A ploughman’s lunch is a traditional salad made with sliced meats — most often chicken, turkey, ham, or roast beef — and cheddar cheese, coleslaw, or chutney. Popular in the United Kingdom as well as in Ireland, the salad is open to wide interpretation but always includes a good piece of cheese and sometimes even slices of apples or pears, tomatoes, or cucumbers. So what’s my point? I’m suggesting that it’s also a terrific alternative to traditional Super Bowl fare — especially the usual Tex-Mex offerings of chilli, taco salad, chips and salsa — and is a great addition to a football party buffet. The homemade tomato chutney, best made a day ahead to allow the flavors to meld, is a surefire hit! A basket of pumpernickel or crusty French bread is the usual accompaniment and can also be used to make sandwiches.
This recipe appears in several of my cookbooks including Favorite Flavors of Ireland.
Ploughman’s Lunch with Tomato Chutney
2 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 pounds plum tomatoes
3 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup golden raisins
Handful of mixed salad greens
Oil and vinegar for dressing
8 to 12 slices of honey baked ham, cut into triangles
8 to 12 slices of Kerrygold Cheddar cheese, cut into triangles
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, grated
1 carrot, julienned
1 cucumber, sliced
8 to 10 black olives
Bread for serving
1. Make chutney. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, cardamom, ginger, mustard seeds, and cloves. Slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolves.
2. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and raisins and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1-1 1/4hours, or until mixture thickens. As skins separate from tomatoes, remove and discard. Spoon chutney into clean jars or bowls, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. (Makes 3 cups.)
3. Compose salad. Divide mixed greens among salad plates. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Arrange 2 to 3 slices of meat and 2 to 3 slices of cheese over the greens and garnish with the tomato wedges, red onion, carrot, cucumber, and olives.
4. Spoon chutney into a ramekin and serve it with salad and slices of bread.