Adding a little Irish flavor to St. Patrick's Day

Cooking with Cathie

editorial@sierrastar.comMarch 4, 2014 

I got to thinking about a phrase I often heard but didn't understand. Have you ever used, or heard, the term faith and begorrah? There are various spellings for begorrah. From what I have learned, the first part, faith, was used to precede some strong assertion and would have translated as something like by my faith (meaning, by my Christian religion). The second part, begorrah, probably originated as follows: being reluctant to say by God, the common people said something like by Gor, pronouncing it be Gor, which in time became begorrah.

In former times, people not only were reluctant to say by God, they were thoroughly afraid because one of the Ten Commandments postulates: Thou shalt not use My name in vain. This led to quite a few veiled references to God, such as Geeze (for Jesus), or to other heavenly characters. I can't vouch for the authenticity of these explanations, but this seems to be the popular explanation for the faith and begorrah saying.

Now, on to food. It is not an easy task to come up with new recipes year- -after-year when it comes to traditional St. Patrick's Day dishes. The vast majority of people enjoy having the same meal every March 17. I thought it might be fun to shake things up just a little, by presenting some recipes that incorporate some of the traditional ingredients but in a different way. You can still enjoy your boiled dinner, but perhaps you might like introducing one or more new items to the menu. Let's see what we can cook up.

Reuben snack rolls

  • 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 5 flour tortillas (10 inches), room temperature
  • 7 packages (2-oz. each) deli corned beef, thinly sliced
  • 15 thin slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 can (14-oz.) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained

  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, mustard and horseradish until well blended. Spread a heaping tablespoonful of cream cheese mixture over each tortilla.
  2. Layer each tortilla with eight slices of corned beef, three slices of cheese, another heaping tablespoonful of cream cheese mixture and 1/2 cup sauerkraut. Roll up tightly. Chill for 1 hour. Cut each roll-up into 1/2-inch slices. Makes about 8 dozen.

Irish sausage rolls

This recipe was created by an Irish lass named Mairead (rhymes with parade) and came from her efforts to produce a sausage filling here in the USA that tasted like what she was used to in Ireland. Hope you enjoy it.

  • 3 puff pastry sheets
  • 1 egg, beaten with a bit of milk or water (for egg wash)

Sausage filling:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried fennel (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

1 egg, beaten

  1. Grind the dried spices, salt and pepper in a coffee grinder. Add the ground spices and minced garlic to the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and mix together.
  2. Add the ground pork to the seasoned breadcrumbs and combine using your fingers. Add half of the beaten egg and mix thoroughly until the meat mixture begins to stick together. Discard the excess egg.
  3. Using your hands roll the sausage, forming 4 cylindrical shapes about 3/4 inches thick and 10 inches long. Set meat aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Open a thawed puff pastry sheet on a floured surface. Cut into 3 strips about 3 inches wide and 10 inches long.
  5. Place a 3-inch piece of the preformed sausage meat on the pastry close to the edge. Roll the pastry around the meat, overlapping underneath by one inch. Cut the pastry roll, then roll it back to brush the lower layer with egg wash. Re-roll and seal the lower seam.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut two diagonal 1/2-inch slits in the top surface of the roll. Repeat the procedure to form 18 sausage rolls. Lay the prepared sausage rolls on the baking tray in rows and one inch apart. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven when golden brown on top. Cool the sausage rolls on a wire rack. Serve hot or cold, as desired. (I find that the pastry is crisper when served right out of the oven.) Makes 18 rolls.

Chocolate  Guinness cake

  • 1 cup Guinness (Irish stout)
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  • 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat stout and butter until butter is melted. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and cocoa until blended. Combine eggs, sour cream and vanilla; whisk into beer mixture. Combine flour and baking soda; whisk into beer mixture until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  2. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan.
  3. For topping: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and cream; beat until smooth (do not over-beat). Remove cake from the pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake so that it resembles a frothy pint of ale or stout. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

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