Food & Drink Magazine

Bajan Macaroni Pie

By Helenaberthon @hberthon
Sun, sea and sand

Sun, sea and sand

Pearly white sands, disco-glittering turquoise sea, sighing palm trees swaying casually in the light tropical breeze.  Barbados.  Ten glorious care-free days never went by so quickly.

The return to cooler climes pushes the holiday memories further and further away; the sundown Pina Colada at Bombas on the beach, the ubiquitous rum punch that knocks the foreigners for six, the Bajan beats, the cocky monkeys, parading through the garden, bums swinging high, on the hunt for fallen mangoes.  It all seems like a sultry summer dream.

Sunset at Bombas

Sunset at Bombas

Food in Barbados is hugely varied – from the haute-cuisine of the glitzy celeb restaurants to grilled fish and mac pie on the side of the road; it’s an eclectic mix.  One of the most memorable gastronomic experiences of the whole holiday was the Friday Fish Fry at the south-coast fishing town, Oistins.  This meal was up there with the best…and that’s not just the rum punch talking. Oistins is a grilling frenzy of Bajan spiced fish and barbecue – packed full of locals and tourists alike, it’s a vibrant, energetic, booty-shaking party that goes on into the night.  So many stalls, all grilling fish, all smacking you around the head with blissful wafts of barbecue spice – it’s a heady sensation, and one that leaves the mind delirious, unable to choose a stall, as the tummy leads the way in greed.  Luckily, we had it on good authority that Uncle George’s was the place to go.  All hail the grill master Uncle George for the most incredible fish in town.  Your pick of just-off-the-boat fresh fish – dolphin (no silly, it’s not actually dolphin), barracuda, marlin, shrimp, lobster, all grilled to juicy perfection after sitting in a zippy Bajan marinade.  Slap on a side of creamy mac pie, rice and peas, a generous pool of tartare sauce and a crunchy salad and you may just have the best fishy encounter of your life.

Friday night at Oistins

Friday night at Oistins

From the beginning to the end of the holiday, an almost daily occurrence was Bajan Macaroni Pie.  It’s addictive and delicious, oozy with cheese, with a crisp golden shell that yields to a creamy gooey middle.  Yet…yet… Hitting 30°C in the middle of the day, is it really necessary to pile into one of the heaviest, richest pasta dishes, with heart-stopping amounts of cheese, and tubes of sauce-filled macaroni?  Is it worth it to spend the entire afternoon in a mac pie-induced delirium, snoozing fitfully in the sun like a blubber-coated walrus?  Yes it bloody well is.  Enjoy the food coma, my friends.

Bajan delights: Macaroni Pie, Fine-dining at Tides, Grilled fish meal at Oistins

Bajan delights: Macaroni Pie, Fine-dining at Tides, Grilled fish meal at Oistins

Bajan Macaroni Pie

(Serves 8, or 3 very greedy mouths)

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 800g macaroni pasta
  • 110g  butter (1 stick)
  • 110g flour
  • Milk
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mustard
  • Bajan Hot Pepper sauce
  • Cheddar cheese (copious amounts)
  • 3 eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
Turn the oven on to 180°C.  Put the onions into a pan and cook until translucent but not browned.Meanwhile, make the pasta.  In a large pan of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni until it’s al dente, approximately 7 minutes.  Drain and then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.In the same pan, make a roux – melt the butter, add the flour and cook out for a few minutes until it turns golden.  Add milk gradually until you get smooth thick sauce and then cook  for 3-4 minutes.Add a good amount of ketchup to the sauce, and then mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste.  Add lots of grated cheese, and then add the pasta to the sauce and mix well.  Mix in 3 beaten eggs.  Season well.Pour the pasta and sauce mixture out into a large baking dish, top with more grated cheese and breadcrumbs.Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.  Leave to cool for 20-25 minutes before serving.

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