On Food: St. Patrick's Day recipes, old and new
If you have not noticed that St. Patrickâ€™s Day is almost upon us, you must be reading this somewhere far, far from Savannah. For more than a week now everything here has been awash with green, the Irish tricolor is fluttering at the door of every other household, and the air is redolent with the unique aroma of simmering corned beef and cabbage.
Never mind that corned beef is not commonplace in the Motherland: It has been a part of the Irish-American table for the better part of two centuries, and most of us will eat close to our weight in it over the next few days, simmered with cabbage, piled with sauerkraut into toasty Rubens, or simply stuffed between a couple of pieces of mustard-slathered rye.
Fortunately, that isnâ€™t all weâ€™ll get: local hosts are pretty ecumenical when it comes to stocking the party table, melding that Irish-American staple with both traditional Irish fare and things that share nothing more with Ireland than the signature green of its rolling landscape.
Weâ€™ve all heard that old rhyme for dressing the bride, â€śsomething old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.â€ť Well, for Savannah hosts, the winning formula for this holiday is very much like it: something old, something new, something Irish, and something ... green.
So it doesnâ€™t rhyme: get over it. It works.
Since weâ€™re likely to get corned beef on every corner, hereâ€™s a menu that takes a break from it while still bringing old, new, Irish and green to the table.
Irish Smoked Salmon Boxty Bites with Whiskey Chive Butter
Boxty is a traditional Irish griddle-cooked potato bread, and there are many variations. This one, made with cooked mashed potatoes, is perfect for making into warm appetizers. Judith McLoughlin, whose recipes for Short Ribs and Colcannon are included here, melds her Irish heritage with her adopted Deep South home by topping it with the usual ingredients of a BLT.
For the Chive Butter:
8 ounces (2 sticks or 1 whole block if using Irish butter) best quality butter
3-4 tablespoons snipped chives
1 teaspoon Irish whiskey
Salt and whole white pepper in a mill
For the Boxty:
1 pound mature, floury potatoes, such as Russet
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1-to-1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the griddle
About 2 cups arugula, torn into small pieces
About 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and whole black pepper in a mill
12 ounces cold smoked salmon thin-sliced and cut into small pieces or cold smoked, flaked
2-3 tablespoons snipped chives or thinly sliced green onion tops
1. To make chive butter, put softened butter and chives in food processor fitted with steel blade. Process until whipped and fairly smooth. Add whiskey and pulse to mix. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, keeping in mind that salmon will be salty.
2. Put potatoes in pot with water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to boil and cook until easily pierced with knife. Drain, cool enough to handle, then peel and put through ricer or food mill. While still warm, add salt and butter, then gradually mix in as much flour as potatoes will absorb.
3. Turn out onto floured work surface and knead lightly 1 minute. Dough can be cut in several ways. For this recipe, lightly flour work surface and roll dough out 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 1-1/2 inch rounds with small biscuit cutter or into triangles with sharp knife. You will have about 24.
4. Heat a seasoned iron or nonstick griddle over medium heat. When hot, lightly dust with flour. Add cut bread and griddle, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
5. To assemble, toss arugula with olive oil until just coated. Season with few drops cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spread chive butter over each boxty, top with dressed arugula, then slivers of salmon if cold smoked or flakes if hot smoked. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
Judith McLoughlinâ€™s Stout-Braised Short Ribs with Southern Colcannon
Ulster born-and-bred Judith McLoughlin now calls Georgia home and loves melding the culinary traditions of her Irish heritage with those of her adopted home. This lovely, make-ahead dish is an example of how she deliciously and seamlessly blends them. Adapted from her book The Shamrock and the Peach.
4-1/2 pounds beef short ribs (bone-in)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large ribs celery, strung and chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, washed, cored, and chopped
1 12-ounce bottle Irish Stout
3 cups veal stock and 3 cups chicken stock or 6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2-3 large sprigs thyme tied into a bundle with 1 bay leaf
Judith McLoughlinâ€™s Southern Colcannon (recipe follows)
3-4 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, chives, and chervil, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped roasted Georgia Peanuts, for garnish, optional
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 250 degrees F. Wipe ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in large, oven-proof braising pan or Dutch oven, preferably enameled iron, set over medium heat. Toss ribs in flour, shake off excess, and add to pan. Brown well on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to platter.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and apple to pan and saute, tossing, until softened and beginning to color. Return ribs and accumulated juices to pan and add stout. Bring to a boil and let boil 2-3 minutes. Add stock, molasses, and herb bundle, cover, and bring to a simmer. Transfer to oven to bake until meat is falling-off-bone tender, about 4-5 hours.
3. Remove meat to platter and let cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. (Ribs can also be served bone-in if preferred.) Bring cooking liquid to a boil over medium heat, adjust to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half. Return ribs to sauce. Dish can be made ahead to this point: let cool, cover, and refrigerate. To serve, bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat and simmer until meat is hot through. Remove and discard herb bundle and serve with Judithâ€™s Southern Colcannon, garnishing with chopped herbs and, if liked, peanuts.
Judithâ€™s Southern Colcannon
Here Judith McLoughlin adds a touch of the South to a deeply Irish dish by making it with curly kale. Added bonus: this gives the table the requisite â€śgreen thingâ€ť without resorting to food coloring. Also adapted from The Shamrock and the Peach.
2-1/2 pounds mature Russet potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 cup milk
7 ounces curly kale (stems removed)
8 spring onions or scallions, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper or to taste
1/4 pound (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Peel and quarter potatoes and put in large pan with enough cold water to cover, add milk, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cover, and let sit for a few minutes to dry.
2. While potatoes cook, bring a large pan half-filled with water to rolling boil. Add kale and blanch 1-2 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4-cup cooking liquid. Put kale in blender or food processor and pulse a few seconds until roughly pureed. Melt butter, cream and reserved kale liquid in small saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Stir in green onions and simmer half a minute. Remove from heat.
3. Mash potatoes. Gently stir in liquid, a little at a time until smooth (liquid can be a little more or less depending on potatoes, but add all of onions). Fold in drained onions and kale and season with salt and pepper. Turn into warm serving bowl.
Irish Whiskey Brownies with Whiskey Ganache
Irish whiskey brownies are a long-time staple for the parade picnic basket. You might want to enjoy these at home, however: topped with whiskey-laced ganache, these soft, fudgy brownies can a bit messy. But while they may not be much to look at, be warned: theyâ€™re addictive.
Makes about 2 dozen
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
12 tablespoons (6 ounces or 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted Irish butter
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons Irish whiskey, divided
5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces (1 generous cup) chopped bittersweet chocolate
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch sheet cake pan and line bottom and long sides with parchment paper, with paper overlapping sides
2. Warm chocolate and butter in saucepan over medium heat until chocolate is just melted. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Stir in sugar, then eggs and 2 tablespoons whiskey. Gradually stir in flour and salt. Pour into prepared pan and bake until almost set (toothpick or cake tester inserted into center should have moist, crumbs clinging to it) about 25-30 minutes. Do not over-bake. Let cool completely. Loosen edges at ends with knife and using parchment carefully lift brownies from pan and put on flat work surface.
3. Bring cream to a simmer, and add chocolate. Turn off heat and let stand until chocolate is softened. Whisk until smooth and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons whiskey. Drizzle over brownies and spread to smooth. Let cool completely before cutting.
-- Damon Lee Fowler | Savannah Morning News