There will inevitably be some non-believer who’s sceptical about this one, and honestly, I am not even going to bother with you. Just make yourself a cup of green tea and move along to the next page. As all intelligent readers attuned to the finer points of enjoying life will know, if you can top meat with meat, as with a bacon burger; if you can top ice cream with cream, on a sundae; if you can top vodka with gin for a Martini, and if you can top chocolate cake with chocolate icing, then, my friends, you can definitely fill a braaibroodjie with macaroni and cheese pasta and top it off with cheese. And, you heretic who’s still reading here, I told you to skip to the next page. How can you put tomatoes on your mixed leaves and top that with micro herbs? And how can you add soya milk to tea? The Macaroni and Cheese Braaibroodjie is glorious and needs to be experienced!
- 12 bread slices
- 250 g macaroni pasta
- 3 litres salted water
- 1 tot white bread or cake flour
- 1 cup milk
- 240 g mature Cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 packet (250g) streaky bacon
- In a big enough potjie over a hot fire, bring 3 litres of water with about half a tot of salt to boiling point. Add all of the macaroni to the bubbling water and cook for exactly 7 minutes. The noodles will still be slightly undercooked, but they will continue cooking later when baking in the sauce. Drain off all water immediately.
- Return the empty potjie to the fire (not too hot), then add 1 tot of butter and wait until it melts. Add 1 tot of flour and stir for about 1 minute. Now add the milk bit by bit, stirring continuously. You will notice how the butter-and-flour mixture first grows and absorbs all the milk you add, and how this thick paste then starts turning into a sauce as you add more and more milk. If you add the milk too quickly, lumps will form. If at any time you notice lumps forming, first stir them vigorously into the rest of the mixture before adding more milk.
- When all the milk is in, bring the sauce to a slow simmer and add half of the cheese, as well as all the mustard, salt and pepper, and stir well.
- Now add the cooked macaroni to the sauce, stir to coat the pasta well, then remove the potjie from the fire and cover with a lid until you assemble the braaibroodjie.
- Braai the bacon in your hinged grid, as this is by far the best way to get bacon cooked.
- Build the braaibroodjies: Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread (these sides will be outward-facing in the assembled braaibroodjie). Pack half these slices buttered-side down and layer with the macaroni mixture, then bacon and the rest of the cheese. Close the braaibroodjies with the remaining bread slices, buttered sides facing upwards.
- ‘Braaibroodjies is draaibroodjies’. Braaibroodjies should be turned often and are braaied in a closed, hinged grid. If you don’t have one, buy one – preferably with adjustable heights to compress each unit perfectly. You want medium-paced, gentle heat and the grid should be relatively high. Your aim is for the cheese to be melted and all other fillings to be completely heated by the time the outsides are golden brown. Slightly opening and closing your hinged grid a few times after the first few turns of the braai process helps the braaibroodjies not to get stuck to the grid.
- Once done, slice each braaibroodjie in half. Generally, I believe that the correct way to slice braaibroodjies is diagonally and the correct time to serve is immediately.
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