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Milford Beacon
  • Jim Hillibish: Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with Irish beer recipes

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  • The Irish love their beer, but not all of it goes to drinking.
    The foamy fermentation is a flavor driver in a number of traditional Irish recipes, especially the Irish stew served after Mass on St. Patrick’s Day.
    Irish beef stew differs from English or American stew by serving it atop separately cooked potatoes. The mashed spuds become a sop for the gravy. That’s the essence of colcannon, mashed potatoes with leeks and butter shaped into a boat to hold the stew. If you try this, you might not eat stew any other way.
    Another version of colcannon is as a potato side dish without the stew. Some add crumbled, fried bacon and boiled, chopped cabbage.
    Irish beer bread is a simple but satisfying quick bread. Feel free to add more sugar if you like it sweeter. If the colcannon does not suit you, ladle the stew over warm slices of this flavorful bread. Otherwise serve with butter and marmalade for an authentic Irish taste.
    IRISH BEER STEW
    3 pounds beef chuck roast
    3 tablespoons flour
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    12 ounces dark beer, such as Guinness
    1 cup onion, chopped
    1 cup carrots, sliced
    1/2 cup parsnips or turnips, peeled and sliced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground pepper
    Trim fat from beef and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Dust cubes with flour. Heat olive oil in stew pot and brown beef. Add beer and stir until gravy forms. Add remaining ingredients and simmer covered for an hour or until beef is tender. Adjust gravy with more beer if necessary. While the stew cooks, make the colcannon.
    IRISH COLCANNON
    2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
    1 1/2 cups chopped leek whites
    1 cup milk
    1 pinch ground mace
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    Boil potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Simmer leeks in milk with mace for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and mash, adding milk and leeks to the consistency you desire.
    Mound on plates, creating a well in the center. Add butter. Ladle stew over potatoes and serve.
    Optional: Crumble 2 slices of fried bacon over the stew. Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.
    Serves 6.
    IRISH BEER BREAD
    3 cups flour, white or whole wheat
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
    4 tablespoons melted butter
    1 1/2 cups dark beer
    Grease a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the melted butter and the beer, stirring until smooth. Pour into baking pan, drizzle with remaining butter.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 375 F or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let sit in pan for five minutes. Then turn out onto a rack to cool.
    Makes 1 loaf.
    Reach Jim at 330-580-8324 or jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.
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