When Irish stomachs are growling…

21 Mar

Although not well known as a culinary giant, the food of Ireland is delicious. Simple and rustic, the traditional dishes of the emerald isle are perfect for entertaining. In the past week I’ve catered 2 events that wanted an Irish menu. One of the best things about Irish cooking is that there are lots of potatoes and everyone loves potatoes.Irish food has a great way of getting the most flavor out of basic ingredients. My Potato Leek soup is easily transformed into the traditional Irish soup, Colcannon, by adding bacon and cabbage. Lamb Stew is given a classy make-over by adding tri-tip and O’hara’s Irish Red Beer. And, while the Irish are big on desserts, an apple oatmeal crisp with whiskey anglaise pays tribute to the warm and sweet flavors celebrated in their beverage of choice.

The first even I did this week was a luncheon for the teacher’s at my mom’s school in Orlando. The menu was simple and classy and did not lack in flavor. Here’s what I served:

Colcannon
Potato leek soup with cabbage and bacon

Pub Salad
Mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, fried onions and Irish cheddar, served with creamy herb dressing and roasted shallot vinaigrette

Banger Sandwiches
Irish sausage on rolls with whiskey glazed onions and Guinness mustard

Traditional Breads
Irish soda and brown bread served with Guinness butter and jam

Apple-Oatmeal Crisp with Vanilla Irish Whiskey Sauce
Apples baked with brown sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal and topped with a creamy vanilla sauce infused with Irish whiskey

Irish Punch
Lime sherbert and 7-up

The event was really great. I love seeing the teacher’s so happy to have food. There were about 65 fed and I just made it with the food. I really thought that my numbers were right on the money, but I guess those teachers were hungry! Anyway, it the event went off without a hitch. Like I always say, the best events are when the food is gone and people are still talking about it. Next year’s event will have to be even better.

The second event I did was for a good friend in Harrisburg. They asked me to do a traditional Irish dinner for about 12 of their friends. Even though I have cooked Irish food for awhile, and I got a little bit of practice from the luncheon, I was nervous. I mean these people are Irish through and through. They’ve been to Ireland and they know when the food is right and when it’s just not. I was intimidated but I pressed on. Here’s the menu for the dinner party:

Colcannan
traditional potato leek soup with cabbage and bacon

Bangers and Boxties
potato pancakes with Irish sausage and whiskey glazed onions

Chicken and Mushroom Hand Pies
miniature pies filled with chicken and mushrooms, served with a savory dipping sauce

Braised Lamb and Beef with Guinness
Slow roasted lamb and tri tip with root vegetables

Soda Bread with Guinness Butter

Apple Crisp
Apples cooked with cinnamon, brown sugar and oatmeal with Irish Cream Anglaise Sauce

Shamrock Cookies
Decorated sugar cookies with royal icing

This menu is a little more intimate and fun. I could add more details since I didn’t have to do as much volume. Again everything was a big hit. Although my boxties were not quite what they were expecting. There’s a rhyme is in Irish folklore that says: “Boxtie on a griddle, boxtie in a pan, if you can not make a boxtie, you’ll never get a man.” Well, thank God I don’t live in ireland and thank God I’m already married, because my boxties just weren’t right. They tasted good, but they needed to be thinner, more like crepes than pancakes. Lesson learned…

Whenever I do cater jobs I get asked the same thing, can I have the recipe or are these kitchen secrets. Personally I think that a good chef has nothing to hide. I share all of my recipes. Although, I’m mid-book writing and some recipes will have stay mine for a little while longer 🙂

As requested by a few of my clients, here’s the recipe for my apple crisp.

Apple Crisp with Whiskey Creme Anglaise

For the crisp:

2 red delicious apples, large dice
2 granny smith apples, large dice
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the apples with the white sugar, half of the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of flour and the raisins. Put the apples in a baking dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients and top the apples. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the top is brown.

for the anglaise:

1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1 oz Irish Whiskey or Baileys
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In a sauce pan, combine the milk and cream and heat until wisps of steam are visible. While you are waiting for the dairy to heat, wisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Whip until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Add in the vanilla and whiskey. When the milk is hot, slowly add it into the egg mixture, wisking the whole time. Add everything back into the saucepan and stir gently until the anglaise thickens to the point that it coats the back of a spoon. Chill and serve over apple crisp.

Enjoy my friends

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Advertisements

3 Responses to “When Irish stomachs are growling…”

  1. Diane March 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Hi Katie, great seeing you in Florida…I sure could go for a bowl of that Irish soup right now, it is pouring in Orlando and yucky. The shamrock cookies are just the cutest….keep the blogs coming…..sorry about the boxties (not sure I’ve ever had them). Keep trying, practice makes perfect. Get ready for Easter now…

  2. S Lloyd March 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    We have here in Canada the chance of having a strong Irish presence and I’ve always wondered how come there is not that much of Irish gourmet in Canadian restaurants. It is so genuine, authentic, great and should be more advertised. I love Irish food

  3. Rob March 29, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Whoo, Ireland!
    Love those shamrock cookies ~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: