Tag Archives: mini potatoes

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

I love a bowl of rich Irish Stew any time of the year but, for certain, I will make it around St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a filling and tummy-warming stew that is always a welcome sight on the dinner table.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

According to my research, traditional Irish Stew was made with cheap cuts of mutton or lamb and basic root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips. Years ago, these would have been ingredients that were, no doubt, simply what would have been available at the time in the Irish countryside where sheep were raised for their wool and for food and when, before the potato famine, potatoes were a primary Irish crop.

Over the years, Irish Stew recipes have changed according to the locale and what ingredients are available in the cook’s local area.  For example, beef is often used in North America today instead of lamb in Irish Stew and other ingredients are added to make a more flavourful, hearty stew as opposed to a broth-like dish.  Purists might argue that these changes result in a brand new stew recipe altogether and is something entirely different than the original Irish Stew.

Regardless what it is called, I like my version of Irish Stew!  It has a nice rich, robust flavour and a splendid reddish-brown color that comes primarily from the addition of tomato paste with the aid of some red wine and the Guinness.  Using Guinness and red wine also helps to tenderize the meat and also adds to the flavour of the stew.  I don’t add huge amounts of either as the intent is not to “drown” the natural flavours of the beef and veggies but rather to blend and enhance flavours.

Any kind of potato can be diced and used in this recipe.  However, with the ready availability of mini potatoes in recent years, I like to use the tiny potatoes left whole with peelings on. I think they add an interesting element to the stew. If you can’t find the really small, mini potatoes, use slightly larger small potatoes sliced in half, lengthwise.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

The nice thing about Irish Stew (once you have all the veggies cut up) is that it is an all-encompassing meal with all the vegetables in one dish (no worries about getting different pots of vegetables all cooked at the same time for the meal and a real bonus of only having one pot to wash).  This meal-in-one stew really needs nothing more for a hearty meal than a slice of bread, rolls, or garlic bread and perhaps some homemade mustard pickles on the side.

I like to slow-cook this stew in the oven at 325°F for a couple of hours as opposed to cooking it on the cooktop.  I find oven-cooking allows the flavours to slowly blend and the stew to gradually thicken as it cooks. The longer the stew cooks, the thicker the sauce will be but the stew should be cooked only until the vegetables are fork-tender, not mushy. If the sauce has not all cooked up with the vegetables (some varieties of potatoes, for example, will soak up more sauce than others), it makes a great dipping sauce for the bread or rolls!

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Ingredients
3/4 pound stew beef chopped
1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil

1 cup carrots sliced
2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup turnip, diced
1 leek sliced  (white and light green part only)
3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole)

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 – 5.5 oz can tomato paste
1 – 10 oz can beef consommé
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Guinness
1 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 bayleaf

Instructions
Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.

Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.

In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil.

Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.

In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.

Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Irish Stew

A rich hearty stew made with beef and a variety of vegetables and flavoured with Guinness and red wine

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb stew beef, chopped
  • 1 -1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup turnip, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole, peelings on)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 5.5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 10 oz can beef consommé
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bayleaf

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.
  3. In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 - 1½ tbsp olive oil.
  4. Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.
  5. In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.
  6. Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Recipe Notes

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

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Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

Baked Stuffed Fingerling
Baked Stuffed Fingerling

I love miniature potatoes. They’re fun to work with. They make wonderful hors d’oeuvres, are the perfect size for roasting, and are the ideal size to drop into soups just the way they are without cutting them up.

Through the Food Bloggers of Canada association of which I am a member, an opportunity arose this fall to take little creamer potatoes produced by the Little Potato™ Company of Alberta and create an original recipe using the potatoes. Coming into the Christmas party season, I immediately saw them as potential hors d’oeuvres.

Stuffed Baked Fingerlings
Stuffed Baked Fingerlings

The Little Potato™ Company grew their first acre of tiny potatoes in 1996. A father and daughter team, Jacob Van der Schaaf and Angela Santiago, planted, weeded, and harvested the first crop by hand. It was a success and soon Angela began marketing the potatoes at Farmers Markets and to restaurants.

The tiny potatoes grew in such popularity that production expanded and, today, the Little Potato™ Company grows six varieties of the little gems which are available at grocery stores across North America, including at the local Co-op store in my hometown of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The produce manager at the Co-op Food Market on Walker Drive tells me that these potatoes have quite a loyal following of consumers on the Island.  To learn more about The Little Potato™ Company and their various varieties of miniature potatoes, visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook.

The Little Potato Company varieties of potatoes available at the Co-op Food Market on Walker Avenue in Charlottetown, PEI
The Little Potato Company varieties of potatoes available at the Co-op Food Market on Walker Avenue in Charlottetown, PEI

Two bags each of Little Potato™ Company yellow fingerlings and Something Blue® mini potatoes arrived via UPS at my door one evening. I was thrilled that the oblong fingerlings were sent since they are the perfect shape and size to use when making miniature stuffed baked potato hors d’oeuvres. The recipe I have created especially for these little creamer potatoes can also be used to stuff mini round potatoes as well but the shape of the fingerlings really lends them to being stuffed attractively.

I have used some fine PEI products in the tasty filling I created for the potatoes. The sausage came from KJL Meats in Charlottetown, the herb and garlic mild gouda cheese from Cheeselady’s Gouda now being produced in New Glasgow, and a brand new product on the market – Aldanel™ “Tomato Celebration” tomato sauce made in Charlottetown.

Any flavour of sausage can be used in this recipe. My choice is sweet Italian but, if you like hot flavours, then chipotle would be a good option. The sausage needs to be removed from its casing and it is important to break up the sausage meat really well as it is being scramble-fried because it is going to be piped through a pastry bag. Also, its purpose is to add flavour to the filling and a large chunk of sausage is not desirable in a tiny hors d’oeuvre.

It’s also necessary to extract as much fat as possible from the cooked sausage as the fat can drip through the potato skin and make a messy hors d’oeuvre. To remove the fat, let the cooked sausage drain in a colander for about 15 minutes then wrap the meat in paper towel, repeating the process a couple of times, if necessary, to remove the excess fat.

The little fingerlings take about 15 minutes to cook. Once they are removed from the boiling water, just barely let them cool enough that they can be handled. Slice each fingerling in half, horizontally. Then, using a melon baller, remove the potato pulp, leaving about a 1/16th inch thick wall of potato in each half to give the potato shape. Transfer the potato pulp to a potato ricer.

Press the potato through the ricer into a small bowl. The potatoes can be mashed instead of ricing but the potato ricer gives a smoother, finer texture that is completely lump-free.

Add the remainder of the ingredients to the riced potato and mix well.

The filling can be transferred to the potatoes with a spoon but a piping bag and Wilton tip 8B makes the job quicker, easier, and will give a neater presentation.

Add a sprinkle of paprika, and pop these little hors d’oeuvres into a 375ºF oven for about 12 minutes. Use either a parchment-lined baking sheet to bake the stuffed potatoes or, if you have a baguette pan, it works really well, too.

Garnish, if desired, with a sliver of green onion or chopped chives, then serve to the delight of guests at your next party.

Stuffed Baked Fingerling Hors d'oeuvre made with potatoes from The Little Potato Company
Baked Stuffed Fingerling Hors d’oeuvres made with potatoes from The Little Potato Company

Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

Ingredients:

1 – 4 oz sausage (e.g., Sweet Italian, Sun-dried Tomato, Chipotle, etc.)
1 tsp olive oil

12 Little Potato Company fingerling creamer potatoes
½ tsp liquid chicken bouillon
½ tsp minced garlic
1 green onion, finely chopped
1½ tsp truffle aioli
2 tbsp sour cream
3 tbsp Cheeselady’s Herb & Garlic Mild Gouda cheese, finely grated
1½ tsp Aldanel™ “Tomato Celebration” tomato sauce
⅛ tsp basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Paprika
Slivers of green onion tops or chopped chives for garnish

Method:

Heat olive oil in small frypan. Remove sausage from casing and crumble. Add to hot oil. With the end of a flat, heat-resistant lifter or spatula, continue to break up the sausage as it cooks. Scramble fry until sausage is brown, approximately 7-10 minutes. Transfer sausage to a colander and let fat drip out for about 10-15 minutes. Then, roll the cooked sausage in paper towel to remove any remaining fat. Set aside.

Cook fingerling potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

As soon as the potatoes are just cool enough to handle, cut each in half, horizontally. Using a melon baller, remove the potato pulp from the skin, leaving about a 1/16th inch thick wall of potato in each half to give the potato shape. Transfer potato pulp to a potato ricer. Press pulp through ricer into small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with Wilton tip 8B. Pipe filling into each fingerling half. Sprinkle with paprika. Place mini stuffed potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in the cradle of a baguette pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Remove and garnish with a sliver of green onion or chopped chives. Serve hot.

Yield: 24 hors d’oeuvres

Disclosure:  The potatoes used in this recipe were provided to me, free of charge, from The Little Potato™ Company for the purposes of sampling them and creating a recipe with them.  The recipe for Baked Stuffed Fingerlings in this posting is an original recipe developed by me in my home kitchen.

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