JeffreyW, Wikimedia Commons
A good pot of Irish stew warms the tummy on a cold March evening.
It’s that time of year again when you see a lot of green things in the stores. Shamrocks, glittery decorations, leprechauns and many other things.
I once had a friend in Dublin and when I asked him if the locals had corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, he scoffed at the idea and said he didn’t know anyone who ate that. He did say, however, that they did eat a lot of potatoes over there.
I do enjoy a good corned beef and cabbage dinner, with potatoes and carrots — and even an onion or two — thrown into the kettle. I think it would be fun to try some recipes that we can use to help celebrate March 17. Let’s see what we can stir up.
Slow cooker corned beef and cabbage dinner
1 medium yellow onion, cut into large wedges
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
2 stalks celery, stringed and cut into thirds
1/2 pound baby potatoes, halved
1 corned beef brisket (2 to 3 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 package pickling spice
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 head green cabbage, cut into wedges
1. Add onion, carrots, celery and potatoes to bowl of slow cooker. Place corned beef on top and season generously with salt, pepper and pickling spices. Scatter thyme and bay leaves over meat and fill slow cooker bowl with water until it is almost completely covering the meat.
2. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 4 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add cabbage to crock pot and cook on HIGH for 45 minutes to 1 hour more until cabbage is tender and cooked through. Remove meat and vegetables from slow cooker, slice and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Guinness Irish stew
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds lamb shoulder or beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 leeks, cleaned (only the white parts)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 tablespoons flour
22 ounces Guinness stout
2 cups beef broth
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried leaves)
1. Peel and cut up carrots and potatoes, then mince or press garlic. Trim root end off leeks, strip off tough greens. Cut leeks lengthwise and rinse any grit off under water. Slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the lamb into 2” chunks (if not already done). Pat dry and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or heavy based pot over high heat. Add lamb in batches and brown well all over. Remove to plate and repeat with remaining lamb. Set aside.
3. Lower heat to medium and add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and leek and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, watching so the garlic doesn’t brown or burn. Stir flour into the vegetable mixture and cook for 3 more minutes.
4. Add Guinness, stirring and scraping up bits on bottom of pot, then add beef broth. Return browned lamb to the pot, including any juices, along with carrots, potatoes and thyme tied with kitchen twine. If lamb and vegetables are not fully covered, add enough water to cover them. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Stir, then lower heat so it is bubbling gently. Cook about 2 hours, then remove lid and simmer 30 minutes more until lamb falls apart and the sauce has reduced and thickened.5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove thyme bundle and serve with crusty bread. Makes 6 servings.
Buttermilk Bannock bread
4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and raisins together. In another bowl, blend eggs and buttermilk with a fork, then add to dry ingredients. Stir until a sticky batter is formed.
2. Scrape batter onto a well-floured surface and knead lightly. Shape into a ball and place in a round, nonstick casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make a cross in the center of dough with a sharp knife. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 1/4 hours.
Dublin caramel apple cake
While I have no idea if people in Ireland make this cake, it has been a big hit when I have served it for a St. Patrick’s Day dessert.
For the caramel:
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 carton (8-oz.) heavy whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup chopped pecans
For the cake:
1 package apple-cinnamon quick bread mix
1 cup chopped, peeled apples
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey (or water mixed with artificial flavoring such as rum or brandy)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
For the topping:
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey (or substitute flavor)
1. Preheat oven to 350. In small saucepan over low heat, combine brown sugar, butter and 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream. Cook and stir just until butter is melted. Remove from heat; stir in chopped pecans. Pour mixture into bottom of ungreased 9-inch round or square cake pan; set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients. Stir until mixture is well moistened and blended. Carefully spoon batter over caramel mixture, making sure caramel is completely covered.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute, then invert onto serving plate and let cool completely. Just before serving, in a small bowl, beat remaining whipped cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and whiskey; beat until stiff peaks form.
4. Spread whipped cream mixture on top of cake. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, if desired. Keep cake refrigerated.