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Cooking with: Ross-on-Wye Perry

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Working my way through British food writer Nigel Slater’s ‘Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard,’ I came across a recipe for pork shoulder roasted in perry.

Perry? Made from fermented pears, perry’s common in Britain, especially in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Commercial perry recently also has been called ‘pear cider,’ but some still make a distinction between the two. Traditionally, they’re produced slightly differently. Specific varieties of pears are grown for perry (with names such as Mumblehead and Red Huffcap).

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My corner wine shop happened to carry Ross-on-Wye Perry. From the little town of Ross-on-Wye, it’s a traditional rustic perry made by cidermaker Mike Johnson, fermented in barrels with naturally-occurring, wild yeasts. Ross-on-Wye is known for experimenting with a variety of barrels, such as rum, whiskey and brandy, for fermenting its pear juice.

The Ross-on-Wye Medium Dry Still Perry isn’t carbonated and no sugar is added, so it isn’t bubbly and isn’t much sweet. It recalls mead or a dry white port. It’s suited for cooking. ‘Perry is an astonishing drink -- refreshing, dry and fruity,’ Slater writes. ‘A small bottle upended into a pot roast will ensure a moist result and leave you with a decent amount of fruity pot juices to spoon over.’ And it did.

Ross-on-Wye Perry, about $9 for 500ml, available at Buzz, 460 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-2222, www.buzzwinebeershop.com.

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-- Betty Hallock


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