Tuesday, 17 March 2015

An Irish Feast for St. Paddy's Day

By: D’Arcy Murphy and Molly Pearson

We all know about the traditions that make St. Patrick’s Day - the feast day of the Roman Catholic Church celebrating the life of Ireland’s patron saint - so popular. Aside from a few famous beverages from the Emerald Isle, what else is there to mark this feast other than great food? Here is a collection of recipes that will set you up for the perfect Irish meal on St. Patrick’s Day:


Crackers and Cheese:

This hor d'oeuvre is about as simple as it gets, but with quality ingredients, it gets the job done. Both main ingredients, although imported from across The Pond, are available at any grocery store.

-Kerrygold Dubliner Cheddar, Imported from Ireland
-President’s Choice Biscuits for Cheese, Imported from England
-Thinly sliced pears or apples

Main Course:

Champ (Mashed Potatoes):

An adaption of plain mashed potatoes from the North of Ireland, champ is simply creamy mashed potatoes with green onions. For an even more delicious texture, whip the mashed potatoes with an electric mixer/eggbeater before adding the scallions. This recipe should make about four servings, but champ is so good you may want to make a double batch!

*Recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/irish-champ/

-2 pounds of peeled and quartered potatoes
-½ cup of milk
-½ cup of cream (half & half or whole)
-1 bunch (about 6 roots) of thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
-½ cup of butter
-salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender.
  2. Drain the pot of water, leaving the tender potatoes.
  3. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher until smooth.
  4. Whip in the milk, cream, scallions, butter, and salt & pepper.
  5. Serve with a pad of butter and more chopped scallions on top if desired.

Minted Peas:

Minted peas add a fresh and flavourful component to the meal. This simple side dish pairs excellently with the following roast lamb.

*Recipe adapted from 14 Years of Microwave Cooking by Madame Jehane Benoit.

-2 tablespoons of butter
-1 bunch (about 6 stems) of diced scallions (green onions)
-2 cups of fresh or frozen peas
-2 tablespoons of water
-2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint
-1 teaspoon of white sugar
-1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  1. Place the butter in a microwave safe container and melt in the microwave for approximately 1 minute on HIGH.
  2. Add the green onions and stir until coated by the butter.
  3. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Microwave for an additional 5 to 6 minutes covered on HIGH.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Leg of Lamb:

This indulgent roast will be savoury and tender every time. This recipe is designed for a boneless leg of lamb, but can be adapted for a bone-in roast. Do not trim fat from the roast until after cooking in order to prepare the most tender and flavourful roast possible. The Irish love their potatoes (even enough to have them in two dishes in one meal), so feel free to add potatoes to the roasting pan in addition to the ones in the champ.

*Recipe loosely adapted from http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/lamb-recipes/best-roast-leg-of-lamb/#GQzIcwE1UF0YlQfa.97

-1 boneless leg of lamb (about 1.5-2 kg), tied
-2 tablespoons of dried rosemary
-salt and pepper
-¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
-8 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
-1 medium onion, roughly chopped
-2 pounds of chopped root vegetables (ie. parsnips, squash, carrots, or potatoes)

  1. Adjust oven racks to lowest possible level and preheat your oven to bake at the highest temperature possible (ie. 550°F).
  2. Remove lamb roast from packaging, but keep netting on, and rub with half of the dried rosemary.
  3. Rub the olive oil all over the roast along with the rest of the rosemary and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the onions and garlic in the centre of a large roasting pan and rest the roast on top, fatty side up.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes to sear the outside of the roast.
  6. Remove pan from the oven and surround the roast with the carrots, potatoes, and a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary (if desired).
  7. Lower oven temperature to 300°F and return the pan to the oven.
  8. Cook the roast for approximately 90 minutes more, or until meat has reached desired doneness in the middle (145 °F is medium rare, 160 °F is medium, or 170 °F is well done).
  9. Remove the roast from the oven. Place carrots and potatoes in serving dish, cover roast with foil, and allow to rest for fifteen minutes before carving.
  10. Carve, serve, and enjoy!

Soda Bread:

This versatile baked good makes a great breakfast, can be served with a roast, or is nice with jam or devon cream for dessert. Along with the rest of this meal, serve slices of soda bread warm with butter. This recipe makes one large loaf.

*Recipe from Myrtle Allen’s Cooking at Ballymaloe House by Myrtle Allen

-3¼ cups whole-wheat flour
-1¼ cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons salt
-1½ teaspoons baking soda
-½ cup less 1 tablespoon quick-cooking or regular rolled oats (not instant)
-about 2½ cups buttermilk or sour milk (ie. milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar left to stand for 15 minutes until curdled)

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Sift flours, salt, baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in the oats.
  3. Make a well, pour in buttermilk, stir with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a soft, moist dough. Add a bit more buttermilk if it seems too dry.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and form into an eight inch disk.
  5. Cut a deep cross into the dough, almost cutting it into quarters.
  6. Place the dough onto a buttered baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 20-25 minutes more, or until the bread is brown and crusty.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack before slicing.


Mock-Shamrock Shake:

The code to the ice-cream-based classic from McDonald’s has been cracked. This sweet treat is a fun way to conclude your St. Paddy’s Day feast in style. Serves one.

-1½ cups vanilla ice-cream
-1/2 cup milk
-10 drops green food colouring
-1 teaspoon peppermint extract
-whipped Cream (optional)
-chocolate Syrup (optional)
-1 maraschino cherry or fresh mint leaf (optional)

  1. In a blender, combine the vanilla ice cream, milk, green food coloring, and peppermint extract, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Pour the shake into a tall glass.
  3. Top it off with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, maraschino cherry and mint leaf.

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