ST. PATRICK'S DAY DINNER
Cream of Potato/Leek
Melt butter in a 4 qt. soup pot or sauce pan. Sauté onion, leeks and celery until onion is transparent. Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 30 minutes.
Puree solids and some of the liquid in a food processor and return puree to the pot or use an immersion blender and puree the vegetables directly in the soup pot.
Add evaporated milk and cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly over low heat for about 10 minutes. Taste soup and adjust by adding salt and pepper to your liking.
For serving, garnish with chopped chives
Yield: 6 servings
Many years ago I was given this recipe by an Irish neighbor who taught me that Irish Stew did not include carrots, but by all means, if you like carrots in your stew, just add 2 carrots, peeled, and cut into thick slices along with the onions.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In an oven and stovetop proof 6 qt. stock pot or a cast iron dutch oven, brown the lamb cubes lightly in a small amount of vegetable oil. Remove meat and wipe out any remaining oil in the pan.
Lightly butter the interior of the pot. Arrange a layer consisting of one third of the amount of potatoes, meat, onions. Sprinkle a portion of the thyme and parsley, salt & pepper on each layer. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used.
Add the chicken broth and cover the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil on top of the stove. Transfer pot to the heated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours. Fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time, you can thicken the juices in the pan with a beurre manie (French term for softened butter and flour mixture) Let the stew cook another 10 minutes. Remember to remove fresh thyme stems before serving. Garnish each plate with additional chopped parsley.
Yield: 6 servings
Irish Soda Bread
This is the classic buttermilk soda bread with the familiar crumbly texture. The only deviation is the inclusion of golden raisins, which are a luxurious touch.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet without sides. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the butter and cut in with a knife until them mixture is crumbly, then add the raisins and toss to combine.
2. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk and toss with a fork until the dough hold together. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it around the inside of the bowl to pick up any stray particles. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead 60 times, sifting on flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Pat the dough into a 9-inch round. Score the round into quarters with the dull edge of a floured chef's knife. Make the marks about 1 ½ inches deep. Transfer the round to the prepared baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 round loaf
Note: the use of Kerrygold brand of butter is my variation from the original recipe.
Soda Bread recipe is from "Judy Gorman's Breads of New England", by Yankee Books, 1988 (sadly out of print - you're lucky if you have a copy!)
Stuffed Baked Apples
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
For more about Kerrygold butter click here.
Brew your favorite regular coffee to the strength you enjoy.
In a tall glass with a loop handle made specifically for Irish coffee, or other tall insulated glass, pour in 1 ½ oz. of a good quality Irish whiskey like Jameson's. Add a teaspoon of sugar if desired. Fill the glass with the brewed coffee leaving at least a 1-inch space at the top. Stir to combine whiskey and coffee. Carefully pour or spoon on top of the coffee, softly whipped heavy or whipping cream.
Yield: one Irish coffee