The defining element of Irish stew is the use of lamb neck, or scrag.
Traditionally it is made more like a casserole than a stew. Actually it bares an uncanny resemblance to boulangère potatoes. Lamb, potato rounds, and other vegetables are layered in a casserole, then covered with stock or water and baked in an oven.
Lamb neck is a very tough cut of meat. I sear and braise the necks to tenderize, then use the shredded meat and cooking liquid to make the stew.
Once the necks are very tender to the tip of a paring knife, I remove them from the liquid and let cool briefly. While the necks are still warm I fold back the meat … Continue reading.
Originally published March 18, 2012.
Cream, rich as an Irish brogue;
Coffee, strong as a friendly hand;
Sugar, sweet as the tongue of a rogue;
Whiskey, smooth as the wit of the land.
-a traditional toast accompanying Irish coffee
The Irish coffee typically served in restaurants here either has cream stirred into the drink, or whipped cream floating on top. The traditional way to enjoy the drink is to gently pour heavy cream onto the surface of the coffee so that it floats, then sip the coffee through the cream.
Let’s discuss ingredients.
The Coffee – Use good coffee. Brew it strong.
The Sugar – Irish coffee is made with brown sugar which has a distinct, cooked, molasses-like taste. … Continue reading.
Originally posted on March 18, 2012
Corned beef, also known as salt beef and spiced beef, is a national dish of Ireland. Recipes vary, but the cure is usually made of kosher salt, curing salt, a heap of brown sugar, and spices like clove, allspice, black pepper, and mustard seed. The cured meat is gently simmered (usually in water, sometimes in beer) until tender, and can be eaten hot or cold.
To clarify, corned beef has nothing to do with maize. “Corn” was once a broad English term for a small bit, whether a grain of wheat, or a crystal of salt. “Corned beef” is beef that has been covered in corns of salt.
Like most charcuterie, corned beef … Continue reading.
St. Patrick’s Day, now one of the kitschier holidays we celebrate, has been completely divorced from its origin. March 17 is actually the Catholic feast day for St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The details of St. Patrick’s life are often debated, but for my purposes the popular traditions and stories are more important than the historical facts. It’s the legend of St. Patrick that has informed the beliefs and practices of Catholics for more than a thousand years, so in a sense the legend is truer than whatever the truth is.
Patrick was probably born in Scotland, but at a young age he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery to an Irish chieftain. He escaped, … Continue reading.
This post is about simple potatoes dumplings, served in an interesting potato broth.
Conversations about potato dishes usually focus on texture (the ideal French fry has a crisp exterior and fluffy interior, the ideal mashed potatoes are smooth but not gummy…) I love this broth because it makes you think about how potatoes taste. Potato skins are used to infuse a vegetable broth with potato flavour, without any of the thick starchiness we associate with potato soups.
Let’s start with the dumplings. The key to pillow-like potato dumplings is to have very little moisture in the potatoes. This way the milled potatoes will require less flour to form a dough, and there will be accordingly less gluten in the finished … Continue reading.