Marching to Irish flavor


JeffreyW, Wikimedia Commons

Irish stew is a good choice if you would like to try something other than corned beef.

 

It’s amazing to me how quickly our annual events and observations come around again.


Everywhere I look I see green, as St. Patrick’s Day displays compete with the pastel Easter ones. Even the landscape is proudly showing off its green, as grass grows and trees leaf out. Might as well enjoy it, since it won’t be long until everything is dry.


Speaking of dry, I sure dread another fire season. I am only now getting some of my evacuation bins unpacked. Things were packed away for so long, I started to forget I had a lot of the nice things that were packed away.


But I digress; time to focus on some tasty Irish food. Stay safe and warm.


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-inch chunks (if not already done). Pat dry and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.


2. Heat 2 tablespoons 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 ​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.


Colcannon


1 pound green cabbage (can also use kale)


1 pound firm-fleshed potatoes, such as white, red, gold or yellow


2 leeks


1 cup milk


Salt and pepper, to taste


1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks


1. In a large pot, boil cabbage until tender; remove and chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside and keep warm.


2. Peel the potatoes (unless you like the skins and prefer to keep them on) until tender. Remove from heat and drain.


3. Clean leeks by cutting off the root end and the tougher, dark green tops. Split lengthwise and rinse under running water to remove any possible grains of sand or soil. Chop into bite-sized pieces and place into a small saucepan, along with the milk. Simmer leeks until they are tender.


4. When the potatoes are done and drained, mash them very well and season to taste. Stir in cooked leeks and milk mixture. Blend in the cabbage (or kale or a mixture of both) and heat until the colcannon is well mixed and heated through. Make a well in the center and add the butter before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Irish bread


1 cup bread flour


2 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour


1 1/4 teaspoons salt


1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda


2 teaspoons sugar


1/4 cup butter


2 cups buttermilk


1/4 cup canola oil


1 tablespoon buttermilk


1 teaspoon sugar


1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a shallow baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.


2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda and 2 teaspoons sugar.


3. Cut butter into the flour mixture until pieces are very tiny. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the oil and buttermilk. Stir until dry mixture is completely moistened. Move the dough to a lightly-floured surface. Lightly knead the dough for no more than 1 minute. Place the dough into the prepared pan; pat down and around to form a round loaf.


4. Make a cross shape in the top of the loaf with your finger. Brush the top with 1 tablespoon buttermilk; sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the top of the loaf.


5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375. Rotate the baking pan and bake another 30 minutes. When done, cool loaf on wire rack before slicing.


Dublin caramel apple cake


Caramel:


1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar


1/4 cup butter


1 carton (8-oz.) heavy whipping cream, divided


1/3 cup chopped pecans


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 brandy or rum flavor)


1/4 cup oil


1 egg


Topping:


Remaining cream


2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


2 tablespoons Irish whiskey (or substitute flavor)


Cinnamon, optional


1. Heat oven to 350. For caramel: In small saucepan over low heat, combine brown sugar, butter and 2 tablespoons whipping cream. Cook and stir just until butter is melted. Remove from heat; stir in 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 for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute; invert onto serving plate and let cool completely. Just before serving, in a small bowl, beat remaining whipping 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 refrigerated.