The Hired Manchego

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Oh to eat a hired manchego! A cheesy appetizer recipe inspired by the musical The Hired Man.

The Hired Manchego! A cheesy appetizer recipe inspired by the musical The Hired Man.

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The Hired Man is a musical with book and lyrics by Melvyn Bragg, and music by Howard Goodall. Based on Bragg’s book of the same name, it is set in rural Cumbria (northern England) in the first quarter of the twentieth century.  Inspired by the life of Bragg’s grandparents, the show depicts the rural way of life of a typical family who had to hire themselves out to landowners to work the land in exchange for accommodation, and the changes brought about by industrialization and the First World War.

No they’ll never, no never be as fancy free
As a farmer’s hired man
Oh to be a hired man

The musical opened in the West End in 1984, winning the Ivor Novello Award for Best Musical, and earning four Olivier Award nominations. It also opened off-Broadway in 1988, but for only 33 performances.  Despite several regional and off-West End productions in the UK since then (and a 1993 school production that Angus was in, attended by Goodall himself who, fact fans, also wrote the theme tune to cult comedy sci-fi series Red Dwarf), the musical has never gained mainstream popularity. Perhaps the musical just needed to be cheesier?

Now, we do like to supply our readers with a full range of gastronomic delights, and this is one of our more simple offerings, requiring just four ingredients: crackers, roasted red peppers, paprika, and of course manchego cheese.

I used ready-roasted red peppers from a jar for this recipe, which worked just fine. But you do need to drain them on paper towels first so that they’re not too soggy. Cut them into small squares roughly the same size as the crackers, and place one piece on each cracker.

Then cut slices of manchego to go over the peppers. Transfer the loaded crackers to a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese has just started to melt. The peppers will be warmed through and the cracker provides the base. Sprinkle with paprika and serve warm.

The Hired Manchego! A cheesy appetizer recipe inspired by the musical The Hired Man.

The Hired Manchego
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Ingredients

  • crackers
  • roasted red peppers (from a jar)
  • paprika
  • manchego cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Drain the peppers on paper towels, then cut them into small squares roughly the same size as the crackers.
  3. Cut slices of manchego and place them on top of the peppers.
  4. Place the loaded crackers onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese has just started to melt.
  5. Sprinkle with paprika and serve warm.
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