I’m fresh off the plane from my trip to Australia, and the one thing that stuck out for me about the land down under, aside from the abundance of cute marsupials, is the fact that they LOVE pies. There were so many pie places, it was crazy. I think their official food might be meat pie. Pies and sausage rolls. They were sold everywhere: coffee shops, random street stands, and of course they had several dedicated pie only shops.
I was surprised because I never knew that pie was such a big food thing in Australia. And that kind of got me thinking: what weird food things are people surprised by when they visit North America. I mean, of course we have burgers, hot dogs and fries, but there are a bunch of speciality shops popping up that sell one thing and one thing only. In Vancouver we have a mac and cheese only specialty shop and I know they have one in New York City as well. And in fact, this recipe is inspired by just that type of restaurant: Homeroom, a restaurant in Oakland, California that serves only mac and cheese.
I’ve never been to Homeroom in Oakland, I love mac and cheese and I love shepherd’s pie, so when I saw this crazy mashup on BuzzFeed (I admit, I have a wee addiction to the time suck that is BuzzFeed), I though: GENIUS! It’s truly amazing: creamy, cheesy mac on top of savoury beef and vegetables. Mike and I polished off the entire dish in one sitting — we just kept going back for seconds, even after we were like, “okay, okay, last time.” I think you’ll be addicted to this too, give it a try!
Mac and Cheese Pie Recipe inspired by The Mac + Cheese Cookbook
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper
Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup macaroni
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a skillet, heat up a bit of oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until slightly softened. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add a bit more oil to the pan and cook the beef until deeply browned. Drain off excess fat, if needed. Stir in the onions, carrots, and frozen peas. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the beef mixture into a oven proof dish and set aside while making the macaroni and cheese.
Cook the macaroni according to the package, drain and set aside.
Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes, until smooth. Pour in half of the milk in a thin stream while whisking. When smooth, add the rest of the milk. Keep on medium heat and stir for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of cheddar. Add the drained macaroni and stir to coat. Top the beef and sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy warm.