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Heston’s Ultimate cheese toastie
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For the onion compote:
25g unsalted butter
200g onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp groundnut oil
3 slices Heston from Waitrose Alder Wood Smoked Streaky Bacon, cut into lardons
10g dry Madeira
For the cheese slice:
225g Gruyère cheese, grated
225g Comté cheese, grated
½ tbsp cornflour
15g Manzanilla sherry
1 sprig thyme
1.5 cloves garlic
250g dry white wine
10g lemon juice
½ pack Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients pulled ham hock
30g onion compote
2 slices of white sandwich bread
Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat and add the onion, garlic and thyme. Cook, covered, on a very low heat, for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally until well caramelised and dark in colour. If the onions start to catch on the bottom of the pan, add a little water and stir more frequently.
2. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook for 4-5 minutes until the bacon is soft and beginning to colour. Drain the bacon on kitchen paper and set aside.Add the Madeira to the pan of onions, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the bacon and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Allow to cool.
3. In a bowl, mix the grated cheeses with the cornflour. Bring the sherry to a simmer in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the thyme and garlic, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and allow to cool.
4. Bring the wine and lemon juice to the boil together in a medium saucepan, and add the cheese, a handful at a time, whisking continuously until smooth and creamy. Add the sherry to the cheese and wine, and continue to stir until the cheese thickens. Add the ham hock and the onion compote and mix until well combined. Pour over a 30x20cm tray lined with parchment, and allow to set. Cut into squares, just smaller than the size of the bread slice.
5. Pre-heat the toasted sandwich maker. Spread one side of the bread with soft butter and place butter-side down on the pre-heated machine. Add 1 slice of the cheese, top with the remaining bread, butter side up, and close the machine. Cook for 5 minutes, until the toastie has sealed and the bread is golden brown. Be careful when biting into the toastie, as the contents will be piping hot and molten.