When Smith & Daughters’ Shannon Martinez was growing up, Disney meant eating in front of the television.
“Every other night of the week we had to eat at the table,” she explains, “but on Sundays – I’m showing my age now – The Wonderful World of Disney was on, and I was allowed to eat my dinner in front of the TV on the stable table.”
When Broadsheet and Disney threw a nostalgic Wonderful World of Disney party in April, Martinez was tasked with creating a themed menu. She opted for a twist on the traditional American TV dinner.
“I found these amazing metal trays that looked heaps like old-fashioned TV dinner trays,” she says. “We wanted to replicate some Australian-themed food around that, which is how the rissole sandwich came about.”
The TV dinner involved a vegan rissole sandwich (“You can’t not like a rissole sandwich, c’mon.”) served with mashed potato and gravy with peas. “We made the peas out of pea and mint soup and then set them into spheres so when you ate them they burst into liquid,” Martinez says. “Normally I don’t cook food like that, but for Disney it’s good to pull up some of the fun stuff.”
Maybe not as flashy, but definitely as delicious (and easy to recreate at home) is her recipe for traditional macaroni and cheese. “Mac’n’cheese is so synonymous with Americana, and Disney is the pinnacle of America,” she says. “I just connected to that vibe to get cheesy pasta deep-fried – you can’t go wrong with that!”
Recipe: Deep-Fried Mac’n’Cheese
Serves: 20-40 depending on serving size
1 onion, diced
2 cups potato, peeled and diced
½ cup carrot, peeled and diced
2 tsp salt
2 cups water
3 cups vegan shredded cheese (we use half cheddar, half parmesan)
½ cup vegan butter
½ cup cashews, soaked
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sweet paprika
4 tbsp nut yeast
2 cups of soy milk, ⅔ cup soy milk set aside for the sauce, the remainder for the crumbing
¼–½ cup pickled jalapeños, diced
1 box dried macaroni or tubetti pasta, cooked in salted water following instructions on the box, reducing cooking time by 2 min.
1 cup flour
A splash of apple cider vinegar to mix with soy for crumbing
2 cups panko crumbs
2-3 cups vegetable oil (enough to cover base of pot and multiple cubes of mac’n’cheese)
Boil the onion, potato and carrot with the salt in water until very soft and mushy.
Drain the boiled vegetables and add and the remaining ingredients (except for the jalapeño) to a blender and blend until very smooth.
Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and stir through the jalapeños. Cook over a low heat until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and pour over enough sauce to heavily coat.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and add the mac’n’cheese. Press another piece of greaseproof paper over the top and smooth out. Place the tray in the freezer and allow to cool and firm up enough so it can be cut into pieces.
Set up a crumbing station: one bowl with flour, one bowl with soy milk with a splash of apple cider vinegar to thicken (this acts as the egg wash), and the last bowl with panko breadcrumbs. Take a piece of the set mac’n’cheese, coat it in the flour, then the soy mix, then the breadcrumbs. Continue this process until you have as much as you need.
Heat a large pot with vegetable oil (enough to cover all the mac’n’cheese pieces) to around 160°C. Test heat with a piece of bread – it should float. Carefully lower in the pieces of mac’n’cheese, working in batches of 5–6 at a time. Fry until golden, then drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with flaked salt and eat on the couch while watching your favourite Disney movie.
This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Disney.