We recently had an Irish cooking class and I wanted to share the recipes form our delicious meal!!
We started off with a simple Roasted Tomato & Irish Cheddar Appetizer. For the tomatoes, I generally toss about 3 Chopped Roma tomatoes with 3 T of Olive Oil, 1 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Pepper, 1 tsp Garlic Powder & 2 tsp Sugar. Roast for about 35 minutes at 375 and serve with some good Irish cheddar & crackers! Yum!
Growing up, in my house, St. Patrick’s Day Dinner was not corned beef & cabbage. My Mom’s Grandparents came from Achill Island, & Tourmakeady in Ireland. When other people were eating corned beef & Reubens, my Mom and her family were eating cottage ham & boiled dinner. The way my Mom put it was that they didn’t have any connection to corned beef, but that the cottage ham & boiled dinner was a treat that they had always enjoyed, so it became the tradition in her home too. And mine. As a kid I remember waking up to those smells on St. Patrick’s Day.
My Mom is an amazing cook and is the angel, for us, that connected the dots of food & family & love & tradition…but for me, the smell of that boiled dinner makes my stomach turn! I am a vegetarian, but that’s not even it. I can cook & smell all sorts of crazy meat & seafood dishes and appreciate the savory aromas. But there’s something about the cooked carrots & cabbage boiling for hours. That salty little ham. The caraway seeds & raisins in the Irish soda bread. No thank you. Of all the things you dream about graduating from and never going back to when you grow up and move out – that was on my top 10 list. Imagine my guilt when we came to town with our daughter around St. Patrick’s Day years ago & Mom made me my own boiled dinner in a separate pot from the ham, so I could enjoy it too. Shit.
Between that, and the fact that my husband always gets a shipload of corned beef at all the bar gigs that week, I had to adopt a whole new St. Paddy’s Day meal tradition. Oh man, this was perfect. Irish stew (vegetarian too), brown bread & homemade butter. YUM. And those smells will always make me hungry!!
Guinness Beef (or Lentil) Stew
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 2 Carrots. Diced
- 1 Parsnip, Peeled & Diced
- 3 Ribs of Celery, Chopped
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
- 2 T Tomato Paste
- 3 T Flour
- 2 T Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 T Sugar
- 4 Sprigs of Thyme
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1.5 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 lb Bite Sized Yellow Potatoes (or peeled & chopped potatoes)
- 3 lb Chuck cut into 1 inch Cubes
- 1 Can of Guinness Beer
- 2.5 Cups Broth (Beef or Veggie)
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Parsley
- 1 Cup of Lentils, if Making Vegetarian Version
Begin by heating up a few tablespoons of vegetable oil & browning the beef. Brown in batches, about 2 minutes per side, then set aside. Add onion to the pan and saute 4-5 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients and saute an additional 5 minutes. Once the vegetables are softened a bit, add the thyme & stir in the tomato paste & flour. Keep everything moving so that nothing burns, but enjoy the aroma of the sugars in the tomato paste caramelizing & the thyme opening up. After about 2 minutes, pour in the beer, sugar, worcestershire sauce & seasoning. Let simmer a minute or 2, then add your potatoes & broth. If you are making beef stew, add the beef, if you are making lentil stew, add the lentils! Let this simmer for 1 hour, check for seasoning & stir in Parsley! Yum!
In 2017, we had the privilege of going to Ireland with our daughter, Grace, my husband’s band, Mary’s Lane…and 40 more of our friends! It was breathtaking & fulfilled a lifelong dream. To experience several parts of the country, and spend a few days on Achill Island taking in the beauty and tracing my roots. Incredible. The only drawback was that I was pregnant and had morning sickness everyday…ALL day! I was a cheap date, of course, at the pubs, but the restaurants too. Brown bread became my best friend! The only meal I could handle besides, perhaps, a little tea & digestives!
Ever since, I have wanted to experiment & make a recipe of my own. As with any cultural dish, when I began my research, it was all over the place. Many claim you can’t make it without oats, many would never add sugar, many wouldn’t dream of skipping the wheat bran etc etc. I am sure that the recipe I share below will continue to change over the years as I learn more about its traditions and tweak my proportions. For now I am very excited to have a great recipe for brown bread that brings back such cherished memories, fills my belly for a day of sustenance, & tastes pretty damn good dipped in tea.
- 3.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Cup Steel Cut (Irish) Oats
- 1/2 Cup Wheat Bran Flakes
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 Cups Buttermilk
- 2 Eggs
- 3 T Softened Butter
Grease your pan – my most recent discovery is that a springform pan is actually amazing for this! Cast iron is great, as are foil or glass pans – you may need to divide the dough for 2 smaller pans, depending on the size.
Mix together all dry ingredients. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together wet ingredients. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can add 1 tsp of white vinegar per cup of whole milk as a substitute. Make a well in your dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Mix together by hand until fully incorporated. Dump this dough into your pan or pans. It will be sticky, but that is perfect. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes to an hour. The timing does depend on the pan you are using. In the springform, mine took right at about an hour. If the top is getting more brown than you would like, you can always cover with foil to prevent further browning. You will want the bread to cool about 10 minutes, then you’ll want to remove it from the pan right away. If it stays in the pan, the steam will make the bottom of it soggy. Yuck. The best way for it to cool is to place it upside down on either a cooling rack or cutting board. It will take a good 30 minutes for this to fully cool. You want to wait until it is fully cool before cutting, or it will kind of mush together, almost as if it weren’t fully cooked. Also yuck! Serve this deliciousness with Irish butter and give the end pieces to your favorite people, because they are pure magic.
Get ready. We have 2 more courses of carbs coming your way!! Next up, Boxty! Everyone’s love of potatoes at their best in this delicious combo of mashed & raw potatoes. I love mine extra crispy with sour cream. As I develop the nuances of my own recipe, this is the one I turn to:
A perfect ending to a meal!! Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce!! These are the 2 recipes I used for our class, I hope you enjoy!!