Fun and tasty treats for March 17thby Justine Jane Taft
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these great Irish recipes.
Although somewhat stereotypical, potatoes are a great Irish food and there are so many ways to cook them. An old favourite in my family is potato pancakes, also known as “boxty”. There are lots of ways to make this recipe. Here’s a simple version.
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup mashed potatoes (cooked)
1 cup of finely grated potato (raw)
2 eggs (well beaten)
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
Skillet/ frying pan
Sift baking powder and salt into a bowl. When well mixed, blend in the mashed potatoes. Squeeze the raw potato in a tea towel to remove excess water and starch. Add raw potato, eggs and milk to bowl.
In your skillet or flying pan melt butter (you can substitute olive oil, or a non-stick spray). Drop teaspoons of batter into the pan, press down to flatten. Cook for approximately four minutes on each side or until golden.
Irish Soda Bread
While my family may have loved boxty as a tradition, I have many other friends with Irish heritage who love their Irish soda bread. This bread rises quicker than regular bread, using baking soda and not yeast, and can be livened up by adding dried fruit.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp flax seed or sesame seeds
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Whisk all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flax seeds, sugar, baking soda and salt together in bowl.
In the smaller bowl, whisk buttermilk and oil together. Add to dry ingredients then stir with a fork until it forms into a soft dough.
Press dough into a ball, and knead lightly. Place on greased baking sheet and gently pat out into a six inch circle.
With a sharp knife, mark a large x on top of loaf.
Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 45 minutes or until golden (tester inserted into centre should come out clean).
Corned Beef (and cabbage)
Corned beef is another Irish favourite. You can buy sliced of corned beef from the grocery store to make a simple sandwich or you can cook a full dinner with cabbage. If you’re going to make corned beef, you can buy a pre-seasoned roast or you can do it yourself. Here’s a recipe for making corned beef from scratch.
1 pound kosher salt
2 gallons water
8 pounds beef brisket
6 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
1 chopped onion
1 medium head of cabbage, cut into quarters
1 pound sliced carrots
1 chopped turnip
1 tsp chopped cilantro
8 potatoes, cubed
In a large pot, combine salt with one gallon of water and add beef brisket (make sure brisket is completely submerged; add more water/salt as necessary). Cover and let sit for a week (seven days) in a refrigerator.
At the end of seven days, drain the liquid and add 1 gallon of fresh water, bay leaves and peppercorns.
Bring water to a boil, and then reduce to low heat and leave to simmer for two and a half to three hours.
Add onion, cabbage, turnip, cilantro and potatoes let cook for another 45 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
One of my favourite St. Patrick’s Day memories was of a classmate who brought green shamrock-shaped cookies to a bake sale. You can make your own shamrock cookies by adding green food coloring to your favourite cookie recipe and using a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter.