Deep-fried mac, cheese ’n bacon balls

Deep-fried mac, cheese ’n bacon balls

Just when you thought it doesn’t get any better than good ol’ mac ’n cheese, along comes this oh-so gratifying remix! For a vegetarian version, simply omit the bacon

Recipe and Styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube

Photograph by Dylan Swart

Deep-fried mac, cheese ’n bacon balls

Serves: +/- 65

Ingredients

  • 500g macaroni pasta
  • 60g butter
  • 3 tbsp cake flour
  • 375ml (1½ cups) milk
  • 300g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 100g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp peri-peri sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 handful fresh chives, chopped + extra, to serve
  • 200g shoulder bacon, finely chopped and fried
  • 100g panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • canola oil, to deep-fry
  • pretzel sticks, to serve (optional)

Instructions

1

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until slightly overcooked and almost breaking apart – this is important for ease of rolling into balls later. Drain and set aside until needed.

2

Using the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the milk to make a roux and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened, 2 – 3 minutes.

3

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, mustard powder and peri-peri sauce. Season, to taste. Mix until the cheeses are fully melted, then stir in the cooked pasta, chopped chives and fried bacon bits. Transfer to a dish to cool at room temperature. Cover with cling film and refrigerate, about 2 hours or overnight.

4

Using 2 shallow bowls, place the breadcrumbs in one bowl. Beat the eggs in the second bowl. Take the macaroni, cheese and bacon mixture out of the fridge, scoop out about 1 tbsp of the mixture and shape into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Dip into the beaten egg, making sure to coat the ball completely, and then dip in the breadcrumbs, ensuring the ball is coated all around. Set aside in a large shallow dish and repeat this step until you have finished all the balls. Place the dish in the fridge while you heat the oil.

5

In a deep fat fryer or large, deep pot, heat the oil to 180˚C. Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the oil if using a pot. Remove the balls from the fridge and place only a few at time in the oil to fry, 1 – 2 minutes, rotating them while they cook. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain excess oil.

6

Serve the mac, cheese ’n bacon balls warm, garnished with the extra chopped chives and with pretzel sticks inserted in them like lollipops, if desired.

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