This chunky brownish pickle is almost completely foreign to the American palate. I had never tasted anything like it in my life, and if you’ve ever had it you can only imagine the face I made after putting a spoonful in my mouth.
It’s called Branston Sweet Pickle, but it has a definite vinegar tang. The ingredient list made my family’s collective jaws drop: Carrots, Rutabaga, Onions, Cauliflower, Marrows, Gherkins, Sugar, Malt Vinegar, Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Chopped Dates, Apples, Modified Maize Starch, Tomato Paste, Colour, Spices, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Onion Powder, Garlic Extract. Whew! That’s a mouthful.
I eventually got used to the lively concoction, but I wondered what on earth one could do with it. Do you eat it straight from the jar? Spread it on crackers? Bake with it? I’ve discovered quite a few brilliant recipes since then, and I thought I would share them with you, just in case you’re in a pickle.
The one thing I’ve tried so far is the cheese and pickle sandwich. You may be skeptical, but England invented the sandwich, right? So who could be better qualified to determine what makes a good one? The “cheese and pickle” is a pub grub mainstay. A quick and easy meal with vibrant flavors, this sandwich may be a bit off-putting at first, but I can attest to its addictive nature.
Classic Cheese and Pickle Sandwich
- White bread
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese (preferably English)
- Branston Pickle
- Cut your cheddar into thick wedges and completely cover one slice of bread.
- Smear the other piece of bread with generous spoonfuls of pickle. Branston also makes a more easily spreadable sandwich version with smaller chunks.
- If you’re not interested in being traditional, you might add slices of ham and tomato at this point. But don’t even talk to me about mayonnaise.
|Ham ploughman’s for lunch at Prince Hall Hotel, Dartmoor, Devon,
a photo by www.heatheronhertravels.com/
Top 20 Uses for Branston Pickle:
- A Ploughman’s Lunch is a cold meal usually consisting of bread and cheese, a salad, maybe some hard boiled eggs, and something pickled. Eat a few spoonfuls of your Branston Pickle along with this lovely picnic spread.
- Use it instead of sweet pickle relish in deviled eggs.
- Use it as a veggie dip.
- Spice up shepherd’s pie.
- Put a twist on homemade sausage rolls (these are great eaten cold and could be packed as a school or workday lunch).
- If you’re up for a flavor challenge, try it in tuna salad.
- Use Branston Pickle in a cold sausage sarnie, with lashings of sharp English mustard.
- Heat things up with a toasted sandwich, melting the cheese on top of crispy toast.
- Put it on pizza! It’s been done before.
- Mix a spoonful or two into your favorite meatloaf recipe.
- Add a kick to hearty meat stew.
- Put it in coleslaw to accompany a plate of fish and chips. Try mixing cabbage, malt vinegar, dark brown sugar, stoneground mustard, Branston Pickle, and a touch of molasses, then let it marinate overnight.
- Whip up a Corned Beef and Branston Scone (better than it sounds, I’m sure).
- Jazz up your pickle sandwich with roast beef and melted blue cheese.
- Make tartar sauce with Branston Pickle and mayonnaise.
- Mix it with sour cream for a cracker or chip dip.
- Slather it over your baked potatoes and butter.
- Make a healthy wrap with pickle, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, chicken, and peppers in a tortilla.
- Try something new with a Chicken and Branston Stir-Fry.
- Use the jar as a flower vase!
|The Bride’s Posy in a Pickle Jar, a photo by lorraineemmans on Flickr.|
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