Jo Pratt’s smoked haddock mac and cheese

This has to be one of the best comfort foods imaginable. Classic mac ’n’ cheese is hard to beat, but with the addition of rich, smoky haddock flaked through the sauce it’s off the scale!

smoked haddock mac and cheese
Susan Low

SERVES 4

250g dried macaroni pasta
350g smoked haddock, skinned
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
500ml milk
50g butter
25g plain flour
150g oz grated Emmental cheese
1 tsp English mustard
2 tbsp chopped chives
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

2.  Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 10 minutes, and drain. Toss in a little oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

3. Put the smoked haddock in a saucepan and add the onion, bay leaf, milk and a good twist of black pepper. Put over a medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift the haddock out of the milk, and break into chunky flakes, retaining the milk.

4. In a separate large pan, melt the butter. When it’s bubbling, stir in the flour. Stir for about 30 seconds, then pour in the oniony milk from cooking the smoked haddock. Using a balloon whisk, mix together until it comes to the boil and you have a loose sauce consistency. Stir in half of the cheese, and stir well until it’s melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the macaroni, mustard and chives. Fold through the smoked haddock and transfer to a large ovenproof dish.

5. Scatter over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

TIP This can easily be transformed into a classic mac ’n’ cheese, without using the smoked haddock. Saute the onion and bay leaf in the butter until the onion is soft. Stir in the flour then add the milk, bringing the sauce to the boil. Increase the quantity of cheese to 300g/10½ oz. I like to mix things up a bit with a selection of cheeses such as Emmental, smoked Cheddar and Monterey Jack.

Recipe from The Flexible Pescatarian by Jo Pratt, RRP £20, White Lion Publishing