Friday, March 14, 2014

Too Late???

I just remembered 2 days ago that St. Patricks Day was a mere few days away and I am in a rush now to offer some tweaked Irish dishes for everyone to enjoy. On my website,, I have a great assortment of Irish recipes, but every year I add more and more. That is until this year. I usually start many weeks previous to the celebrations, but with my new time constraint, I am giving you some of my favorite recipes I have had tucked away for just such emergencies. So let's begin here on my blog.

As you will see below, I use stout for an authentic taste of Tipperary. Dry stout is Ireland's claim to beer fame. It is a unique tasting brew, almost black in color, very rich in flavor and has a 'roasty', almost chocolaty flavor. Irish stout is drier than most English brews, with Guiness leading the pack the world over. Murphy's and Beamish, however, are just as popular in the Emerald Isle. Lager is made with pride(such as Harp)and equally enjoyed by the Irish as well and can be used in these recipes easily.

An often overlooked Irish import is cheese. Once you have tasted Irish cheese, readily found in most supermarkets, you will wonder why you still buy other aged Cheddar cheeses. Although our American made Cheddar is a delight in many ways, I have never been able to find the 'bite' that a true Cheddar should have......until I fell in love with Irish cheese



New Irish Mac and Cheese

Irish ham is brined and smoked in such a way that you would be hard pressed to find a comparable tasting ham. I adore Irish ham and it is readily available in most supermarkets no matter where you live, just ask the deli clerk. This Mac and Cheese has great Irish crunch from the roasted, seasoned kale, superior Emerald smoothness with the cheese and it is super simple to make.

1/2 bunch kale

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1-1/2 cups cubed, smoked ham, Irish if possible

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cubed

1/2 cup Guiness, Murphy's or Beamish stout

2 cups macaroni

1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces Irish Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Rinse and dry kale leaves, cutting out the tough, center stalks. Tear them into bite-sized pieces and toss them with the olive oil and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Place them on a pan and bake for about 8-9 minutes, or until crispy, browned but not burnt. Keep an eye on them, some may crisp up faster than others so open oven to remove the crisp ones while continuing to cook remainder. Remove from oven while preparing remainder of recipe. Leave oven on.

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add the cubed ham and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook ham, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add stout and continue cooking and stirring until liquid has almost entirely evaporated, about another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside but do not rinse. In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter over low heat; when melted, whisk in the flour until smooth. Raise heat to medium and add milk and pepper, whisking well. Continue cooking and frequently whisking until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cheese, whisking until melted; remove from heat. Add the macaroni, ham, remainder Parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbling. Serve with the crispy kale thrown on top of each serving.

Serves 3

Gloriously Easy and Hearty Irish Stew

A hearty recipe that truly harbors the flavor of the Emerald Isle. I could have tweaked this recipe here and altered it there, but why mess with a dish that simply is great the way it is? As many of you know, lamb is my favorite protein so I wasn't about to play with this great, Irish dish.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 carrots, peeled, sliced

1 onion, peeled and diced small

1 rib celery, sliced thin

2 1/2 cups beef both or stock

1(12-ounce bottle) Guiness stout

1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup cold water



Heat oil in a large 5-quart pot over medium high heat for a minute. Add half the lamb to lightly brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and continue with remaining lamb. Remove that lamb to a plate and add the carrots, onions and celery. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, or until celery is softened. Add lamb back into pot with broth and all stout. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until meat is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove lid to add potatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes, covered. The potatoes should be just soft when pricked. Stir in the cornstarch slurry,well,and continue cooking until stew has thickened,about another minute or two.

Makes enough for 1 Yankee or Irishman..... 3 servings for everyone else.


Yanked Colcannon Potatoes

Rather than using a quarter of a cabbage while watching the rest of the head shrivel and dry in the fridge, why not buy a bag of shredded green and purple cabbage and carrots and slightly cook them for a great side dish to your Irish table? I personally love the crunch of crisp-tender veggies in my Colocannon, pairing well with just right cooked corned beef. Normally cheese doesn't belong with Colcannon, but I truly believe once you tasted true Irish cheese, you will love it as well.

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and halved

1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil

2 cups bagged coleslaw mix

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup milk or half-and-half

Cover potatoes with at least three inches of water and cook over medium-high heat until done.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the garlic and butter. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the coleslaw mix, stirring well and cook for 3 minutes, tossing frequently, or until slightly tender but with plenty of crunch. Cook longer if you don't desire the vegetables to be crunchy in the mashed potatoes. Reduce heat to low and add milk, salt and pepper to taste. Bring milk to scalding but do not boil and then turn off heat.

Drain potatoes and mash by hand or use a mixer. Fold in the milk/coleslaw mixture until well blended.

Enough for 4-6



Crispy New England-Style Colcannon Cakes

Adding sharp Vermont Cheddar in a recipe from or Yankee counterparts recipe is the perfect compliment to each other. There is something about melted cheese coming from a crispy exterior of a soft, mashed potato pancake. This recipe is geared for leftover potatoes but why not make Colcannon Potatoes ahead of time and grill up these tasty patties for your Irish table?

2 cups leftover Colcannon potatoes

1/2 cup leftover corned beef, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

2 cups cornmeal

1/4 cup shredded Vermont extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl, loosen up(or remash) the potatoes with a masher or fork. Fold in the corned beef and form into four 1/2-cup measure balls. Make an indent in each to fill with a tablespoon(or more if you prefer) cheese. Close the gap and flatten out to an inch in thickness. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, nonstick pans are best. Place the cornmeal in a shallow plate. Remove potatoes from fridge and dredge both sides of each potato patty with cornmeal, pressing firmly. when oil is hot, add the Colcannon Cakes and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until well browned. Remove and serve.


Simple Shillelagh Pots

These "custards" are as smooth as the meadows of County Mallow with just the right amount of Irish flavor. This is one of those desserts that I feel needs no adornment, such as whipped topping, but if you desire, whip some up, blending some more Irish liqueur into the whipped cream for a more festive, green accent.

8 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

1/3 cup Irish cream liqueur

Ground nutmeg or cinnamon

4 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until it is just simmering, stirring frequently. Immediately remove from heat. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and sugar in a bowl until as smooth as possible. Whisk a half cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture and then whisk all of the tempered yolk mixture into the pot of milk. Whisk well along with the liqueur.

Evenly pour mixture into six 4-ounce ramekins or bake-safe serving cups. Sprinkle each with nutmeg and place in a large baking dish with sides at least 2 inches high. Pour hot water so that it comes up about halfway up the sides of cups. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the centers are just set. Remove from oven and water bath to cool completely in refrigerator at least 3 hours or until completely set.

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