Old English Potted Cheese

Old English Potted Cheese

I have good news today. See, some of you know I’ve been having some trouble with my joints; typing, while still slow and has to be done just a little at a time is easier and I’m trying to use the voice options on my computer. And cooking has been challenging, but I’m really trying to focus on fun & easy (and lightweight) food. And the best news? I made Old English Potted Cheese and it’s a super easy cheese spread and just to die for.

Old English Potted Cheese

Old English Potted Cheese


 

I have been wanting to make Old English Potted Cheese since I came across it on The Guardian and I gotta say I’m glad I took the plunge and “gotter done.” It might seem strange but what first drew me was the word “potted.” It’s just so quaint sounding and makes me think of ye olde English pub tucked away in a small village. Well, something potted is a spread, in this case, it’s a mixture of cheeses, and it’s going to be just as at home at your house as in a pub, perfect for just about any occasion from a romantic dinner (Valentine’s Day is coming up) to party to a game day.

About Old English Potted Cheese:

What we have here is a pretty amazing Cheese Spread that’s packed with flavor. And while there’s a whole host of English cheeses recommended (many are available at my larger grocery store) I made mine with white Cheddar. A little butter smooths everything out and then there are just a few little touches of spice, a little fortified wine (aka Sherry at my house) and the obligatory splash of Worcestershire.

This Potted Cheese is going to be great spread on crusty bread, crostini, crackers, or maybe served with slices of apple and/or pears. Actually, it will be great on just about anything you want to spread it on. It can be served as is or if you want, it can be toasted in the oven until melty and crusty and served warm.

There’s a lot of information out there about Potted Cheese, especially for something so simple as a bit of cheese whirred up in the food processor! People are passionate about it for good reason, beyond that it’s been traced back to the 18th century! It’s just so freakin’ fantastic! I chose to work off a traditional recipe from Jane Grigson, a renowned English cookbook author and consulted one of my fave blogs, British Food in America. If you’re a food nerd, that’s a fun read with lots of hints and variations and recommendations.

Old English Potted Cheese

Old English Potted Cheese

Making Old English Potted Cheese:

I already gave away the secret to making Old English Potted Cheese. Whir it in a food processor. Grate the cheese and then pulse into the smallest bits before you add the butter and the rest of the ingredients. Make sure the butter is at the right temperature. If your cat has been camped out on your kitchen floor register blocking all the heat (because it got down to 36 degrees below last week and she’s figured out how to stay warm) and you walk in to find your kitchen is frigid, pop your butter in the microwave for just seconds. The butter should bend but still hold its shape so it blends well. It shouldn’t be too warm, either, or it might seem a bit oily in the final product.

Today, I went absolutely classic; the only changes I made in the recipe was to use a Vermont white Cheddar and a little allspice instead of the mace; I don’t usually cook with mace so I don’t have it on hand, so I’m betting most people don’t. I’d def include the allspice, though – it’s like a little magical touch.

There are so many ways to vary the recipe. Different cheeses (and potted cheese is often made with bits of this and that, kind of like this recipe for Fromage Fort), different alcohols (some are suggested in the recipe) you could add just about anything you’d like. Wine, whiskey, bourbon, even beer as long as it will complement the cheese. Think about add-ins, like roasted garlic, caramelized onions or shallots. I even thought a smidge of horseradish or maybe a splash of hot sauce would be great in this and an herb or two can set it off. Maybe thyme, marjoram (there’s a touch of marjoram sprinkled on the cheese in my pics) or rosemary if you’re into it. Really, it’s hard to go wrong. And it has to be said because I’m an American: why not some bacon?!

Saving Money on Old English Potted Cheese:

You’re probably going to want a good cheese for this recipe, and there are several kinds of English cheese listed in the recipe if that’s in your budget. I kind of splurged on a Vermont Cheddar and the flavor of the spread is incredible. It wasn’t cheap but it was worth every penny. It also came out to be a lot less than any old grocery store prepackaged carton of Kaukauna (and made more) or a purchased cheeseball. I’m justifying, I know. And when Kraig (my son) was by, raiding the fridge, I gave him a dire warning not to touch that cheese! He’d eat cheese by the block when he was a kid and still will!

I picked my cheese up at Costco, and my final price for the cup and a half or so of my Old English Potted Cheese was around $5.50 so it’s not like this is an outrageous price for an appetizer. If the price is not an object go as fancy as you’d like and just so ya know, even a grocery store Cheddar (shop well, buy it on sale; it’s always on special so stock up) will be fantastic once it has a bit of Sherry or other alcohol of choice and the spices dumped in. If you want your Potted cheese to go further at a party, spread it on crostini or toast or crackers on trays ahead rather than putting it out for everyone to help themselves.

Just like Fromage Fort, Old English Potted Cheese can be made with bits and pieces of whatever you have hanging out in the fridge. Hard cheese, soft cheese (you may need a bit less butter if you use mostly soft) or anything in between is gonna be great. We Americans tend to like a little cream cheese in our spreads – that is one “cheese” that’s going to dull the flavors so resist the impulse.

As Jane Grigson said (quoted in British Food in America) “I make the most outrageous mixtures, cutting them up (bits of cheese) and reducing them to crumbs…then adding the butter, some Amontillado sherry and plenty of coarsely ground black pepper.” and to paraphrase this produces “a far more rewarding “result than any cook deserves. The thing is to keep tasting, then add alcohol and seasonings accordingly.”

Old English Potted Cheese

Old English Potted Cheese

Print

Old English Potted Cheese

Old English Potted Cheese
  • Author: adapted from Jane Grigson
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Cuisine: English
Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 to 9 ounces grated cheese, (a mixture of hard cheeses such as cheddar, Double Gloucester, Cheshire, and Lancashire are recommended) (250 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, at room temperature (90 grams)
  • 2 tablespoon sherry (or Madeira or port)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (Coleman’s works great)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace (substitute allspice)
  • a splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Optional:

  • 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped (reserve some as halves for decoration) (60grams)
  • melted clarified butter (optional)

Instructions

Cheese should be finely grated; if not, add to food processor and pulse well. Add the butter and process well into a paste. Add alcohol of choice and the mustard powder, cayenne, and ground mace, along with the splash of Worcestershire, if using. Pulse to combine, scrape down and continue to process until smooth and well combined. If possible, refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating, to allow the flavors to combine.

Bring to room temperature before serving or it may be hard and crumbly. Delicious served spread on toasts or broiled on toast or with a good biscuit such as a Digestive or an oatcake.

Options:

  • Add the walnuts to cheese, place in a ramekin and top with walnut halves.
  • Form the cheese into small cakes and roll in walnuts, topping each small cake with a walnut half.
  • To preserve and keep potted cheese longer, dispense with walnuts, place in ramekins and cover with a layer of clarified butter. (Keeps for several weeks just fine as is, especially if made and kept “clean.”)

Keywords: Alcohol, Appetizer, cheddar, Cheese, English, Jane Grigson, Maderia, Nuts and Seeds, port, sherry, walnuts.

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I’ll be sharing Old English Potted Cheese at Fiesta Friday #262, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Angie of Fiesta Friday.

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26 thoughts on “Old English Potted Cheese

  1. I noticed you mentioned you are suffering from joint pain. I use glucosamine for joint pain. It works wonders. Also, a bit of organic, apple cider vinegar in a glass of water works awesome as well. I hope this can help you so that you can keep up your good work. 🙂

  2. This used to be a regular part of our before dinner treats when I was a kid. But I think my mother purchased it at Cracker Barrel or some other cheese store. It’s just the think for my company this coming holiday weekend, thank you Mollie.

    And I hope you are fully recovered soon, so sorry about your accident. You still take lovely pictures.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks, Liz. It’s slowed me down a bit, but it’s improving….We thought it was such a treat when my Dad (my Mom frowned at such things) would buy some spread or another. We’d stand around like baby birds while he spread the crackers and doled it out to us, lol!!!

  3. Ron

    Now, that looks to be a right proper potted cheese. I love your ceramic container. We make potted blue cheese at Christmas over this way and spread it on ginger snaps. I wonder why we just have it at Christmas, I’m going to break that tradition. Easter Swedish (I’m going to take liberties with your dishes name) potted cheese with ginger snaps. Mollie, truly get some Anna’s gingersnaps and spread some of that potted cheese on it. I bet you’ll be hooked.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Ron, that combo of bleu cheese and gingersnaps has got to be either crazy or crazy good or both!! I’m going to take a leap of faith and try it – two things I love and they’re both strong flavors, and I can almost taste it in my mind!

  4. Mollie, I really hope you will fully recover very soon.
    I haven’t heard of this cheese, but I love cheese so I am sure I’d enjoy this one. 😀 Thank you for sharing at Fiesta Friday party!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I’m rather liking not cooking too much, lol!! Of course with no kids at home I don’t have to worry as much about nutrition, but even when they were home we’d have what we called hors d’oeuvre night a couple of times a month.

      • Health/nutrition is something I’ve fallen down on for some time … I used to at least make some attempt at a protein, starch, veg/fruit combination on my plate.

        I have been uninspired to do the kind of cooking with new cuisines that I used to do even thought I’m still doing BIG cooks … like the 3 days I spent recently cooking various parts of a large turkey I defrosted. (Just remembered that I never DID write up that post.)

        • FrugalHausfrau

          I gotta say now that I’m not doing more big meals I’m often opening up the fridge with nothing to eat and then eating random stuff. I gotta get better myself and do more food prep…when I’m hungry, it’s too late!!

          • I agree about the eating random stuff.

            My biggest weakness is junk food esp chips. I sometimes buy a bag for snacking it rarely lasts past the first day I bring it home.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Anne, I’m wild about pimento cheese – and have a couple recipes on here, too, although they aren’t strictly classic and I know true Southerner’s don’t mess around with their pimento cheese – and everyone has their own perfected recipes! But since I’m not Southern, I went there, lol! But if you are going to take a departure and cheat on you pimento cheese, this is the one to do it with! 🙂

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Oh gosh yes it’s so easy! Although I DID have a lot to say about it. Like my Brother says, “she’s a talker….”

  5. I like potted stuff too! I made potted salmon recently. This reminds me of a recipe of jacques pepin… his father called it fromage fort. It was a mixture of leftover cheeses. His father would add a little cognac and then let it age in the cellar. I do neither of those. The blend of cheeses is always fun. I cut off the rinds first, if the food processor can’t handle them, but just blitz away. Oh, I’ve seasoned the cheese and added garlic. Anyway, I like the cheddar mixture, but in case you’d never mixed up various cheeses, if works really well, too! You can add some cream cheese if necessary..

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I have done a Fromage Fort, and I’ve never done potted Salmon but it must be a lot or maybe even just a variation of Rillettes? I’m always trying to stay away from the cream cheese, but I will toss some in sometime, maybe, lol!!

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