FOOD: 7 ways to use up all that leftover Christmas cheese
If your family always completely overestimates how much cheese you’ll consume over Christmas, you are not alone.
This year – like every other one – half blocks of stilton, brie, comté, and that weird one with all the fruit in that no one actually likes, will be languishing in fridges for a good week or two after you’ve proudly displayed your Instagram-worthy selection on your fanciest chopping board, alongside a few token grapes on Christmas Day.
So apart from a cheese course after every meal (and there’s nothing wrong with that), how else can you save that cheese from growing extra blue bits and adding to your food waste?
1. The ultimate cheese toastie
Grate as many cheeses as you like – we recommend cheddar, gruyere and parmesan sprinkled with dried herbs, goat or brie with red onion chutney, or gorgonzola and crispy bacon – and stick between the finest bread available (seeded adds a nice crunch).
Next, do as Jamie Oliver does, and pan-fry your sandwich in a mixture of olive oil and foaming butter. The more generous you are with the butter, the more delicious (and unhealthy) it will be, but who’s looking for a calorie-controlled toastie anyway? Flip over, grate some extra cheese on top, and let it fall down the sides of the bread as it fries away.
2. Cheesy breakfast omelette
During the festive period, it’s totally acceptable to have cheese at every meal, including breakfast. After all, you’re being planet-friendly by using it all up. So start the day with an indulgent omelette laced with the cheese of your choice. How about manchego for some extra tang? Or a Cornish Yarg for more creaminess? For something even richer, camembert will melt beautifully. Up the omelette ante with some chopped up leftover sprouts and bacon.
3. Cheesy potato bake
If you didn’t prep enough roasties for a small army on Christmas day, you’re doing something wrong – but now you’ve got to eat them. Luckily, roast potatoes roast second time around rather wonderfully, so smash them up a bit, throw your favourite cheese on top (a blue variety would be particularly epic) along with leftover herbs, and roast until the cheese bubbles with a golden hue.
4. Add a whole round of goat’s or sheep’s cheese to Brussel sprouts
You definitely have some sprouts leftover – maybe even a bag you didn’t even cook – and their strong, iron-y flavour goes perfectly with a washed-rind cheese made from goat’s or sheep’s milk (Pie d’Angloys would do the trick).
Start by roasting the sprouts (don’t overfill the tray or they’ll produce too much steam to crisp up) for 15 minutes before adding a whole cheese in the middle and cooking for a further five to 10 minutes, depending on preferred levels of meltiness. The whole cheese will keep some of its texture and the caramelised sprouts will be able to stand up against the strong flavours.
When it comes to fondue, there’s a real art to getting it right. Just melting down everything left over on your cheese board might turn out to be a big, gooey mistake. Ageing matters, and well-ripened cheeses will give the best consistency (runny enough to dip but with enough body to stick to your bread/potato). Commonly, the Swiss make fondue ‘moitié-moitié’, or half and half, using gruyere and equal measures of a local cow’s milk variety, Vacherin Fribourgeois.
6. The mac and cheese of all mac and cheeses
Is there anything more comforting than a big, steaming hot bowl of macaroni cheese? Mix all the different cheeses you have lying around – everything works in a mac and cheese, but go for Roquefort if you want something extra indulgent – and throw some bacon lardons and breadcrumbs on top to get that all-important crust before roasting. Purists won’t like it, but sliced up leftover sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli stirred through will help to cut through the richness, and make you feel a little less guilty about all that cheese.
7. Cheese scones
We may be accustomed to mature cheddar cheese in savoury scones but there’s really no reason why other varieties wouldn’t work too. Try baking with crumbly Wensleydale, Lancashire or Red Leicester and experiment with other additions, like wild garlic, pumpkin seeds or chives. Serve warm with a side of chilli jam.
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