Potted stilton with peppered pears

Salty Stilton, sherry-poached pears and green peppercorns make a mouth-watering medley in the fabulous starter recipe from Sophie Grigson
By Sophie Grigson
Potted stilton with peppered pears
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the potted Stilton:

  • 220 g stilton cheese
  • 110 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 tsp green peppercorns

For the peppered pears:

  • 3 pears
  • 150 ml dry sherry
  • 1 tsp green peppercorns, heaped
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, heaped
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

To serve:

  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 4 slices bread, preferably soda

Tips and Suggestions

Use green peppercorns preserved in brine rather than dried.

Method

1. Mash the Stilton with the butter and the sherry, until well blended.

2. Pack into a small bowl and make a criss-cross pattern on the top with a fork. Dot with green peppercorns, then chill until set.

3. For the peppered pears, begin by peeling, halving and coring the pears, leaving the stalks on wherever possible. Place quickly in a pan with the sherry, and water to cover. Add the green and black peppercorns and the sugar. Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat and poach the pears until they are tender. A knife should slip effortlessly into the flesh.

4. Remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a shallow dish. Boil the liquid left in the pan until reduced to about 6 or 7 tablespoons. Pour over the pears and leave to cool.

5. To serve, slice each pear half thinly along its length, without cutting right through to the stalk end. Fan out one half on each plate, and pour a tablespoon of the reduced cooking juices over it, together with a few peppercorns. Add a wedge of the potted Stilton and a sprig of parsley. Serve with soda bread.

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