Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on March 4, 2011
Éirinn go brách… Ireland forever!
FOOD. GLORIOUS IRISH FOOD.
On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone becomes a little bit Irish…
Irish food is typically extremely frugal. Main ingredients for most dishes include potatoes, root vegetables, pork, fish, lamb, a bit of beef once in a while, eggs, tomatoes, and oatmeal. Not all that fancy, but dependably filling and delicious. And cheap. Those thrifty Irish have known how to stretch their food budgets and food provisions for centuries — for a bit on Ireland’s culinary history, check out this site, World Cultures European.
Despite popular belief, corned beef and cabbage is not the national dish of Ireland. Although, it is extremely popular to serve in American households on St. Patrick’s Day. And most US supermarkets sell corned beef briskets for a song about now, so make room in the freezer and buy several before the prices zoom back up.
When available, recipes or food site/recipe links will accompany the “Fab Food Friday Fotos,” with a guarantee that at least one of the included recipes will be a frugal recipe.
Background on barmbrack from Wikipedia:
Barmbrack (Irish: bairín breac) is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins.
Usually sold in flattened rounds, it is often served toasted with butter along with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The dough is sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, and the sultanas and raisins add flavour and texture to the final product. In Ireland, it is sometimes called Báirín Breac, and the term is also used as two words in its more common version. This may either be from the Irish word báirín – a loaf – and breac – speckled (due to the raisins in it), hence it means a speckled loaf (a similar etymology to the Welsh bara brith).
This recipe for Irish barmbrack is from Allrecipes.com:
Irish Barmbrack Recipe
* 1 3/4 cups brewed black tea, cold
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cups golden raisins
* 1/4 cup chopped candied citron
* 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
* 1 egg, beaten
1. Put the tea, sugar, raisins and peel into a bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch round pan.
3. Sift the flour into the fruit mixture, add the egg, and beat well.
4. Pour into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Everyone has their personal preferences with Irish stew… some want it to have chunks of lamb, others want pork, others want beef. Since no recipe accompanied the photo above, I’ve hunted down two totally different, thrifty Irish stew recipes — one with lamb, the other with beef. The photo above appears to have corned beef in it — you could try adjusting either of the two recipes below to use left-over corned beef.
Here’s the Irish stew with lamb recipe, found at the fabulous Australian website Taste.com.au:
Whether you cook it in a slow cooker or in the oven, this Irish stew is hearty and delicious!
Ingredients (serves 6)
* 1.25kg lamb neck chops, trimmed
* 1/2 cup plain flour
* 3 brown onions, chopped
* 1kg sebago potatoes, peeled, sliced
* 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 3 cups boiling water
* 3 beef stock cubes, crumbled
* 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
* 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped, to serve
1. Cut lamb chops in half. Place flour in a plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Place chops in bag and shake well to coat. Transfer chops to a plate. Reserve flour.
2. Preheat oven to 130°C. Place onions, potatoes and carrots in an ovenproof dish. Top with half the chops. Repeat layers with remaining onions, potatoes, carrots and chops.
3. Whisk reserved flour, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons cold water in a large jug until well combined. Slowly add boiling water, whisking constantly. Add stock cubes and parsley. Stir to dissolve stock cubes.
4. Pour flour mixture over chops. Cover and cook for 4 hours or until meat tender and sauce thickened. Sprinkle with mint and serve.
Tip: You can also cook this stew in a slow cooker. Combine the ingredients as above and cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
Make the most of summer entertaining with pasta salad recipes, potato salads, barbecue recipes and fish & seafood recipes.
Recipe for Irish Beef Stew, from Simply Recipes:
Irish Beef Stew Recipe with Guinness
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
* 6 large garlic cloves, minced
* 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
* I cup of Guinness beer
* 1 cup of fine red wine
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon dried thyme
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
* 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
* Salt and Pepper
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2. While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.
3. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.
Serves 4 to 6.
No recipe accompanied this gorgeous photo, but I found this incredibly easy recipe for colcannon and corned beef at RecipeLand:
Corned Beef with Colcannon Potatoes Recipe
* 1 corned beef brisket
* 4 cups cabbage, shredded
* 1 cup onion, chopped
* 3 cups mashed potatoes
Prepare corned beef according to package directions.
Toward the end of the roasting, cook the cabbage and onion in a small amount of boiling salted water for 15 minutes.
Drain. Stir into mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
Photographer Winnie So wrote this about the meal at the Irish Heather Pub:
$12 plus tax Roast Duck Leg With Colcannon Potatoes, Mushroom And Foie Gras Jus – Pint Of Guinness.
Such a great meal for only $12.
Photographer Irish Typepad gives some interesting culinary Irish history:
Smoking fish in Ireland goes back as far as the Celts. Several hot-smoking processes involve oak shavings and Irish turf — just like centuries ago. Combine the authentic method with the local food and you have a real taste of home.
Photographer/cook ndh used this Irish whiskey cake recipe at vegweb to make this cake.
Again, sadly, no recipe was included with the St. Patrick’s Day feast photo above, but here’s a tantalizing recipe for corned beef that uses ale and mustard… I may try this one this year, don’t know yet. From Cyber-Kitchen.com:
Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage
* 2-3 pound cut of corned beef
* 24 ounces ale (dark)
* 2 carrots, cut into chunks
* 12 small red potatoes
* 4 onions, peeled and quartered
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard (Colman’s)
* 1 large sprig thyme (optional)
* 1 head cabbage, quartered
Place the beef in a large pot with the ale, carrots, potatoes, onions, mustard and thyme (if using). Add just enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer gently 2-3 hours.
Halfway through, check the vegetables: when they are tender, remove them and set aside. Add the cabbage quarters and cook until tender, about 15 to 30 minutes. When the meat is tender, return all vegetables to the pot and reheat. Serve the meat in slices, surrounded by the vegetables and broth.
NOTE: Can remove the meat from the pot when tender, place it in a casserole dish and bake it just long enough to let it brown and dry out somewhat. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
When you don’t have any yeast or a lot of time, this is the frugal bread to make! This recipe for Irish Soda Bread was gleaned from All Recipes:
Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup margarine, softened
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 1/4 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.
There are so many delicious, easy recipes out there for making corned beef and cabbage. For folks who work outside the home, this next recipe is an excellent time-saver, as it uses the crockpot… this recipe for a one-dish, slow-cooked Irish-influenced dinner is from Cooks.com — check out the site for more amazing recipes. I love how this recipe calls for parsnips and turnips.
CROCKPOT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
* 1 (3 to 4 lb.) corned beef brisket
* 1 large head cabbage (preferably savoy)
* 8 peppercorns
* 6 cloves garlic, peeled
* 4-5 parsnips
* 1-2 turnips
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 pound carrots (not baby), peeled
* 6 large potatoes
* 1 stalk celery, very thinly sliced
* 3 whole cloves (spice)
* 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
* 1/4 tsp. black pepper, ground
Wash brisket. Using a small sharp knife, cut tiny X slits in the meat and insert garlic and cloves pieces.
Place the meat in a large crockpot and cover with water. Add bay leaves, peppercorns, Old Bay seasoning, 2 carrots, and sliced celery.
Heat on high for 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that surfaces and set heat to low.
Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Quarter the cabbage, peel potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsnips. Slice vegetables into 2 inch chunks.
During last few hours, add remaining vegetables and continue to cook for 2-3 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves and discard.
Drain and serve with yellow mustard.
Total Cook Time: 5-8 hours on low, or until meat and vegetables are tender.
How to cook turnips, Irish-style for St. Patty’s Day… from Your Irish website:
Another popular meal in Ireland is made from turnips. As Ireland has a wet climate, it’s the perfect place for growing turnips, which is popular in the farming industry.
Like potatoes the turnips are cheap to purchase, easy to make, and can be added to a variety of meals.
Ingredients for cooking an Irish meal with turnips
* Turnips – 1 lb to serve 4 people
* Butter – ¼ cup
* Salt & black pepper
Preparing the turnips
First wash and peel the turnips.
Cut the turnips into small cubes.
Place the cubed turnips into a large pot of salted water and cook for approx 20 minutes or until tender.
When cooked drain the turnips.
Using a large frying pan, melt the butter in the pan and then add the cubed turnips.
Cook the turnips for approx 5 – 10 minutes or until a golden color.
Once cook some people prefer to mash their turnips in the same way mashed potatoes are made and serve them in a large dish.
Another corned beef and cabbage recipe — this one is from Epicurious, which uses the stovetop:
Corned Beef and Cabbage
* 5 pounds corned brisket of beef
* 6 peppercorns, or packaged pickling spices
* 3 carrots, peeled and quartered
* 3 onions, peeled and quartered
* 1 medium-sized green cabbage, quartered or cut in wedges
* Melted butter (about 4 tablespoons)
Place the corned beef in water to cover with the peppercorns or mixed pickling spices (in supermarkets, these often come packaged with the corned beef). Cover the pot or kettle, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 hours or until tender, skimming occasionally.
During the last hour, add the carrots and onions and cover again. During the last 15 minutes, add the cabbage. Transfer meat and vegetables to a platter and brush the vegetables with the melted butter. Serve with boiled parsley potatoes, cooked separately. (The stock can be saved to add to a pot roast or stew instead of other liquid.)
One more unique corned beef and cabbage recipe that I stumbled upon at IrishPhiladelphia.com — this recipe is intended to feed an army of people at a St. Patrick’s Day party, so if you are planning to make it just for your family, be prepared to have days’ worth of delicious leftovers. Nothing wrong with that…
McGillin’s Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe
This traditional Irish-American recipe comes from our friends at McGillin’s Olde Ale House on Drury Street in Philadelphia. We stopped in there the last couple of parade days and had some great beer, but couldn’t make our way to the food (what a crowd!). Looks like we should have tried harder. McGillin’s has been contributing to the IrishPhiladelphia Virtual St. Paddy’s Day Cookbook since it began three years ago. Thanks, guys!
* 12-15 lb corned beef
* 3 cups water
* 6 Tbsp pickling spices
* ½ cup white wine vinegar
Place corned beef in roasting pan, pour water and vinegar into pan, sprinkle pickling spices over corned beef. Roast for 3 hours at 300 deg F. Strain juice, save on side.
* 1 white cabbage, wedged into 1/8’s
* 2 lb carrots, cut into chunks
* 1 tsp salt and pepper
* 1 cup water
Skewer each wedge of cabbage with a toothpick to retain shape during cooking. Line pan with cabbage wedges, chunks of carrots, salt & pepper, and water.
Cook 1 hour at 250 deg F (makes cabbage & carrots sweeter). Retain juices.
* 5 lbs red bliss potato, halved
* 5 tsp butter
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 4 tsp rosemary, chopped
* 3 tsp salt & pepper
Bake in single layer, 1 hour, at 350 deg F.
Mix corned beef juices & cabbage juices.
On your dish place cabbage wedge, carrots, and corned beef. Place potatoes around the sides and pour small amount of mixed juices over the whole platter.
I truly love the photo of the vintage Irish yeast business above — photographer Infomatique posted this background info on the company, along with the answer to this pressing question:
ARE THEY STILL IN BUSINESS?
This small shop, over a century old, wedged somewhat appropriately between high-rise financial buildings opposite Trinity College, Dublin may be a quaint anachronism in a fast-changing city landscape, but it is still holding its own. Originally founded by a Dublin barrister in the 1890s to supply fresh yeast to Dublin bakeries, it changed direction when it was taken over by its present owners, the Morelands in the 1940s.
Although it still supplies fresh yeast, its main business now is wedding cake and icing equipment and the windows are artfully decorated with silvered cake boards, cake ornaments, pillars, icing syringes, nozzles and forcing bags, attracting customers from all over the country.
Food photos selected and posted are credited and have Creative Commons-licensed content with some rights reserved for noncommercial purposes, unless otherwise noted.
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