I was pleased to discover that in my family history, I have some Irish (as well as Scottish) descendents, on my mom’s side of the family. They go way back, but it’s just enough to give me some roots to celebrate. One day I plan to visit Ireland, and I bet I head straight for the food! I like a good corned-beef boiled dinner, served with some stone-ground mustard mixed with prepared horseradish. I had a friend from Dublin, but he informed me he didn’t know any families who ate corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day over there. He did say that it’s true they eat a lot of potatoes. If you plan to celebrate this holiday on March 17, here are some recipes you might like. Don’t forget to wear something green so you don’t get pinched! I don’t have any green clothes, so I wear a crocheted shamrock.
Boiled corned beef dinner
This recipe is for those seeking a very basic, traditional recipe. It is shared by Ann Hester, who says it originated from her great-grandmother from Ireland.
1 (5 1/2 pound) corned beef brisket
2 large onions
15 small white potatoes (you can also use red or gold ones)
10 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces (I prefer to peel the carrots)
2 heads cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
1. Rinse the beef brisket under cold water, and place in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the roast by 6 inches. Peel the onions, and place them in the pot with the roast. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 30 minutes at a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so that the water is at a gentle boil, cover, and cook for 3 1/2 hours.
2. Remove the lid from the brisket pot. Remove onions, and cut into wedges. Return them to the pot. Add carrots to the pot, then place the cabbage over the roast. Place the potatoes on top of the cabbage. Place the lid back on the pot, and cook for another 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. The potatoes should be immersed in the water by now, but if not, keep the lid on so they can steam.
3. Remove the vegetables from the pot, and place in a separate serving bowl. Keep the corned beef in the pot until ready to slice and serve because it dries out quickly.
Irish soda bread
This recipe has been passed around for a long time, and I only know that someone said it was their Irish grandmother’s recipe. It is not the dark type that you are likely to find in a Dublin restaurant, but a light version. I like both types!
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup corn oil
1 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and corn oil. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Add the raisins, and stir a few times, just until the ingredients come together into a soft dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and with floured hands shape dough into a ball. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet, and cut a large cross in the top with a sharp knife.
4. Place the bread on a middle rack of the preheated oven, and bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Irish flag cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Irish flag frosting (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream together butter and confectioners’ sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix well.
2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Blend into the butter mixture. Divide dough into thirds and shape into balls.
3. Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick on a floured surface. With a knife, cut dough into rectangles about 2-by-3-inches long.
4. Place rectangles on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
5. To frost cookies: With Irish flag frosting, make a 1-inch green stripe on the left side of the rectangles and a 1-inch orange stripe on the right side, leaving the middle one inch unfrosted (You could also frost the centers, if you divided the frosting into thirds and left 1/3 untinted, but you would probably need to increase the amount of frosting in the recipe.)
Irish flag frosting
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
2 drops orange food coloring
2 drops green food coloring
1. Blend confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla. Add just enough water to make frosting easy to spread.
2. Divide frosting into 2 small bowls. Add 2 drops of orange food coloring to one bowl and 2 drops of green food coloring to the other bowl. Mix each until the colors are even.