I never said it was pretty.
It’s Thursday in the east and I know I have some readers back there, so I can technically call this my Thursday in the kitchen. I wanted to get it up on my site in a timely fashion in case you were actually considering something Irish for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day and didn’t know what to make.
You could make corned beef and cabbage but why? Cabbage, once it’s cooked to death, is a texture more than a flavor. It’s hardly the best dish my ancestors have to offer so I’m not going to give you a recipe for it. If you’re in New York City or Boston, Chicago or San Francisco, find a classic, old Irish bar (The Blarney Stone, anyone?) and get the corned beef from them if you must. It’s steaming in their chafing dishes and they’ve been cooking it since before you were born.
If you’re staying in though, make a classic Guinness Irish stew, serve it with soda bread and butter on the side and wash it down with a Murphy’s, Beamish, or aforementioned Guinness Stout. Put an O’ in front of your last name and consider yourself lucky.
The stew is so easy it’s silly. You have to stand over the Dutch oven and brown your meat but other than that, you pretty much throw the rest in the pot, pour some beer over the meat, put it in the oven and you’re set.
The soda bread is easy-peasy, too. I offered up my recipe last year and it hasn’t changed. It’s as basic as you can get unless you’re making shortbread. There’s no yeast, no egg. Originally, soda bread was just flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. I add a little sugar and currants (or chopped raisins) and slather on butter after slicing. Dip it into the gravy from the stew. It’s the kind of meal you should eat after working on the farm and looking after the sheep. Afterwards, do a jig.
Guinness Irish Stew
2 T. olive oil
2 ½ – 3 lbs. stew meat, cut into 1” pieces
3 T. flour
salt and pepper
1 ½ cups chopped onion
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
4 carrots, cut into 1” pieces (just wash them, don’t peel)
1 bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
Preheat oven to 300°.
In a mixing bowl, toss the stew meat with the flour and some salt and pepper to coat lightly.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the meat in batches over medium-high heat. Remove and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions to the pot. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. (You may have to add a little Guinness to this to prevent the veggies from burning.)
Put the meat back in the pot, mix it with the vegetables and pour the Guinness over the top. Bring to a boil, cover and place on a middle rack in the oven. Cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Irish Soda Bread
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
3 T. sugar
1 ½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup currants or chopped raisins (or more depending on how sweet you want the bread)
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, soda, salt and sugar. Stir in the buttermilk until a ball of dough starts to form. Add the currants. Turn out onto a floured surface and work the currants into the dough. Knead for about a minute and form into a circle – 6” in diameter and 2” high. Score an X on top in the middle of the dough, about ½” deep. Place on a floured cooking sheet or pizza stone. Bake for 30-35 minutes. You’ll want to check the bread about 20 minutes into the cooking time to see if it’s browning too much. If it is, cover with foil for the remaining 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack before slicing. I highly recommend slathering with butter before consuming.
Holidays, Recipes, Thursdays in the kitchen with Jo