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Irish

Kerrian’s Notebook, p. 139 “Irish Brown Bread”

 

Ireland is a fabulous place to visit from Spring right through early Fall. The place has plenty of top-notch scenery, challenging golf courses, stud farms, and castles galore. And, it has all that really great food. Sheila and I had loads of fun going from tea room to pub to restaurant, sampling traditional Irish dishes.

 

The one constant at lunch wherever we went was the dense brown bread. It varied slightly in taste with different bakers, but it was usually served with soup or at afternoon tea, with jam, butter or honey.

 

Of course, when we came back to the States, Sheila and I created our own version of the bread so that we could serve it on St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, it is on the table with the soda bread, giving our guests a chance to try both. To be clear, Sheila does the baking and I do the tasting and cleanup. We make a great team in the kitchen.  🙂 

 

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"Irish Brown Bread"
Author: 
Recipe type: bread
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 ¾ cups stone ground whole wheat flour, plus additional Tablespoons if needed
  • ¼ cup regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 4”x8” loaf pan
  • non-stick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, blend all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt.
  2. Cut in butter until mixture forms pea sized crumbs.
  3. Stir in whole wheat flour and oats.
  4. Add buttermilk, using bread hook if available. If mixture is sticky, add in more whole wheat flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, just until the dough has a smooth, dry surface.
  5. Place dough ball on a lightly floured board and knead 6-7 times, shaping into a loaf.
  6. Spray 4”x8” loaf pan with non-stick spray and place dough in the pan.
  7. Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.
  8. Test for doneness with metal skewer.
  9. Remove from pan immediately and cool on rack.
  10. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
 

Serve with butter, jam, or honey and enjoy!

 

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

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Kerrian’s Notebook, p.101 “Kerrian’s Favorite Shepherd’s Pie”

 

Kerrian’s Shepherd’s Pie

 

 

Ireland is a land with great small pubs tucked into the corners of the countryside, both a traveler’s relief and a tourist destination. Enter at lunchtime and prepare to enjoy one of the several rustic dishes that Ireland is famous for – lamb stew, colcannon, peasant soup, brown bread, bangers and mash, fresh fish, or Shepherd’s Pie. During one of our trips, Sheila and I realized that there are as many versions of Shepherd’s Pie as there are cooks in the kitchen. We had always thought that perhaps, except for spices, the ingredients would be the same everywhere. Nope. I think the only common factors we found were the peas and carrots in every bowl (or plate) served. Even the toppings varied from pub to pub – we had both pie crust and mashed potatoes covering the tasty meat and veggie dish. Some had ground lamb for the meat, instead of the beef that we use in this recipe.

Shepherd’s Pie, in whatever form, is a fairly simple dish to create. After tinkering a bit, this is what Sheila created. And, of course, taste tested by me.

"Kerrian's Favorite Shepherd's Pie"
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups mashed potatoes (save the potato water to be used later)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled, diced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced OR two Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 pounds ground beef (we used 93% lean)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 Tablespoons of the mashed potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup potato water
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400F
  2. Cook carrots in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium heat, cover while cooking.
  3. Sprinkle the salt over the carrots and stir.
  4. Sprinkle the onions (or onion powder) over the carrots, mix thoroughly and cook for another 2 minutes, keeping covered.
  5. Add the beef and stir well.
  6. Add black pepper and stir thoroughly.
  7. Brown meat (about 10 mins), then drain the fat.
  8. Add butter and peas and stir.
  9. Sprinkle the flour over the mix. Mix completely.
  10. Add 4 tablespoons of mashed potatoes, potato water, and Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly, keeping covered while cooking 2-3 minutes to thicken.
  11. Add chicken stock and stir, continuing to cook until gravy is thick, about 2-3 minutes.
  12. Season to taste.
  13. Divide meat into six pot pie dishes, then spread about 1 cup of mashed potatoes over each one.
  14. Arrange pies on cookie sheet in center of oven and bake about 20-25 minutes, until potato topping is lightly browned on top.

Serve right away, with brown bread and butter.

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

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Kerrian’s Notebook, p. 70 “Irish Peasant Soup”

 

 

 

During our last trip to Ireland, Sheila and I had lunch in many different restaurants, in both big cities and small villages throughout the country. We were surprised to see that there were two comfort foods common to every mid-day menu: Brown Bread and Irish Peasant Soup. While I’m traveling, if I find something I like to eat, I tend to stick with it, just to be on the safe side. Sheila says I should be more adventurous, but IMO, odd sauces can cover up a LOT of mystery meat.

Having said that, we discovered that each of the places had different recipes for the soup. Sheila came up with this combination of vegetables after striking up a friendship with a chatty cook who revealed that the soups are basically created using whatever is fresh from the garden that week.

 

Irish Peasant Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, (no leaves) diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 quarts (64 ounces) organic low sodium chicken broth (Swanson’s)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ¾ cups baby carrots, sliced
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon fine sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped kale
Instructions
  1. Saute diced celery in olive oil until translucent (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth if needed to keep from sticking.
  3. Add powdered garlic and onion powder. Stir.
  4. Add sliced carrots, sliced parsnips, minced garlic and salt.
  5. Add 1 cup more chicken broth, stir, cover and bring to low boil, cooking until parsnips fork tender (about 20 minutes).
  6. Stir occasionally.
  7. After parsnips are fork tender, add the kale and the remaining chicken broth, cover and continue on simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.
  8. Remove soup from pot a little at a time and puree in blender or food processor until desired consistency, setting aside until entire contents are pureed.
  9. Return puree to pot and lightly season with salt, etc. to taste.
  10. Reheat before serving.
Notes
Note: If making ahead, this soup gets a little saltier in the refrigerator by the next day.
 

 

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