Happy St George’s Day! It may not be a classic territorial cheese but, since it was launched in 1994, Stinking Bishop has become one of England’s most well-known cheeses. As a washed rind cheese, it predictably divides people but once you get past its pungent rind, this is a consistently great cheese with a creamy, delicious and – honestly! – inoffensive paste.
Even though I love Stinking Bishop, receiving a whole wheel as part of Pong’s English Selection presented me with a dilemma. Even I can’t eat that amount of cheese on my own and no-one else in the house will eat washed rinds, despite my best efforts. This recipe combines Stinking Bishop with ham and leeks for a luxurious dish. Use the best quality ham you can find, preferably smoked and sliced relatively thickly. Cooking the pancakes takes a while and so this does not qualify as a quick supper dish. Given the lavish amounts of cheese and butter, it’s probably not a slimming choice either. Don’t be afraid of the Stinking Bishop; it gives a great taste to the dish but is not overpowering. I took the rind off and trust me, the washed rind haters wolfed it back happily.
200g plain flour
Large pinch of salt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 leek, chopped and sautéed in olive oil
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
65g plain flour
4 tbsp. double cream
180g ham, chopped roughly
175g Stinking Bishop, cut into small pieces
First, combine the flour, salt, eggs and milk to make a pancake batter. With this quantity of ingredients you are aiming to make 10-12 pancakes. Stack them up on a plate as you go.
Whilst the pancakes are cooking, make the sauce. Stud the onion halves with cloves and put them into a pan with the milk, bay leaves, peppercorns. Bring the milk to the boil and then remove from the hob and leave for 20 minutes. Sieve the milk to remove the herbs and spices. Preheat the oven to 200c/180c/gas mark 6.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, stirring well to combine into a paste for about a minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking it into the paste. Simmer for ten minutes. Stir in the cream and then add the cheese pieces.
Stir for another few minutes until the cheese has melted into the sauce. Mix a third of the sauce with the sautéed leeks.
Take one pancake at a time and put some of the ham and also the leek mixture down the centre.
Roll the pancake up and place it in a pre-greased baking dish. Repeat with the other pancakes, leaving one spare.
When all the pancakes are in the dish, pour the remaining sauce over them. Because there’s no grated cheese on top, I cut up the last pancake for decoration.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes and serve with a green salad or steamed vegetables. You won’t need potatoes on the side for this dish, believe me.
Disclosure: I was sent an English Selection Box by Pong Cheese for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.