Other St. Patty’s Day recipes for your perusal, if desired: Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish-Watercress Sauce & Irish Stew with Lamb and Stout
Last spring my husband, Richard, and I rented a car to explore Ireland. We anticipated a rolling emerald landscape dotted with thatched cottages and bleating sheep, and to be regaled by the fabled Gaelic wit, “trad” music and spirited pub culture. Certainly we didn’t go for the food, their culinary reputation forecast to be as dour as the certainty of rain.
So what a surprise to experience two weeks of blue skies and creative menus and plates inspired by moments-from-the-sea fish, farm-to-table beef, lamb, and cheeses not to mention bounteous vegetables imaginatively prepared.
Times have changed on the Emerald Isle and itineraries may be built around savoring the food. In the many menus we perused, however, the items we didn’t see were the ones most expected: corned beef and cabbage. According to Wikipedia, “…In Ireland today, the serving of corned beef is geared toward tourist consumption and most Irish in Ireland do not identify the ingredient as native cuisine.” Richard and I steered clear of the touristy haunts, so perhaps that explains the menu omissions.
The following recipe does not so much resemble a recipe imagined from Aunt Fiona’s days in County Claire, as it does a dish with as much St. Patty’s day kitsch as a dancing leprechaun in a field of clover.
My roots may be Irish, but I’ve always followed the American tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage washed down with a hefty ale on St. Patty’s day. I make no apologies; corned beef and cabbage, when properly prepared, are scrumptious.
In the the following recipe, I combined all foods an American might associate with Ireland: potatoes, Irish cheese, corned beef and cabbage. Irish stout was even a part of the dish, as it was added to the cheese, and the chopped spinach and parsley lent the lucky green color.
The result? Delicious, the bonus being the stuffed potatoes may be made 24 hours in advance to baking. I make twice-stuffed potatoes often, and in a variety of ways. I included my reduced-fat version in the recipe, as well.
This year I purchased my corned beef, ready made, from The Bread Basket on Carpenter Road, kitty-corner to Lowe’s. I’ve found their Sy Ginsburg corned beef to be as good as what I make in my own kitchen, and I’m happy to have the option of paying a bit extra to purchase the meat lean. If you haven’t tried a reuben from this jewel of a deli, get in your car and drive there. Now.
May your dreams come true at the end of a rainbow, a sprinkle of gold dust at your feet. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!