It never ceases to amaze us just how much food we cook and eat all the time can be so much better when you add a splash of whisky. From seafood, cakes, and sauces, it’s one versatile condiment!
Today, we’re bringing whisky to one of those all-time classic winter comfort food recipes — mac and cheese! But not only are we giving it the whisky twist it deserves; we’re taking it to the next level and adding whisky candied bacon on top. Epic.
Use whatever sort of whisky you feel like, but we figure you might as well pay tribute to some of the internet’s finest chefs and use some good old Jack Daniel’s. As a bonus, you won’t be breaking the bank and using up your good single malts!
This recipe’s super easy, and you should get around 6 servings — enough to feed the tribe or save some for later.
So, let’s get cooking!
Whisky Candied Bacon:
10 slices bacon
1/2 cup whisk(e)y of your choice
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mac and Cheese:
450 grams macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of whisk(e)y of your choice
2 cups milk
3 cups medium or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 slices provolone cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
First up, get the whisky candied bacon underway.
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bring half a cup of whisk(e)y to the boil, and then take it down to a medium heat. Simmer it until it reduces down to 2 tablespoons and then take it off the heat.
- Combine the sugar and cayenne and spread on a plate.
- Dip the bacon into the whisky, and then press each side down firmly in the sugar/cayenne mixture, giving a good coat to each side.
- Line up the bacon on your baking tray.
- Bake on one side for 7 minutes and then flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes. But keep an eye on it — you don’t want the bacon to burn.
- Put the bacon on a plate and allow it to cool off. Then chop it up into small pieces and put it aside.
And now, on to the Mac and Cheese.
- Bring some water to the boil in a large pot. Add the macaroni and cook until it’s al dente. Drain the pasta and then set it aside.
- While the pasta is boiling, melt some butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in the flour and whisk to combine until you’ve got a roux.
- Add in the tablespoon of whisky and whisk that in.
- Whisk the milk through the roux and continue until the sauce begins to thicken and bubble.
- Add in the cheese and keep whisking until the cheese melts through the sauce.
- Add the paprika, salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and add most of the bacon. Keep stirring to make sure the pasta is completely covered in the sauce. Add in more salt and pepper if you want to.
- Garnish with the remaining candied bacon.
Plate it up, pour a dram, jump on the couch with a cosy blanket and cushions, fire up Netflix, and enjoy a perfect winter’s Sunday night in!
We’ve adapted this recipe from Bread Booze and Bacon.
Image credit: Bread Booze and Bacon.