Winter is the perfect time to indulge in comforting and hearty dishes that warm both body and soul.
Classic Mac and Cheese is that nostalgic comfort dish which many of us remember growing up with, and remains a universally loved comfort food to this day.
For this recipe, we thought we would add a meaty twist to this classic fave (of course!) to create an elevated Beef Jerky Mac and Cheese. This dish is a rich and creamy classic, with the beef jerky adding a delicious depth of flavour.
Continue reading to learn how to make this delicious creation at home.
Gather your ingredients
When it comes to creating an unforgettable Mac and Cheese, the quality of ingredients is super important. That goes from choosing high quality pasta to premium cheeses. They may cost a few dollars more, but in this case, you will taste the difference. Our recipe uses cheddar and mozzarella, but you can swap these out depending on your taste preferences. You could also opt for a sharp parmesan, a smoked gouda or a creamy havarti, each which will add their own unique flavour profile to the dish.
Top tip: Combine multiple high quality cheeses to take this dish to the next level.
When it comes to the beef jerky component, we won’t lie, we firmly believe that our beef jerky is the best and here's why. At The Jerky Co, we pride ourselves on using only the finest MSA-grade Australian beef. Our meticulous process begins with marinating and seasoning the beef, followed by careful air drying and sealing to ensure freshness. We believe that using premium quality cuts of topside beef is the key to crafting the most satisfying and highest quality beef jerky on the market.
Choosing the right beef jerky flavour
Selecting the right flavour of beef jerky is key to harmonising with the Mac and Cheese. We offer an array of flavours to suit every palate. For those who enjoy delicate smokey flavours, try our Smokey Jerky. If you prefer a fiery twist, our Chilli Jerky will add a delicious hit of heat to the dish. Of course, there's always the option to go for the classic Traditional Jerky for a timeless pairing. The choice is yours, and each variety brings a unique flavour to the dish. But if you want to know our current favourite - we think the indulgent Exotic Truffle Jerky goes perfectly with this recipe.
Recipe - Mac and Cheese (Serves 2-3)
Now, let's dive into it – the Mac and Cheese recipe that will have you reaching for seconds.
Follow these simple steps to create this cheesy masterpiece:
Gather the following ingredients:
- 225g elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for about 2 minutes to break up lumps, and until it forms a smooth paste.
Gradually and slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue cooking over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: If you like a bit of heat, you can add in ½ teaspoon of dried chilli flakes at this step.
In a large pot, add the drained cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, stirring until well coated. Remove from heat.
This basic Mac and Cheese recipe serves as a canvas for the star of our dish – the beef jerky. But before we dive into the next step, feel free to explore variations such as gluten-free or vegan options to suit your dietary preferences.
Incorporating beef jerky
Now comes the exciting part – incorporating the beef jerky!
Select your desired amount of beef jerky, depending on your preference for texture and flavour intensity. For a more prominent jerky presence, you can opt for larger chunks or slices. If you prefer a more subtle hint of jerky, finely chop or grind it up.
Prepare the beef jerky by cutting it into bite-sized pieces or thin strips. This will ensure that every bite of your Mac and Cheese is perfectly balanced with tender jerky goodness.
Gently fold the beef jerky into the Mac and Cheese mixture, distributing it evenly throughout. The jerky will infuse the dish with its distinctive flavours and provide delicious bursts of savoury goodness. Distribute into bowls, and serve!
By incorporating beef jerky into your Mac and Cheese, you're not only adding an extra hit of flavour to cut through the creamy sauce, but also boosting the protein content of your dish. You can also choose to crumble some extra beef jerky on top to finish off the dish.
Serving suggestions and pairings
To elevate the experience of indulging in this delicious creation, think about complimentary side dishes, condiments and beverages. Here are a few ideas:
- Pair your Mac and Cheese with a fresh green salad with a zesty dressing. The freshness of the salad goes perfectly with the richness of the Mac and Cheese.
- Serve the dish alongside a glass of red wine (we recommend a light fruity Pinot Noir!), or a crisp beer, such as an IPA or Pale Ale.
- Add a touch of complexity by drizzling a smokey barbecue sauce over the Mac and Cheese. The combination of savoury jerky, creamy cheese, and a hint of smokiness will pair deliciously together. You could also opt for chilli jam or a chutney to cut through the creaminess of the dish.
Shop the highest quality beef jerky from The Jerky Co!
Winter is the perfect time to experiment with comforting dishes that bring joy to your soul and your taste buds. This recipe takes a nostalgic, classic dish and elevates it to new heights, that will certainly leave your friends and family asking for seconds. We promise, this culinary creation is guaranteed to satisfy any cravings for a hearty winter dish.
So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stovetop, and let your creativity shine! Don't be afraid to experiment, customise, and make it your own.