St. Patty’s Day, Not Just for Drunks Anymore!

Once again we are upon one of our countries favorite drinking holidays, St. Patrick’s day. Its one day out of the year where bloodlines don’t seem to matter and we all claim to be at least a little bit Irish. There is more to this holiday than just tossing back mugs of green colored beer, or worse yet pints of Guinness. St. Patrick’s day is the perfect occasion to embrace all the wonderful food Ireland has to offer. Unfortunately Ireland has gotten a bad wrap when it comes to food. Sadly that’s just not the case. Some of Ireland’s most traditional recipes are some some of their best. Here are a few tasty dishes to consider for a traditional St. Patrick’s menu:

Lamb Stew
2# lamb shoulder – cut into bite sized chunks
flour
oil
1 yellow onion – diced
2 stalks celery – diced
2 Carrots – diced
1 clove of garlic – minced
1# potatoes – diced
2 quarts chicken stock
12oz Irish Stout
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper

Toss the cut up lamb in flour to coat. Shake off excess flour. Coat the bottom of a 6 quart soup pot with oil, and heat. Brown in batches the lamb. Set the lamb aside. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables. Add back the lamb along with the chicken stock, beer, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the stew for 2 hours, or until the lamb is almost fork tender. Add the potatoes, and extra stock or water if needed. Cook for another 20-30, or until the potatoes are cooked. Serve this stew along side some good soda bread and a pint of your favorite Irish brew.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

There is no more iconic Irish dish than this. The richness of this dish will provide a solid base to soak up copious pints of good Irish beer.

1 5# uncooked corned beef brisket – store bought or
24oz dark beer – preferably an Irish style stout
water
3-4 carrots – roughly chopped
2-3 onions – roughly chopped
1 head of cabbage
2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Place the brisket in a pot, along with the carrots, onions, and thyme. Add the beer and enough cold water to cover the brisket. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours. Take the cabbage, and remove the tough outer leaves. Quarter and core the cabbage. Add to the pot with the brisket. Cook for another hour, or until the brisket and cabbage is tender. Remove the brisket. Slice and serve alongside the cabbage.

Colcannon

This probably Ireland’s most famous potato dish. This mashed potato dish is typically made with green cabbage. the use of kale is a not uncommon variant on the classic.

2# russet potatoes
1 bunch of kale
1 leek
2 tbls unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups milk
Salt and Pepper

Remove the ribs from the kale and chop. Prepare an ice bath. Add kale to a pot of boiling heavily salted water – should taste like sea water – and cook for about 6 minutes, or until tender but still a vibrant green. Remove from the pot and shock in ice bath to stop cooking and lock in the color. Remove from bath and squeeze out as much water as you can. Set aside the kale. Peel and dice the russets. Place the potatoes in a pot of salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook the potatoes until tender. While potatoes are cooking melt the butter in a pan. Take the leek and dice it – white and light green parts only. Saute the leeks in butter until soft and lightly browned. Add the milk to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat. Keep the milk warm until ready to mix with the potatoes. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and return them to the pan. Place the pan on a low heat and let the potatoes dry out. When the potatoes are dry add the chopped kale, and milk mixture. Mash with a potato masher until everything is well combined. Adjust seasoning if necessary.


Now with any good Irish meal you’ll need something to wash it down. I humbly implore that you avoid the generic lager dyed green. A good red ale will more than get the job done. If you feel compelled to go genuinely Irish, O’Hara’s red ale is a tasty option. Boulevard Irish Ale or Harpoon Celtic ale are tasty options from this side of the pond. If you plan to go black, a nice Irish stout works well. Do yourself a favor and fore go Guinness. I would just avoid any Irish stout served via the flavor robbing gas nitro. O’Hara’s Irish Stout comes from the island, and is unquestionably the best Ireland has to offer.

If you absolutely have to wash down your meal with a green beverage opt for a Whiskey cocktail:

Shamrock Cocktail

1.5oz Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes green creme de mint
1 dash green chartreuse

Combine all the ingredients into a shaker and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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~ by thebrewgeek on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

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