Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

That means Happy Saint Patrick's Day in Gaelic. In Suffolk County, Saint Patrick's Day conveniently falls on Evacuation Day. It's probably more like Evacuation Day conveniently fell on Saint Patrick's Day but we won't question it. Evacuation Day is the day in 1776 when the British retreated from Boston Harbor. Since we wanted the day off to get drunk on green beer were so proud of that first Revolutionary War victory, today is an official holiday in Boston.

And here in Boston, it certainly felt like we had the luck of the Irish today. It reached 65!
However, because it was so warm, and because I feel like I'm getting sick, I didn't go through the ritual I usually do.
Usually I make a traditional Irish-American boiled dinner with Corned beef, Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots. And that part I did this year too. however I usually make some real Irish food too. And while I didn't make them I'm going to share my recipes, in case anyone feels like making some real Irish food and not boiled dinner, which is actualy completely Irish-American. you won't find people in Ireland eating Corned Beef today!

I found these in Saveur magazine a few years back and have tweeked them to my liking.

Irish Lamb Stew
3 lbs. trimmed boneless lamb stew meat
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
7 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and halved
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas ( I prefer frozen baby peas)
2T Beef Base
2T Chicken Base

1. Preheat oven to 250°. Put the lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, parsley, and 2 cups water into a large ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
2. Once the stew comes to a simmer, cover the pot and transfer to the oven to let cook until the lamb is just tender, about 2 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and gently stir in the peas. Cover and return the pot to the oven. Continue cooking until lamb is fork tender, about 30 minutes more.
3. Add in both the beef and chicken bases to taste. Sometimes I use more or less depending on how flavorful my meat is.
4. Allow the stew to sit, covered, for 20 minutes, then spoon into bowls and serve hot.

This is my favorite Irish dish ever. My family thinks I'm crazy but I think that's just as well because it means it's all for me!

4 lbs. potatoes peeled and
12 tbsp. butter
1⁄2 small head cabbage, cored and thickly sliced
2 lightly packed cups chopped greens (any
combination of spinach, parsley, kale, or broccoli
or cauliflower leaves) (I always use all kale)
1 1⁄3 cups milk
4 scallions, green part only, chopped (I always forget to add these)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Boil the potatoes until tender. You're supposed to steam them but that's too much work for me.
2. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp. of the butter to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, discarding liquid, and set aside.
3. Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped greens and sauté until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and cook until heated through, 1–2 minutes, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Put milk, scallions, and remaining butter into a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until scallions are softened, 1–2 minutes, then add to cabbage mixture and cover to keep warm.
5. When potatoes are done, add to cabbage mixture and mash with a potato masher until fluffy and smooth with some chunks. Season to taste. Serve hot.

So those are my real Irish recipes for Saint Patrick Day. It was just too nice to stay in and make them today but now I'm craving colcannon and I'll be making a big batch soon, I know!

P.S. My trip was awesome and I'll definitely post about it but this seemed easier for today :D