St.Patrick’s Day is a really big deal in some parts of Canada. Every store window suddenly springs to life with leprechauns and shamrocks, and on March 17th you’ll encounter a sea of green wherever you go.

It’s nice that so many people enjoy celebrating the life of the patron saint of Ireland, but a lot of what you know about St.Patrick’s Day is more myth than fact. Did you know that the official colour of St.Patrick wasn’t green but blue? Or, instead of parties complete with green beer, St.Patrick’s Day was originally a quiet day spent in solitude and reflection. Even more shocking, St.Patrick wasn’t born in Ireland, he was born in Wales.

None of these facts will take away from the festivities on March 17th, and with St.Patrick’s Day is almost here,try for a bit of the luck of the Irish with these recipes. They’re great if you’re celebrating at home or if you want to share a bit of the Irish heritage with friends.

 

Irish Soda Bread

The first time I tried Irish Soda bread I thought it was like eating a big biscuit. It has that flaky texture to it, and although I’ve tried a few recipes that were pretty bland, I like this recipe. You can add raisins or caraway seeds to liven it up a bit. Image and recipe from Canadian Living.

Ingredients:

2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) flax seeds or sesame seeds
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
Topping
1 tbsp (15 mL) all purpose flour

Directions

In large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flax seeds, sugar, baking soda and salt.

In small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and oil. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir with fork until soft dough forms.

On lightly floured surface and with floured hands, press dough into ball; knead lightly 10 times. Place on greased baking sheet; gently pat out dough into 6-inch (15 cm) circle.

 Sprinkle the flour topping over loaf.

With sharp knife, score large X on top of loaf.

Bake in centre of 375ºF (190ºC) oven for about 45 minutes or until golden and tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Irish Stew

I just did a review of the , and this is the perfect stew to try in it. I love a good Irish Stew, especially with a side of soda bread. Image and recipe from Simplyrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 teaspoons of salt (more to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock or broth
2 cups water
1 cup of Guinness extra stout
1 cup of hearty red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots and/or parsnips (3 to 4 carrots or parsnips)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Brown the beef: Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt over the beef pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large (6 to 8 quart), thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.

Pat dry the beef with paper towels and working in batches, 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 and brown on another side.

Add garlic and sauté, then add stock, water, Guinness, wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme Worcestershire, bay leaves, simmer: Add garlic to the pot with the beef and sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the beef stock, water, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, then cover and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Sauté onions, carrots in separate pan: While the pot of meat and stock is simmering, melt the butter in another pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots. Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step 2 has simmered for one hour.

Add onions, carrots, potatoes to beef stew, simmer: Add the onions, carrots, and the potatoes to the beef stew. Add black pepper and two teaspoons of salt. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off any excess fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

 

Black Velvet Baby Cakes

This is a true Irish recipe, and to be honest I was a little out of my comfort zone when I made them. Thankfully they turned out great, and they are like any other cake but you can taste a bit of bite thanks to the Guinness. This recipe asks you to use dariole moulds, but I used a cupcake tin and it worked out well.  Image and recipe from BBC.com

Ingredients:

1/2 cup softened butter
plus extra for greasing
3/4 cup light brown soft sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
½ tsp baking soda
5 tbsp cocoa, plus a little extra for decorating
3/4 cup Guinness

For the cream

¾ cup double cream
¼ cup icing suger
Splash Champagne

Directions

 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the bases of 6 dariole moulds with baking parchment. Put the butter, sugar, egg, flour, ground almonds, bicarbonate, cocoa and Guinness in a mixing bowl. Beat together until lump-free. Divide between the tins then bake for 20-25 mins until risen and a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool for 15 mins, then remove from tins and cool completely – the same way up they baked, don’t turn upside-down.

Whip cream with the icing sugar and splash of Champagne, if using, until thick. Spoon a dollop onto the top of each cake and dust with a touch of cocoa. Serve with glasses of Champagne.

 

 

The Irish Derby

I couldn’t do a post on St.Patrick’s Day without adding a traditional Irish Drink. This drink recipe dates back to the 1940’s. Photo and recipe from Seriouseats.com.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey, such as Redbreast
1/2 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao (or Cointreau)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice from 1/2 lime
2 dashes Angostura bitters
4-inch lime twist for garnish

Directions

Add whiskey, sweet vermouth, curaçao, lime juice, and bitters to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime twist.

Irish eyes will definitely be smiling if you whip up a bunch of St.Patrick’s Day recipes. Here are a few kitchen tools to get you started.


It’s easy to cut up beef for stew with a chef’s knife

You’ll be able to toast the Irish in style with these cocktail glasses

Soda bread bakes up perfectly on a baking sheet