Shall we start with dessert first? Or perhaps sip on it while we're making dinner? :)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Whether you are Irish or not, no one cares because everyone loves to get in the Irish mood this time of year.
To get my Irish feast started, I chose Colcannon soup from Kevin Dundon, author of Full On Irish, along with some freshly baked Cheddar-Herb biscuits from Margaret Johnson, the author of five Irish cookbooks. (You will find all of these recipes at the end).
Both the soup and the biscuits were wonderful! I decided to leave out the called-for cream and butter in the soup and I'm glad I did. The soup needed neither and was delicious on its own.
The biscuits were flaky and flavorful and I could have eaten several. They are best right out of the oven. I found the following day they had already dried out. Rather than fresh herbs, which I did not have on hand, I used chopped scallions and they were perfect with the cheddar cheese.
The hot whiskey-flavored coffee sipped through the cold, whipped cream is one of the best Irish traditions I can think of, warm and soothing like a fisherman's knit sweater.
Sláinte agus saol agaib! Health and long life to you all! And remember, half a loaf is better than no bread at all!
Cheddar-Herb BiscuitsAdapted from Margaret Johnson, Irish Cookbook Author
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for serving
4 ounces Kerrygold Vintage Cheddar (1 cup), grated
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, and tarragon
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter the wells of a 12-cup (1/3-cup capacity) muffin pan.
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse 2 to 3 times to blend. Add the butter and process for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and herbs and pulse 2 to 3 times to blend. Add the egg and buttermilk, and process for 10 to 20 seconds, or until a soft dough forms. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter. Makes 1 dozen
Colcannon SoupAdapted from Full On Irish by Kevin Dundon
Serves: 4 - 6
2 oz rindless streaky bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
8 oz potatoes, diced
1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
5 oz Savoy cabbage, thick stalks removed and shredded
1 1/4 pints vegetable stock (I used chicken stock)
1/4 pint cream (I did not use)
1 oz butter, diced and room temperature (I did not use)
Heat a large pan and sauté the bacon over a medium to high heat for a couple minutes until the fat comes out. Stir in the onion, potatoes, leek and cabbage, then cover with a lid and sweat over a medium heat for 10 minutes until well softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
Pour the stock into the cabbage mixture and bring to a boil, then season to taste. Stir in the cream (if desired) and simmer for a few minutes until the soup has a creamy texture.
I omitted this next step:
To Serve, remove the soup from the heat and whisk in the butter. It is important not to reboil the soup once the butter has been added or you’ll find it will curdle. Ladle the colcannon soup into serving bowls.
Adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen
Trish Archer's Gaelic Coffee
1 measure of Irish whiskey
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
Strong black coffee
Softly whipped cream
Warm a medium sized wine glass with hot water. Pour out the water and put the sugar and whiskey into the glass. Add the coffee and stir well. Pour the softly whipped cream out of a pitcher over the back of a spoon on to the top of the coffee. The cream should float on top of the coffee so don't attempt to stir.