Sunday, September 15, 2013

An Irish Feast

I love St. Patrick's Day. I mean really, what's not to love about it? It's full of green things, you get yummy food to eat, and beer to finish it off. And it somehow always inspires my lawn to turn green. Seriously, I swear it is darker green now than it was two days ago. Plus, what better metaphor could you have for the trinity than a pretty little clover leaf?

Anyway, so for our St. Patrick's Day feast we had:
Broccoli Cream Soup
Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, Onions cooked in beer
Pea and Cabbage Salad (leftover from last week. I was forcing everyone to finish it off)
Soda Bread
Chocolate Stout Cake
And beer

Broccoli Cream Soup
I tried out this recipe from Catholic Cuisine although they call itShamrock Soup because the little bits of broccoli look like clovers in your soup. Kind of. I usually make broccoli soup the same way but substitute chicken stock for milk and blend it all up to make a nice green soup. Some people say you should use the water you used to steam to broccoli (you know that greenish stuff left over) as your soup base, and I would never say that those people are idiots and this tastes terrible, but Gordon Ramsey is an idiot and this tastes terrible. Use chicken stock or milk.

Beer Pot Roast
For the Beer Pot Roast I started with...
A Roast, 3 potatoes, an onion, 3 carrots (not pictured. oops.), a can of tomato paste, salt, pepper, and Kentucky Bourbon Stout.
  • I would actually suggest using a different kind of beer. The stout was a bit too sweet for me.
  • When I am cooking with meat I always just leave it in the plastic bag, open it in there, and put it right in the pot. That way you can avoid germs. If you have a good cut from a quality place you could probably  avoid this step but since roast cuts are impossible to find around here in a good quality meat, I am forced to take precautions lol.
  • I like to leave the skins intact on my potatoes and carrots. They typically contain more nutrition than the inside bits and for carrots, I feel like all of the carroty flavor is in the skin. Peeled carrots taste like nothing to me. But that's just my opinion. Either way, wash them and slice them up.

  • Season your meat with salt, pepper, and oregano. You may want to sear your meat in a skillet first if you like toasted bits and a more concentrated flavor. My mother makes it like that. I prefer the meat to be juicy and to cut like butter.
  • Add quartered onion and tomato paste.
  • Fill up the cracks with a bottle and a half or so of beer.

  • Cook on high for 6-8 hours.

Irish Soda Bread
I have to admit here, I cheated a bit. I didn't make this recipe from scratch but instead used a boxed mix. I was in a hurry. The mix I used was fantastic though.
I'm sure all the mix contained was something like this: 3 1/2 cups white flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, scant salt.

I soaked a small handful of raisins overnight in orange juice until they got nice and big and juicy.

I put those in the mix, added the water, and put it in a cake pan. Then dust the dough with flour and cut a big X into it.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400.

I absolutely love this bread. My husband says it tastes like the pure essence of bread. I'd have to agree. It's the most bready bread you can eat haha.

Chocolate Stout Cake
  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Take a bundt pan and really grease that puppy up. I used a springform bundt pan and still had trouble keeping the shape. Put 1 cup of Stout and 1 cup butterin a small pan and heat until boiling. Allow to boil for a couple minutes to remove alcohol, then add 3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder. Cool.

  • Sift together 2 cups all-purpose or cake flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda. Add 2 1/2 cups sugar and mix. 

  • In another bowl, combine 2 eggs and 2/3 cup sour cream until thick and frothy. Add it stout mixture slowly as you stir. (It's nice to have a helper for this part :))

  • Combine with flour mixture by folding slowly. Batter should resemble jello chocolate pudding. Pour into pan and bake 40 minutes or until tester comes out of center clean.

  • Allow to cool completely before flipping and removing from pan.
  • Melt 6 oz of chocolate in double broiler. Add 6 tablespoons of heavy cream and whisk to combine. Add 3/4 teaspoon of instant coffee. Pour on top of cooled cake. Add white chocolate pastilles or whipped cream to top.
I'm sorry to say that I've forgotten some photos of the process. Most notably the finished product for some. We were too hungry and devoured everything before I even thought to take a picture. So all I can give you are the remains of the day:

I know, I need to get better at my food photography. Some day.

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