Guinness punch, anyone? Here are a few St. Patrick's Day dishes
CBC food columnist Julie Van Rosendaal offers ideas for a hearty, tasty dinner
St. Patrick's Day brings its own traditional recipes, and so many of them are classic late-winter comfort foods.
The list is long: Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, Jigg's dinner, shepherd's pie and tons of potato dishes, such as colcannon (mashed potatoes with thinly sliced cabbage or kale), boxty (potato pancakes made with mashed and grated potatoes) and champ, made by warming tons of chopped green onions in milk or butter before stirring them into mashed potatoes.
Then there's Irish soda bread, a quick, round, crusty-edged baking soda-risen loaf similar to a giant scone.
Don't forget Guinness chocolate cakes.
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If you're looking for a new St. Patrick's Day food tradition, here are a few ways to use classic ingredients, with a bit of a twist.
Charred cabbage and crispy potatoes with jalapeno-garlic-cilantro sauce
I've been loving the charred cabbage dishes I've had at restaurants lately. I tried the charred hakka cabbage at Two Penny, charred cabbage with walnut vinaigrette and manchego at Ten Foot Henry, and the charred cabbage with Mimolette cheese and jalapeno cream at Pigeonhole.
I figured it's about as easy as it gets to make at home.
I use thick wedges or inch-thick cross-sections of green cabbage. I cook them in oil or ghee in a very hot cast iron skillet until they're charred on both sides and tender all the way through.
You could also drizzle it with oil and roast in a hot oven until tender and charred on the edges.
Main dish ingredients:
1 lb small new potatoes
1 small green cabbage, cut into 2.5-five centimetre wedges or 2.5-centimetre cross-sections
Canola oil, for cooking
Butter, for cooking
Salt, to taste
Aged Irish cheddar, gruyere, Mimolette or Manchego, optional
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
1 garlic clove, peeled
1-2 tbsp lime juice
Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 232 C/450 F.
Cover the potatoes with water in a pot that will accommodate them. Bring to a boil and cook until they're just fork-tender. Drain. You can do this up to a few days in advance and keep them in the fridge.
Lay them out on a baking sheet and flatten each with a fork. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and golden. If you like, drizzle the cabbage wedges or slices with oil and roast them alongside on the baking sheet.
Otherwise, get a heavy skillet nice and hot. Add a generous drizzle of oil.
Cook for five-eight minutes per side, until deep golden and starting to blacken on both sides. They should be tender-crisp in the middle.
If it doesn't seem to be cooking through the middle, add ¼ to ½ cup water or stock and cover the pan for a few minutes to allow it to steam a bit. I avoid this because the cabbage can be a bit more wilted, but some people like that, too.
To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, mayonnaise, sour cream, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
Drizzle it over the cabbage and potatoes. If you like, top with a few curls made with your vegetable peeler of aged Irish cheddar or other cheese.
Serving: About six people.
Apple Irish soda bread
Irish soda bread is like a giant scone you serve in wedges. It has less butter than most scones, but has a similar texture.
Like scones, you can customize it however you like: with citrus zest rubbed into the butter-flour mixture, or cheese tossed into the dry ingredients, or other dried fruit swapped in for the currants. Omit the apples if you want a plainer, or savoury loaf.
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, grated
½ cup currants or raisins
1½ cups buttermilk or plain yogurt thinned with milk
1 large egg
1 large apple, coarsely grated. Don't bother peeling it
Preheat the oven to 191 C/375 F.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Grate in the butter and toss to combine, then do the same with the currants.
In a mixing bowl or measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and egg with a fork, and add all at once to the dry ingredients, along with the grated apple.
Stir just until the dough comes together, then turn out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and with dampened hands, shape into a rough domed circle. If you like, sprinkle with coarse sugar.
With a sharp or serrated knife, cut an X into the top.
Bake for an hour or until deep golden and the bottom sounds kind of hollow when tapped.
Cool slightly before cutting into wedges.
Serving: Eight people.
Jamaican Guinness punch
This creamy punch can be made with any dark stout or black lager. It's served cold, topped with whipped cream. If you like, add a pinch of cinnamon along with your sugar as you whip it.
1½ cups Guinness, stout or dark lager
1 cup milk
½ can sweetened condensed milk
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla
Pinch grated nutmeg
Whipped cream, for topping, optional
Blend everything but the whipped cream in a blender until well blended. Pour into glasses and serve cold, topped with whipped cream.
Serving: Eight people.