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The not so Traditional Irish Dinner

Corned beef and cabbage is often thought of as the traditional Irish meal.  Everyone wishing to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day has to eat at least one helping while washing it down with a pint of Guinness.

In North America corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, there is considerable debate about the association of corned beef with Ireland. Mark Kurlansky, in his book Salt, states that the Irish produced a salted beef around the Middle Ages that was the “forerunner of what today is known as Irish corned beef” and in the 17th century the English named the Irish salted beef “corned beef”.  Some say it was not until the wave of 18th century Irish immigration to the United States that much of the ethnic Irish first began to consume corned beef dishes as seen today. The popularity of corned beef compared to bacon/rasher among the immigrant Irish may have been due to corned beef being considered a luxury product in their native land, while it was cheaply and readily available in America.

In Ireland today, the serving of corned beef is geared toward tourist consumption and most Irish in Ireland do not identify the ingredient as native cuisine.  Given the option I much prefer a traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie made with lamb but Corned Beef works for me as well, especially when it is free. This year you are invited to The Celtic Ranch on Saturday, March 18th for free Corned Beef and Cabbage at the St. Patrick’s Day Hangover Party. NO! you do not have to have a hangover to attend. If you can’t make it to The Celtic Ranch then here is a recipe so you can make your own dinner.  I would give you a recipe for Guinness Stout as well but trust me that is a secret Guinness is not sharing. Slainte!

Ingredients:

1 medium onion cut into wedges

4 large red potatoes, quartered

1 pound baby carrots

3 cups water

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 corned beef brisket with spice pack (2-1/2 to 3 pounds) cut in half

1 small head of cabbage, cut into wedges

Directions:

Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 6 to 7 qt. slow cooker, combine the water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet, pour over vegetables, top with brisket and cabbage.

Cover and cook on low for 8 – 9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Discard bay leaf before serving.  Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

 

 


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Summer Food In Ireland

When you think of Irish Food, do hearty dishes like mutton stew, shepherd’s pie and coddle come to mind? While most of us love these Irish classics, they are not fit for a hot summer day in America, or even a warm, rainy day in Ireland. So what do the Irish eat in the summer months? Summer food in Ireland isn’t all meat and potatoes, although you’re still likely to see both on an Irish table.

Summer food in Ireland tends to be on the lighter side, with fresh ingredients like salmon, trout, berries, mussels, crab and summer greens, along with staples like lamb, beef, and berries-1225101_960_720chicken. Additionally, Ireland has all the same global influences as America, so modern Irish food tends to have exotic notes of far away lands, such as Greece, India, Spain, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico and even The United States. So, it’s not surprising that you might find lamb kabobs, beef burritos, or even hot wings at an Irish picnic.

Some of the more traditional Irish summer food that you might find are simple, delicious and wholesome dishes like steamed mussels, smoked salmon, Irish potato salad, assorted Irish cheeses, grilled or roast lamb and of course, or a simple sandwich and a bag of crisps.

Here’s the perfect traditional Irish Potato Salad Recipe courtesy of Irish Central

The Perfect Irish Potato Salad Recipe from Irish Central

The Perfect Irish Potato Salad Recipe from Irish Central

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Serves 5 / 6 people (as a side)

Ingredients

500g/1 lb small new potatoes

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt and a little freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives to garnish

Method

– Put the potatoes on the boil for 20 to 25 minutes. Until they fall off the knife when you stab them

– Strain them and cut them into bite-sized pieces if needed. Pour into bowl

– Add butter and stir until melted

– Add mayo, and salt and pepper and stir until potatoes are coated

– Garnish with chives

– Clean off the side of the bowl and add a spoon to serve

Enjoy!

 


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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s day meal in the United States, most commonly it is served with Colcannon, or another type of potato. What a lovely Irish dish! Except that it isn’t Irish at all, but is American in origin.

First, corned beef is a salt-cured meat, so named because it uses large pieces (or corns) of salt. There’s not a bit of corn to be seen. Besides being used in corned beef and cabbage, it is used in many dishes including corned beef hash, sandwiches, and Montreal smoked meat. The salt acts as a preservative for the meat, and gives it a pinkish color, even when cooked. Now, the origins may trace back to the Irish, who used bacon in traditional dishes, and may have substituted the corned beef as a less expensive alternative.

Cabbage may have been a substitute for potatoes, as they were more expensive and cabbage offered a hearty alternative. When cooked with the beef, it became the spicy delicacy we serve today.

Potatoes are a traditionally Irish dish, served at almost every meal, so for Americans or Irish immigrants to add this was a natural step. Corned beef and cabbage recipes call for an addition of carrots to add extra flavor and nutrition to the dish.

How do you cook a good corned beef and cabbage? It really is easy, crock pots, and roasting pans are the most commonly used methods, and the addition of the cabbage is made about halfway through the cooking process, giving the cabbage time to soak up the flavors of the meat without getting unappealingly soggy. Potatoes can be added when the meat starts, or cooked separately and combined with butter and the cooked cabbage from the meat to make Colcannon. We also found some great recipes on allrecipes.com

corned beef

Corned beef and cabbage, allrecipes.com

We love buying our corned beef from a local company, Boyles Corned Beef, which can be found in grocery stores locally and nationally. They have the best advice on cooking this particular delicacy.

“Low and slow is the best way to prepare cured or “corned” meat-an hour per pound is the general rule of thumb.”

So whether you’re cooking for St. Patrick’s Day, or for an every day hearty meal, remember that while this is an Irish inspired dish, it’s origins are as American as apple pie.

Corned beef and cabbage

Boyles Kansas City Corned Beef

 

 


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Irish Comfort Food

Winter isn’t over just yet, and in the chilly months nothing beats comfort foods. In America we love our spicy rich chili, mashed potatoes, and of course macaroni and cheese in all its glorious incarnations. While we all have our favorites, sometimes we need to branch out (there’s only so much macaroni and cheese you can eat), at the Celtic Ranch we recommend Irish comfort foods. There’s a comforting simplicity to many traditional Irish dishes, which often include rich blends of spices, root vegetables, meats, and the ultimate comfort food for many of us: the potato. We’ve compiled a list of some Irish delicacies, and included the links to the recipes.

Nothing says “Irish comfort food” like stew. We’re especially fond of any stew that includes a good stout, as many of them do. This recipe calls for garlic potatoes, we also suggest Colcannon potatoes, for a delicious variation. Our thanks to Damn Delicious for the recipe.

Previously we mentioned Colcannon, for those of you who have been at Celtic Ranch when we’ve had food, chances are good you’ve had this delicacy. The combination of potatoes and cabbage make this a really Irish dish, and one that is a favorite of all us ranchers. Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes. 

Coddle. Just the name implies comfort and indulgence, the best parts of Irish comfort foods! This combination of sausage, bacon, and potatoes makes for a robust almost soup like dish, served hot on a winters day with soda bread and a stout it’s like a blanket for your tummy! Recipe from Epicurious.

We can’t leave off Shepherd’s Pie, with its mashed potato top and savory flavors you’ll have a warm glow inside and out. This recipe calls for spinach, which adds a delightful bit of iron for cold days.  Our thanks to Delish for this recipe.

Soda bread is a popular addition to the meals listed above, it’s a great way to sop up the liquids from a stew or coddle as well as an excellent vehicle for butter (as are most things). It’s a simple bread to make, requiring no rising and few ingredients. One of our favorites around the ranch. (For those of you interested in bringing us baked goods). Recipe courtesy of Kerrygold USA.

Now that we have some basic Irish comfort food covered, let’s move on to dessert. We recommend our famous Celtic Ranch Stout Brownies. Rich chocolatey brownies, with a whiskey fudge topping are a delightful way to stave off winter doldrums, since chocolate releases endorphins in the brain to give you a sense of well-being, as well as containing anti-oxidents to help maintain your physical health. It’s practically a vitamin!

Of course, nothing is more comforting in winter than a hot toddy. We’ve found a traditional

Photo courtesy of irishamericanmom.com

Photo courtesy of irishamericanmom.com

Irish recipe that’s guaranteed to warm those bones. This is slightly different than its American counterparts, we find it very satisfying. To pick up your favorite whiskey, visit the store, or to find you favorite whiskey attend one of our whiskey tastings. Hot toddy recipe courtesy of Allrecipes UK.

All in all, no one does comfort food like the Irish, so fix yourself a hot toddy, get in your kitchen, and make yourself a warm up. Spring will be here soon enough, for now enjoy a little comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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