Not Everything Irish Is Green

IN THE KITCHEN

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In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are some "Irish" recipes: Irish coffee; Irish cured trout; Irish minted peas (well, this might be green); and Irish-style chicken soup.

Irish Coffee

4 heaping teaspoons instant coffee powder

4 full teaspoons sugar

4 jiggers Irish whiskey

4 cups boiling water

Whipped cream

Divide coffee, sugar and whiskey among four cups; mix well. Add boiling water to cups until almost full, then spoon whipped cream on top in mounds. Serve immediately.

Irish Cured Trout

(1) 4-pound, or (2) 2-pound trout, boned, butterflied, head removed

4 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

On day curing process is started, wash fish; pat dry with paper towels. Place on large nonmetallic platter.

Combine seasonings; place in small shaker bottle.

On first day, rub fish with a third of the salt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

On second day, drain any liquid from platter; rub fish with two tablespoons of oil. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Rub fish with remaining thirds of salt mix on the third and fifth days; and with oil on the fourth and sixth days.

On the sixth day, also rub the fish with brown sugar.

On the seventh day, hang fish in a cool, dry, breezy place for 24 hours. To serve, slice paper-thin against grain. Yields 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

Irish Style Chicken Soup

5 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 pounds chicken parts (wings, necks, backs)

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 leek, sliced

1 large carrot, cubed

2 medium potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup of peas (yeah -- this is going to be on the green side, too)

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1/2 head Bibb lettuce, coarsely chopped

Bring water, salt and chicken parts to boil in large saucepan; cover. Simmer for an hour. Add celery, leek, carrot and potatoes; simmer 20 minutes. Remove chicken; cube meat; return to soup. Add peas; simmer about 8 minutes. Remove scum (ooo! that sounds appealing) from surface of soup.

Lightly beat egg yolks; stir into yogurt.

Remove soup from heat; stir in yogurt mixture; adjust seasoning. Garnish with lettuce; serve at once. Yields six servings.

Irish Minted Peas

(1) 10-ounce package frozen green peas

1 teaspoon dried mint

1 teaspoon sugar

Boiling salted water

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook peas, mint and sugar in boiling salted water to cover for 5 to 7 minutes, until peas are tender; drain. Stir in butter, salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Yields four servings.

A cookbook in my collection, called "Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression" has a bit about the Irish, including a couple of recipes.

"Every nationality had their favorite "cheap food." Most of the skill in preparation was brought over from the old country. ... Even when times changed and progress made it easier and quicker for the homemaker to prepare meals for a family, these dishes stayed popular when times got hard in the bitter, dirty 30s. They provided good satisfying food.

"Potatoes were definitely a standby food for the Irish. There were the Irish potatoes, small and cream colored which made the best country fries or raw fries anyone could dream of. Using bacon for flavor made it a meal."

Calcannon

2 pots, boiling salted water

1 medium cabbage, cored and quartered

2 pounds scrubbed, unpeeled, sliced potatoes

2 leeks, chopped

1 cup of milk

1 1/2 tablespoons mace

Salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 stick unsalted butter

Boil the cabbage in one pot of boiling salted water until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain off water, chop cabbage and set aside.

Boil potatoes in other pot of water until tender, drain and set aside.

Put leeks into saucepan and add milk, simmer until tender.

Add mace, salt, pepper and garlic to potatoes and mash. Next add leeks and milk, mix, then add cabbage and butter and mash again.

Transfer to an oven-proof dish and place under broiler to brown

Corned Beef Dinner

3 to 4 pounds corned beef

Water to cover

2 sliced onions

2 minced garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

6 small, peeled potatoes

6 small carrots

1 medium head of cabbage, cut into wedges

Place corned beef in a Dutch oven and barely cover with water, add onions, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and simmer, but do not boil, for one hour per pound of meat, so 3 to 4 hours.

Remove meat from broth, add potatoes and carrots, cover and cook 10 minutes.

Then add cabbage wedges and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are done.

To carve corned beef, cut at a slight angle across the grain, making thin slices.

Irish Soda Bread

5 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups butter milk (or fresh milk with 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar)

Combine flour, soda and salt. Make a well in center of flour mix and pour in buttermilk.

Knead dough swiftly and lightly into a ball. Dough should be soft, so may need more liquid.

Flatten the ball with floured hands.

Place on greased baking sheet, make a cross on top, and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes for one large loaf, or 30 to 35 minutes for two small loaves.

Eat hot or cold and store leftover bread in a tea towel to keep it soft.

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