 3 cans of cannellini beans
  • 7 rashers of streaky bacon chopped
  • 1/4 up maple syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar but light will be fine)
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup black treacle
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 4tbsp mustard powder made up with 2tbsp water
  • 2tsp cracked black pepper

Method – BBQ Baked Beans  

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a big pan.

Throw it all in a big pan…

  • Stir it all together and turn on the hob heat to medium until it starts to boil.  Turn down to a simmer and leave for an hour with the lid on

Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on…

  • After the hour is up, turn the oven on to 150 degrees and place the beans in a lidded dish.  Pop these in the oven for another hour.
  • At this point you can either serve the beans piping hot or allow them to cool before refrigerating overnight.
  • To warm them through put them in an oven at 180 degrees for 30 mins and stir through.

Method – Mac ‘n’ Cheese

  • Boil the macaroni in a large pan with boiling water, by the pack instructions.  However you do not want the pasta plump and thoroughly cooked, it needs to be al dente.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese ingredients…a.k.a. Copious amounts of cheese!

  • Drain the pasta and pour on to a baking sheet to prevent the macaroni from sticking…leave to cool whilst you prepare the sauce.

Cool that macaroni!

  • Apologies but there are no more pictures from this point as the sauce became a 2 person job… important note…use a LARGE  saucepan and a good whisk and a minion to whisk for you…or a very good mate :)
  • Microwave the chicken stock and the 2 cans of evaporate milk in a pyrex jug or similar, for roughly 3 minutes..this will make it hot and steamy but not boiling.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and then whisk in the flour.
  • Gradually add the hot milk and stock mixture, ensuring you do not stop whisking.
  • Keep whisking until its thick and starting to bubble.
  • Now whisk in the dijon mustard, the parmesan and the black pepper.
  • Turn off the heat, remove the pan and gradually start to add the grated cheddar.
  • The mixture will now be stringy and gooey…this is GOOD!!!
  • Trade your whisk for a wooden spoon and add the macaroni.  Stir everything together until fully combined.
  • At this point yo can either warm the pan through on a very low heat until ready to serve or allow to cool and reheat later with a little milk to help loosen the mix.
  • This does set solid so don’t panic when you need to reheat it…it melts back down beautifully.

Enjoy both dishes with a hearty main meal, even if no pulled pork these would go brilliantly with sausages, pie or perhaps a steak?!

Give them a go and let me know how yours turns out…for those bacon fiends you may wish to add bacon to your mac ‘n’ cheese too :)  Stay tuned for my USA inspired Pecan, Maple and Bacon Cupcakes over the next few days.

Much New Year Love

ZoBird xxx

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