When most people think of Irish cooking, they immediately think of corned beef and cabbage but there are myriad Irish recipes ranging from Boxty to traditional Irish soda bread.
First Lets Have a Drink
Irish coffee is a very popular drink and is very Irish by its nature, but for those times you are looking for a cold drink, a Black Velvet is called for. A Black Velvet is made by mixing equal parts of Guinness stout and champagne. At first, you might be thinking "Why on earth would anyone mix these two beverages?" but once you taste this velvety smooth drink, you will agree that it is not only aptly named but also heavenly.
This recipe makes two drinks.
- 1 pint Guinness Stout
- 1 pint Champagne
- Place two pint glasses in the freezer until well chilled.
- Pour half a pint of the Guinness stout into each glass.
- Add half a pint of the champagne to the stout.
- Stir gently.
- Sip slowly.
In Ulster County, where part of my family comes from, they have a catchy little rhyme to describe Boxty:
Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in the pan, If you can't make Boxty, You'll never get a man.
While I'm not sure if Boxty is an integral part of courtship, I do know that a bit of well-made Boxty can be very pleasing.
There are varying methods for making Boxty. Some recipes call for the grated potatoes to be squeezed dry using a kitchen towel, the water separated from the starch, and the starch added to the batter. In the interest of more healthful eating, I have opted to skip this step and instead go with a somewhat more healthy version of Boxty.
- 1 one-pound russet potato
- ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup buttermilk or whole milk (less might be needed)
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- ¼ cup of milk
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil
- Peel the potato and cut in half.
- Place one half of the potato in a bowl of cold water and reserve in the refrigerator.
- Cut remaining half of the potato into quarters and boil in salted water until soft.
- Drain the boiled potatoes and place in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup of milk.
- Mash until smooth, taste for salt.
- Grate the remaining potato, squeeze out excess water, and add the grated potato to the mashed potato.
- Add the flour, beaten egg, and ½ teaspoon of salt and mix well.
- Add milk to make a slightly thick batter.
- The batter should have the texture of very firm mashed potatoes.
- Heat your largest skillet over a medium high heat until very hot.
- Add a few tablespoons of oil to the skillet to barely coat the pan.
- Drop the batter by tablespoon into the skillet and then flatten until about 2 inches across.
- Repeat until you have three or four dollops in the pan.
- Fry until golden brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes.
- Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Repeat with remaining batter until all the batter has been used, adding more oil as needed.
Irish Soda Bread
Bread is usually made with yeast and bread flour and involves a long process of rising and punching down, resting and shaping, and is usually too much trouble to deal with on a daily basis.
Irish soda bread is the antithesis of this process. Instead of using special bread flour, soda bread uses all-purpose flour, something you are more likely to have on hand. Instead of yeast, which, if you have it, has probably expired long ago, soda bread uses baking soda. In fact, that is where the "soda" in Irish soda bread comes from.
You will need two round cake pans to make this Irish soda bread recipe. You will also need buttermilk. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to give your bread a good rise.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Using a whisk, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt well in a large bowl.
- Add the buttermilk and mix with the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula.
- Once the mixture has formed a sticky dough, turn the dough out onto a flour surface and gently knead until the dough holds a round shape.
- Place the dough in a cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and lightly floured.
- Cut a cross into the top of the bread.
- Cover the first pan with the second pan (inverted) and bake the bread like this for 30 minutes.
- Remove the top pan from the bottom pan and bake for another 15 minutes or until the bread has a golden brown crust.
- Remove from oven and turn out onto a rack to cool.
This is just a start to your collection of delicious Irish recipes. As you collect more Irish recipes, you will discover wonderful entrees and fabulous desserts.