Sometimes I get food obsessions into my head. I’ll think about them for ages and ages, and eventually I’ll stand up and scream ‘I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE! I HAVE TO MAKE THIS!’
And then I do.
One such obsession was pulled pork mac’n’cheese. The last-but-one time we made pulled pork, we talked about doing this with the leftovers, but then time and whatnot intervened and it didn’t happen. So then the LAST time we made pulled pork, I was like ‘Right, this lot is going in the freezer and then will be reborn as mac’n’cheese. Reborn!’ It ended up being a Friday night dinner, which was the perfect excuse to make it incredibly rich and decadent. This is not a healthy dinner, my friends. But it is incredible.
I based the recipe loosely on Lorraine Pascale’s, but there was a lot of cheese-based improvisation too. Here’s my take…
Leftover pulled pork (I always use this recipe, but it doesn’t really matter how much – we used enough to top my Le Creuset lasagne dish)
40g plain flour
Pinch ground nutmeg
285ml double cream
150g St Agur
100g Colliers (or any mature cheddar)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling water, for 8-10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s slightly undercooked – the pasta will be cooked again in the oven. Drain and set aside.
3. Put the butter, flour and nutmeg in a small pan over a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted. It should combine easily and form a thick paste, the colour of caramel.
4. In a jug, mix your milk and cream together with a spoon then add a little to the flour and butter in the pan, stirring well each time. Slowly does it here – adding it a bit at a time will stop the sauce going lumpy.
5. Once all the milk has been added, turn up the heat and boil for a couple of minutes. The sauce will thicken considerably, then remove the pan from the heat.
6. Grate the Gruyere and Cheddar, and chop up the St Agur, then add the St Agur to the sauce while it’s still hot and stir until well combined (don’t worry if it’s a little lumpy at this stage). Then add the Gruyere and half the cheddar.
7. At this point, your sauce will be pretty much the consistency of melted cheese, and it will taste like HEAVEN. Season if desired – we didn’t feel like it needed it.
8. In the pasta pan, or a large bowl if it’s not big enough, combine the pasta and the sauce and stir carefully until well coated.
Look at the cheese.
Look at it.
LOOK AT IT.
9. Transfer to individual large ramekins or a lasagne dish, then carefully spread the pulled pork over the top.
10. Drizzle a little BBQ sauce over the pulled pork, then sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining cheddar over the top, then breadcrumbs over that.
11. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, and eat immediately.
12. This is freezable – for the best ways to reheat, check here - as cream based sauces can separate and go oily.