For my friend Sarah's (count her among my four or maybe six readers) birthday, I made a dish that I had seen on Paula Deen's cooking show. Although I am not one of her regular viewers, I do appreciate Paula's total lack of fussiness and snobbery, as evidenced particularly in her use of a can of Cream of Mushroom soup in at least half of her entrees. Also, I happen to have a bizarre on-again/off-again love affair with Savannah, Georgia -- Paula's home base -- which may have something to do with why she's so appealing in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. The guilt, this time, and the pleasure, came in the form of deep-fried, bacon-wrapped macaroni and cheese. Because it's not enough to just deep fry mac 'n' cheese -- gotta add some nitrates, too! Anyway, my slightly modified version is worth posting, if only for thrills. Definitely a conversation piece anywhere. Happy Birthday, Sarah!
Recipe: Hurt So Good (Deep-Fried, Bacon-Wrapped Macaroni and Cheese)
[You could just make the mac and cheese and call it a high-calorie day. But if you really want to take five years off your life, continue all the way through.]
Serves 8 people with fairly normal eating habits or 3 Montgomery County cops.
3 C macaroni
1.5 C grated cheddar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C sour cream
4 T butter, cut into pieces
1 C milk
1 lb. bacon
flour for deep frying
2 or 3 eggs, beaten (may be substituted with 1/2 to 1 C milk)
plain bread crumbs for deep frying
peanut oil for deep frying (may also use vegetable oil, though results will not be as crispy nor as sinful)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil macaroni according to directions. While macaroni is boiling, stir together eggs, sour cream, butter, and milk. Do not worry about butter mixing in perfectly; it's in there for flavor. Drain macaroni and, while still hot, add cheddar. Stir in egg mixture. Spread macaroni with egg mixture into 13" x 9" baking dish and bake 30-45 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Refrigerate at least a few hours or until chilled. Heat oil in deep pan (I used a stockpot -- frying pans never work for deep frying). Cut chilled mac and cheese into 3- or 4-inch squares. Wrap each square in one strip of bacon, securing with a toothpick. Roll bacon-wrapped squares in flour, then dip completely in egg (or milk), and roll in breadcrumbs. Test the oil to make sure it's hot enough by dropping in a tiny piece of the mac and cheese. If it immediately sizzles, you're good to go. Fry squares till dark golden brown (1-3 minutes, depending on heat of your stove). Eat cautiously.