It took me a fair few attempts but I finally got my recipe as I wanted it for my kedgeree – mac ‘n cheese hybrid which I have named mac ‘n’ kedgereese! As these are two of my favourite weekday night comfort foods it made sense to me to merge them together and, even if I do say so myself I am very pleased with my final result!
The attempts which preceded my final recipe which iv posted below were a mixed bag of too runny, too much mustard, too much spice, breadcrumbs not crunchy enough etc etc.
I think my final version (which only I have actually tried but will be cooking for Elix and anyone else who fancies some soon…..) benefits from a warming kick of spice, silky and creamy cheese sauce which goes perfectly with the smokey fish and the crunch of toasted breadcrumbs on top with the mandatory runny poached egg.
Boil up some macaroni in a sauce pan. Poach a fillet of smoked fish in some milk with a bay leaf, pepper, ground cumin, turmeric and chilli powder. I usually use about a teaspoon of each as I prefer these dishes to have more depth of flavour and more spice – especially as the cheese which comes later eats into the effectiveness of any spice you add – so whilst these quantities can be altered to personal taste mine and Elix’s mantra is “the more spice the better!”. For my final recipe I used smoked river cobbler which worked well as it retained its structure well after cooking so when eating the dish I had good chunks of fish to eat. I have found with smoked cod and haddock that the fish tends to flake into meltingly soft pieces and can sometimes get lost and add little texturly but obviously the taste is very similar. The paoching of fish should take 5 minutes or so, when cooked remove the fish from the liquid (which should be a sunshine yellow colour) and save.
Meanwhile -make the cheese sauce – I melt a 30g chunk of butter in a pan and then sprinkle flour (approx 4 tbsp) and whisk until a silky, smooth, thick roux has formed. Gradually add the spiced milk poaching liquid, continuing to whisk so as to avoid lumps forming – dont let the mixture get too runny – i found that the right thickness looks similar to a batter. I then added a teaspoon of mustard and a handful of grated mature cheddar and stirred until all absorbed. Flake the smoked fish and add this in also. The mixture should be quite thick in texture so that it bakes well with the macaroni and isnt too runny. Season to taste (I added extra pepper at this point).
After 10 minutes the macaroni should be cooked by this point – always good for macaroni to stay on the al dente side. Add the little pasta tubes into the cheesy, spiced fish mix and stir to combine.
I then pop into an oven proof dish and cover with breadcrumbs (brown work best) and some grated parmesan. Put under the grill for 5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are toasted and crunchy.
As the mac ‘n’ kedgereese is under the grill, poach the egg – I find a dash of white wine vinegar and boiling water work best – should take 3-4 minutes as we want the yolk to stay runny but the white to be cooked through.
Once the mac ‘n’ kedgereese is toasty and piping hot, pop the egg on top and enjoy!!