Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blog Rewind: Irish Recipes and 'Siah's Story

This morning, I asked my kids if they were ready to eat Irish food today. Noah came alongside me, put his arm around me and smiling said, "How did I get the mom who takes every holiday or tragedy as an opportunity to make me eat food from somewhere else?"

(He is most recently referring to a day of Haitian food--recipes available on the blog--and Canadian food on the night of the Olympic opening ceremonies!)

He gave me a squeeze and I hugged him back.

"Look at it this way, buddy... at least you don't have a chance to be B-O-R-E-D."

"You don't have to spell it, Mom." he replied. "That word is not ACTUALLY a swear."

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you likely already know that the "B" word is not allowed in our house. : ) But, I do love keeping my family on their toes by offering a new meal, every now and then. St. Patrick's Day is the perfect opportunity to expose them to Irish food, something we rarely have in our home.

Last year, I made shepherds pie... and died the mashed potatoes green. We ate cabbage and drank green lemonade and all of it was really fun. This year, we are trying something new. For dinner, we are having Irish stew with colcannon and soda bread. For dessert, we are making homemade shamrock shakes. Want the recipes?

Braised Beef Irish Stew and Colcannon:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 slices bacon
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1/4 cup milk, warmed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2.Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot, and brown the meat in 2 batches, stirring to brown the cubes on all sides. Return all the meat to the Dutch oven, sprinkle with flour, and stir lightly to coat the meat with flour. Stir in onion, carrots, dark beer, bay leaves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cover.
3.Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven, and cook for 45 minutes; uncover, stir the stew, and cook until the beef is very tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 45 more minutes.
4.Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
5.About 30 minutes before the stew is ready, make the colcannon: Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.
6.Place the cabbage into a microwave-safe bowl, and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on High for about 2 1/2 minutes; uncover (watch out for steam) and stir the cabbage. Cover and microwave for about 2 1/2 more minutes, until the cabbage is slightly tender but not mushy. Drain excess liquid, and set the cabbage aside, covered.
7.Place the potatoes into a large bowl, and add milk, butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Beat the potatoes with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Stir in the cabbage, crumbled bacon, and parsley until well combined.
8.To serve, place a scoop of colcannon onto a plate, make a hollow, and fill with braised beef stew.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2.In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Copycat McDonald’s Shamrock Shake


•2 cups vanilla ice cream or soy ice cream
•1 1/4 cups 2% low-fat milk or soy milk
•1/4 teaspoon mint extract
•8 drops green food coloring


1.Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
2.Stop blender to stir with a spoon if necessary to help blend ice cream.
3.Pour into 12-ounce cups and serve each with a straw.

I have a quick story to share with you about the year that Josiah first learned about St. Patrick's Day. He was just 3 years old and attending a local preschool. On March 17th that year, I picked up my sweet boy from school and we started driving toward home. As we drove, 'Siah started talking about how good St. Patrick was.

He said, "Did you know that St. Patrick was a bishop in his church? He was a missionary, too."

"'Siah, that's awesome that you learned so much about St. Patrick today. Sounds like he did some good things." I replied.

'Siah nods his head emphatically and then adds.... "I think he was a leprechaun." :)

Blessings on your day!

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