St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
I didn’t know anyone Irish, growing up in Hilo, Hawaii. And my only awareness of St. Patrick’s Day was remembering to wear something green to avoid getting pinched at school.
So there was definitely a learning curve when I started work on Kerrygold’s public relations ten years ago. And what a rewarding education it has been!
I have had the pleasure of traveling to Ireland four times, meeting the dairy farmers, the butter and cheese producers, and the chefs, TV cooking show stars, cooking teachers, and cookbook authors who personify Irish food today. And through these introductions, I have developed tremendous respect for the food culture of Ireland.
Talented chefs are producing world-class fare, drawing from the riches of the land and sea – from the smoked salmon to the spring lamb to the butter and cheeses made with milk from grass-fed cows that graze on Ireland’s emerald pastures. The grass really is greener in Ireland and so lush, I’ve been tempted to nibble on some myself!
Since I’ll be out of town on business during St. Patrick’s Day, I baked a loaf of soda bread on Saturday. It’s easy to make on a whim; the active time required is only 10 or 15 minutes and it uses just a few household staples (although you may need to make a supermarket run for buttermilk). As soon as my soda bread came out of the oven, warm, crusty and irresistibly fragrant, I cut thick slices from the steaming loaf and slathered it with Kerrygold butter, which melted into the tender crumb.
The recipe is from Darina Allen, grande dame of Irish cooking and owner of the world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School, located on a 100-acre organic farm in County Cork, of which ten acres are devoted to organic market gardens, orchards and greenhouses. If I ever have the chance, I’d love to take some classes at this remarkable, forward-thinking school.
To accompany the recipe below, there is an excellent, four-minute how-to demo by Darina on the Kerrygold website. Once you see how easy it is to make, I guarantee you’ll head straight for the kitchen and start baking.
Irish Soda Bread
1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups), plus additional flour for sprinkling
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
13 to 16 ounces buttermilk (depending on the consistency of the buttermilk)
Preheat the oven to 450° F. In a large, wide bowl, combine the flour, salt and sieved baking soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and baking soda.
Make a well in the center and pour in all the buttermilk. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl, seconds later, the dough should be made.
Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the floured worktop. (Fill the bowl with cold water so it will be easy to wash later.)
Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges. Sprinkle a little flour on a baking sheet and transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Tuck the edges of the dough ball underneath with your hands; gently pat the dough with your fingers to flatten into a loaf about 1 1/2-inch thick. Now wash and dry your hands.
Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the center of the four sections to let the fairies out of the bread).
Bake 15 minutes then reduce heat to 400°F for a further 15 or 20 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes until cooked (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.
- Brown Soda Bread: Replace half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
- Dubliner Soda Bread: Before baking, brush loaf with egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk) and sprinkle with shredded Dubliner cheese.
- Cheese Scones: After the soda bread has been shaped, flatten it out and cut into pieces to form scones. Brush tops with egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk), dip tops into shredded Dubliner cheese and bake, cheese-side up, 10 minutes in a 450° F oven; cool on wire rack.
Recipe slightly adapted from Darina Allen, chef/owner of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, cookbook author and TV cooking personality.
Here are some other St. Patrick’s Day dishes from the Special Fork database that you may like to try this St. Patrick’s Day.
- Irish Potato Leek Soup – this versatile recipe by Andrew Hunter can be served as a hot chowder, or chilled and puréed to serve as a cold starter.
- Dubliner Shepherd’s Pie – I love this recipe and make it whenever I want comfort food on any cold night.
- Grilled Baby Lamb Chop with Carrots on Champ – this recipe by Lori Powell, is a complete, celebratory St. Patrick’s Day meal for one.
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