Chances are you have heard of Irish Soda Bread. Perhaps you have even made it yourself. Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread leavened with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) that is activated by acidic buttermilk. Easy and quick to make because there is no yeast and no waiting for the dough to rise, this bread can be pulled together as easily as making tea biscuits or scones though the baking time will be longer. Continue reading Irish Soda Bread Recipe
I love an elegant afternoon tea on any given day of the year but there are certain holidays and special days that really open up many options for creative and inspiring tea events. For me, St. Patrick’s Day is one of them as the colors of the Ireland flag are great inspiration for the color theme of the tea table as well as for the food itself. What follows is my Irish-themed St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea. Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea
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.
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.
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 Irish Soda Bread, rolls, or bread of choice 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!
[Printable recipe follows at end of post]
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew
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
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
- 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
- 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. Copyright My Island Bistro Kitchen 2018
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Tis the day for the wearing of the green! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
My teatime today offers some aspects of a time-honored classic menu but also offers some more modern fare to tempt the palette.
Warm currant and orange zest scones served with a selection of jams
Spinach Pinwheel Wraps filled with roasted turkey breast, cheddar cheese, and fresh spinach
Pistachio & Chocolate Pudding
Lemon Spritz Cookies
Tea Selection: Twinings Irish Breakfast
Instead of the traditional sandwiches, I opted to serve these pinwheel wraps which are super easy to make. I used a garlic herb cream cheese spread mixed with a good quality olive oil to make it almost the consistency of mayonnaise. I spread that over each spinach wrap, then added two thin slices of roasted turkey. I added some chopped orange pepper and fresh spinach and then sprinkled grated cheddar cheese over the top. I rolled the wraps and placed them in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing and serving them.
After the sandwiches came the scones, fresh and warm from the oven.
I brought the wee bottles of jam home with me from Stratford-Upon-Avon last October. I knew they would fit in perfectly with my teatime menus and would bring back nice memories of a wonderful cream tea we enjoyed in Stratford-Upon-Avon!
In keeping with my green theme, I made these small pistachio puddings.
The base is ground up chocolate cake (ground Oreo cookies would also work). My featured Island product today is chocolate sauce made on PEI by J.J. Stewart Food and Soda Company. I drizzled a couple of teaspoons of the tasty sauce over the chocolate crumbs then added some pistachio pudding, topped with Cool Whip and sprinkled with chocolate crumbs. A tasty little dessert!
Tweed Squares and Lemon Spritz shortbread cookies decorated with orange and green gumdrops rounded out the dessert course.
My tea choice for today was Twinings Irish Breakfast blend.
Since we were having our tea around noontime, I figured I could get away with a breakfast blend tea and this black tea is one of my all-time favorites….anytime of the day.
And, of course, I used my Shamrock-patterned dishes
and my Irish linens that I bought some years ago at the Blarney Castle.
Instead of flowers on my tea table, I chose a small Oxalis plant, more commonly known as the Shamrock plant, with its tiny star-shaped white flowers. (I looked but didn’t find any four-leaf clovers on this plant!)
And, when it all came together, this is what my tea table looked like.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into how we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. What are your St. Paddy’s Day traditions?
Pistachio and Chocolate Puddings
The little glasses I used only hold a scarce 1/4 cup so, if you are using larger dishes, you will need to vary the amounts accordingly but it is easy as there is really no right or wrong measurements in these puddings!
Add about 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp of ground up chocolate crumbs to each dish. Lightly tamp the crumbs on the base of each dish. Drizzle about 2 tsp chocolate sauce over the chocolate crumb base.
Prepare instant pistachio pudding mix according to package directions. Spoon about 2 tbsp pudding onto chocolate base of each cup. Top with Cool Whip (or your favorite whipped topping). Sprinkle with chocolate crumbs.
An Irish Blessing
May your troubles be less
and your blessings be more
And nothing but happiness
come through your door.
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