How to Assemble the Perfect Ploughman's Lunch
Let's delve into the history of the iconic Ploughman's Lunch - it's history and key ingredients.
When it comes to classic British pub fare, few dishes can rival the simple yet hearty Ploughman's Lunch. This iconic meal, often found on pub and cafe menus across the United Kingdom, is a rustic combination of various ingredients that come together to create a real symphony of flavours and textures. But have you ever wondered about the origins of this beloved dish - and why it's called a "Ploughman's Lunch"?
In this blog post, we'll delve into the history of the Ploughman's Lunch, before guiding you through the art of assembling the perfect platter.
The History Behind the Ploughman's Lunch
The Ploughman's Lunch traces its roots back to the rural farming communities of Britain. It's a dish that was born out of necessity, originating in the late 1950s as a simple but wholesome meal for labourers working in the fields. Farmers and ploughmen would carry these packed lunches to sustain themselves during long days of hard work.
The name itself, "Ploughman's Lunch," is a nod to its intended consumers - the hardworking ploughmen who were working in the fields. It's a testament to the humble origins of this dish and its association with the agricultural traditions of Britain.
Over the years, it has evolved and become a quintessential part of British pub culture, often served as a comforting and satisfying option for those looking for a delicious, unpretentious meal.
Assembling the Perfect Ploughman's Lunch
Now that we've explored the history behind this iconic dish, let's dive into the art of assembling the perfect Ploughman's Lunch. The beauty of this meal lies in its simplicity and versatility. You’ll be happy to hear that we sell many of these ingredients too, to make it easier for you to make your own Ploughman’s lunch! You can tailor it to your preferences of course, but here are some of those essential components that make up a classic Ploughman's Lunch platter:
- Cheese: A generous portion of cheese is the cornerstone of any Ploughman's Lunch. Traditional choices include mature cheddar or smoked cheeses. Arrange a variety of cheeses on your platter to cater to different tastes and textures.
- Bread: Soft, delicious bread is a must. Opt for crusty rolls, a slice of hearty whole-grain bread, or even a warm baguette. The bread is a crucial part, serving as a vessel for the cheese and accompaniments.
- Pickles and Chutney: Tangy, pickled vegetables and a dollop of sweet chutney complement the rich cheese perfectly. Branston pickle and piccalilli are popular choices.
- Cold Meats: While the Ploughman's Lunch traditionally focuses on cheese and vegetarian elements, you can also add slices of cold meats like ham or roast beef for a more filling version. Pâté is always a great option, too!
- Salad: A crisp, fresh salad adds a refreshing element to balance the richness of the cheese and meats. Include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and radishes.
- Boiled Eggs: Some variations of the Ploughman's Lunch include hard-boiled eggs for an extra protein boost. Halve or slice them for easy sharing.
- Butter: A small knob of butter is essential for spreading on the bread!
- Fruit: Slices of crisp apple or pear provide a sweet and juicy contrast to the savoury elements. Grapes are also a popular choice for a sweet bite.
- Accompaniments: A couple of extras like a scotch egg, pork pie, a pickled onion can elevate your Ploughman's Lunch to new heights.
- Enjoy with a Pint: To fully embrace the pub tradition, you could always pair your Ploughman's Lunch with a pint of your favourite beer or cider. The combination is a match made in culinary heaven.
As you assemble your Ploughman's Lunch, don't be afraid to get creative and adapt it to your tastes! Whether you're enjoying it at a countryside picnic, in the comfort of your home, or at a cosy British pub, the Ploughman's Lunch is a delicious reminder of the rich culinary history and flavours of Britain. So, gather your ingredients, invite some friends over, and savour this classic dish that pays homage to the hardworking ploughmen of times gone by.