Pigs in blankets macaroni cheese – classic comfort food with a festive twist!
When I posted a picture of this macaroni cheeese on Instagram yesterday it caused a bit of a stir. It seems that everyone else loves pigs in blankets and macaroni cheese just as much as I do!
But what are pigs in blankets?
If you aren’t from the UK, you might not be familiar with pigs in blankets. They are little sausages wrapped in bacon and as you can imagine, they are pretty darn amazing. They are the highlight of Christmas dinner for many people.
The inspiration for this recipe came to me when I was Christmas shopping last week. I was in a certain very well known cafe and one of their festive specials with macaroni cheese with pigs in blankets. I didn’t order it but I thought this was a fabulous idea and I immediately decided that I had to come up with my own version.
Whenever I’m cooking, I’ll often decide to throw ingredients in at the last minute depending on what needs using up in the cupboard.
I had half a stale baguette and a packet of fresh sage in the fridge so I whizzed up the baguette into coarse crumbs, chopped up some sage and cooked in melted butter until the breadcrumbs were crunchy and golden. The result left me wondering why I don’t add a breadcrumb topping to my macaroni more often – the crunch adds a lovely contract to the creamy, rich cheese sauce.
My fussy teens loved this recipe and thought combining pigs in blankets with macaroni cheese a genius move. I certainly can’t claim this idea as my own – but don’t tell them, ok?? The older they get the harder it gets to impress them!
Everyone in my house declared this a huge hit and I can’t wait to make it again soon. It would be a great recipe to make in those flat days between Christmas and New Year. Eat while curled up on the couch with watching your favourite Christmas movie. Mine is Home Alone, closely followed by Elf. What’s your favourite?
If you give this recipe a try over the festive season, don’t forget to take a photo and tag me on Instagram or Facebook! I would LOVE to see your take on it!
If you are looking for something else to serve alongside this macaroni, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than my orange marmalade glazed ham. The sweet-saltiness of the pink ham goes so well with the creamy pasta. And if you want to serve some veg alongside, my honey mustard roasted parsnips and carrots would do the job very well.
And for pudding?
I’ve linked this recipe up to #CookblogShare, the weekly blog link up hosted this week by Eb of Easy Peasy Food.
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Pigs in blankets macaroni cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 400 g macaroni
For the sauce:
- 50 g butter
- 25 g plain flour
- 1 1 1/2 litres milk
- 1 tsp mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 250 g mature cheddar cheese, plus extra for sprinkling over the top
- 10-12 pigs in blankets add as many as you like/can possibly fit in - the more the merrier, I say!
For the breadcrumb topping
- 50 g butter
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- Half a stale baguette, whizzed in a food processor until you have large crumbs (you could also use panko breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- Preheat the oven and cook the pigs in blankets according to the packet instructions.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions. Drain well and set aside while you make the sauce.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the roux for a minute or two, then remove from the heat. Switching to a hand whisk, slowly add the milk, whisking well after each addition.
- When all the milk has been added, place back on the hob and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. When the sauce has thickened, add the mustard, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring quickly until melted and smooth.
- FOR THE BREADCRUMB TOPPING:
- Melt the 50g butter and olive oil in a small saucepan. Tip in the breadcrumbs and chopped sage and fry for about 5 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Take care not to overcook, it can burn very quickly. Remove from the heat and season with a little salt and pepper.
- When everything is ready, combine the sauce with the macaroni and cooked onion and transfer to a heatproof dish.Place the pigs in blankets in the macaroni, letting them peek out a little. Scatter over the crunchy breadcrumbs, top with some grated cheese and brown under a hot grill for about 5 minutes.