Friday, March 16, 2018

For St. Patrick's Day...What Else But Lamb Stew?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  In honor of the most celebrated Celtic holiday, Tonia's Kitchen talked with Clodagh McKenna, the author of the new cookbook Clodagh's Irish Kitchen. Clodagh stopped by to talk about one of her favorite comfort foods…Irish Lamb Stew.  Cloudagh told Tonia it’s a fantastic mid-week supper for the whole family. It can be made the night before and reheated.
Serves 6
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds boneless lamb for stew, cut into chunks
   sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges
6 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup pearl barley 2 sprigs of thyme
For the stock
1 lamb bone
1 carrot
1 onion
2 peppercorns
1 bouquet garni
For the roux
2 tablespoons butter 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

First make the stock: Place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 2 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for as long as possible to bring out the flavor, 2 to 3 hours if you can. Strain the stock and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Place a casserole dish over high heat, melt the butter, and add the lamb. Season with salt and pepper and stir until it is a nice brownish color. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with the vegetables, before also transferring them to a plate.
Spoon all the vegetables, the lamb, and the pearl barley into the casserole dish, placing the potatoes on top (you do not want them to get mushy). Remove all the leaves from the thyme stems (discard the stalks) and add them to the dish. Cover with the hot lamb stock and place in the oven for 11/2 hours.
While the lamb stew is cooking, make a roux: Melt the butter in a saucepan and beat in the flour, until it forms a paste. Once the casserole has cooked, ladle the juices from the stew into a saucepan and slowly beat into the roux. Cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth. Then pour the thickened gravy back into the stew before serving

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Canadian Bacon...Irish Style

Arguably, there's nothing more that Americans like better than bacon.  Even more arguably, St. Patrick's Day ranks right up there with Americans' favorite holidays.  As a result, we at Tonia's Kitchen just had to get these two kids together!  For this one, Tonia reached out across the pond to Darina Allen of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shannon County Cork, Ireland!  She tells Tonia about some fantastic bacon and mashed potato dishes that really bring a piece of the old country right here to the new world!  To find out more, visit Ballymaloe's website.

1 lb kale or savoy cabbage
 3 lb starchy, “floury” potatoes, such as russets
 1 cup milk
 3-4 scallions/green onions or 1 spring onion, finely chopped, including greens
 Salt and pepper
 4 Tablespoons (½ stick ) salted butter

Scrub the potatoes and put them in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and boil until potatoes are mostly cooked (about 15-25 minutes, depending on size) Drain off 2/3 of the water and cover the pan. Place back on low heat and steam until cooked fully. (Alternately, peel and chop potatoes, cover with water and boil until fully cooked) Meanwhile, bring a stockpot of lightly salted water to the boil (can use bacon-cooking water). Wash kale, remove the stem, and tear into pieces (for cabbage- remove outer leaves, quarter core and slice thinly across the grain). Cook kale (or cabbage), uncovered, in the salted water until tender, this can take up to 8-10 minutes, depending on the type and maturity of the kale. Drain and set aside. Heat the milk and scallions over medium heat in a small saucepan. When potatoes are cooked, pull the peel off the potatoes and mash while warm. Bring the milk to boiling and gradually add to the potatoes to make a fluffy puree (you may not need all the milk). Stir in cooked kale and taste for seasoning. Place in a large warmed serving bowl and place the lump of butter in the center. Colcannon can be held in a 200F degree oven, covered tightly with foil, up to 1 hour. Serves 8.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Classic Irish Bread

You might call it a true taste of Ireland, and how appropriate on this St. Patrick's Day week! You've heard of it, it's called Irish Soda Bread, and it's delicious.  Darina Allen with the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about how to make this Irish classic.  Darina starts with a pound of Odlums Flour, which she says is available in the US, and combines it with salt, bicarbonate soda, low-fat buttermilk and cream. Darina says she combines all the ingredients in a bowl and stirs it by hand. It's a true treat of Ireland, and something wonderful to enjoy.

(Reprinted from KerryGold USA)

1 pound Odlums flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
13 to 16 ounces buttermilk (depending on the consistency of the buttermilk)
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Mix the flours in a large wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and baking soda.
Make a well in the center and pour in all the buttermilk. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl, seconds later the dough should be made.
Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the floured worktop. (Fill the bowl with cold water so it will be easy to wash later.)
Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and transfer to oven tray. Tuck the edges underneath with your hand; gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 1 1/2-inch thick. Now wash and dry your hands.
Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the center of the four sections to let the fairies out of the bread).
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 400°F for a further 15 or 20 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes until cooked (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Call This Irish-American Fusion

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Tonia's Kitchen is honoring two great Irish-American traditions, ribs and beer!  Chef Brian Houlihan with the Bia Bistro in Cohasset, Massachusetts told Tonia about his delicious recipe for braised short ribs.  He starts with high quality beef short ribs, seasoned with salt, pepper rosemary, thyme and oregano.  He then glazes the cooking pan with Guinness Stout beer! and a little red wine.  He says his philosophy on cooking is to not overdue it, but present everything simply. That goes for beef, chicken and seafood.  Use local ingredients and serve it alongside some hearty local vegetables.  Find out more at the  Bia Bistro website

Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, to taste, and sear in the Dutch oven until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the meat from pan and set aside. Add the onions and garlic to the same pan and saute, until lightly browned. Scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Add the carrots and celery and let cook for 5 more minutes. Add 1 cup of beef stock and scrape bottom of pan to remove any more browned bits. Return the meat to the pot along with the remaining stock and the beer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours.
Serve with a fresh green salad or on top of mashed potatoes, if desired.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Ireland's Most Famous Export...In Cake Form

In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday, let's throw a little green onto Tonia's Kitchen. Let's start off with something very appropriate, Guinness Cake!   Clodagh McKenna, who authored her new book Clodagh's Irish Kitchen told Tonia she takes eggs, butter and flour, and combines it altogether with some delicious Guinness Beer!  She also uses lots of cocoa and buttermilk because the former's sweetness offsets the bitterness of the Guinness Beer and the latter provides a fluffy texture.  Bake it altogether and create a vanilla and cream cheese icing.  Clodagh says it's one of her very favorites!

2 1/4 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups Guinness stout beer
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the frosting:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups cream cheese (don’t use low-fat for this)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 12-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. 

Make the cake: Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in the Guinness, then remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Slowly mix in the Guinness mixture. 

Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together into a separate large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, slowly mix the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and keep beating until it is well combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Test to make sure the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake—if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. 

Let cool in the pan then transfer from the pan onto a wire rack. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting: Using a handheld electric mixer, blend all the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Place the cooled cake on a plate and generously spread the frosting on top. The cake will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.