Carbs, for better or worse, make up a significant part of the Bahamian diet. At a traditional island meal, it’s not unusual to have dinner rolls, peas and rice, potato salad and macaroni and cheese.
No, I’m not talking about the neon orange Kraft stuff. Bahamian macaroni and cheese is a rich, creamy, cheesy casserole that can be served hot or cold. It’s real island comfort food.
Every Bahamian cook makes this dish a little differently, but here’s the recipe our family uses:
BAHAMIAN MACARONI AND CHEESE
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2½ cups milk
2 cups shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese
2½ cups uncooked macaroni
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup finely diced green pepper
Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
In a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat. Blend in flour, salt and mustard. Whisk in milk. Heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly and is smooth. Add 1½ cups of cheese. Heat until melted, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook macaroni as directed and drain. Combine with sauce. Stir in diced onion and green pepper. If desired, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese and paprika on top.
Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting. Makes 6-8 servings.