Who Said the Irish Can’t Cook?

An Irish friend of mine once said that the only thing the Irish can cook is boiled beef and potatoes. That was said to me 30 years ago, but today with home cooks and chefs stretching the boundaries of ethnic cuisine, I don’t believe the statement about the Irish holds true anymore.

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching fast, here’s my gourmet twist on the traditional corned beef.

Stick with tradition and add steamed cabbage (cooked in the same water as the beef after it has been removed) but don’t cook it to mush. Season it with freshly ground pepper and balsamic vinegar. Add mashed or parsley red potatoes, some hearty rye bread with grainy mustard, and you have traditional Irish fare with flair.

Wine pairing: If beer is not your go-to drink then a Pinot Noir will go well with the corned beef. After the main course, there’s the option of some fine Irish whiskey in a low-ball glass, a mug of Irish coffee,  or a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Did I mention Bailey’s Irish Cream is also good over ice cream?

The Irish can cook! So there, my Irish friend! Sláinte!

Kelley Korned [sic] Beef

  • 3-5 pound corned beef brisket
  • 1/2 cup grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Buy a corned beef brisket with seasoning packet and cook according to directions. Usually this means boiling the beef in water for one hour per pound. When finished cooking remove from the water and put in baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mustard, orange marmalade and brown sugar together and spread over corned beef. (If you need more glaze, use equal parts of the three ingredients.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve sliced hot or at room temperature.



Keeping Up Traditions on St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Soda Bread and mini breads

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

In our home we always have the traditional corned beef and cabbage (for my special recipe with glaze click here). And, of course, Irish Soda Bread. This year, I also made some mini breads. I can’t wait to get busy delivering these little breads to some little leprechauns. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Bread hot from my oven.

Irish Soda Bread (Easy!)

  • 1/4 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 well-beaten egg
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cups golden raisins (my variation, but can use regular raisins or currants)
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Rub shortening into flour mixture. Add well-beaten egg, buttermilk, raisins and caraway seeds and combine. Knead in the bowl; add up to 1/2 cup extra flour if needed.

Bake in greased dish with a cross cut in the top of dough. Bake for one hour at 375 degrees.

St. Patrick’s Day—Tradition with a Twist


Who Said the Irish Can’t Cook?

Who says the Irish can’t cook? All boiled beef and potatoes, eh?  

Today’s fare at the Kelley table for St. Patrick’s Day was an “uplifted” version of the usual corned beef and cabbage. Here is what I served:

Corned Beef with Crunchy Glaze: Boil a cut of corned beef for about five hours in seasonings of your choice (black peppercorns are good). Make a glaze of brown sugar, grainy mustard and some type of jam (either orange marmalade, apricot jam, etc.). Remove the beef from the water, put it in a baking dish and spread the glaze over the beef. Bake it in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Succulent! Slice thin. Serve with grainy mustard on the side.

Cabbage: Cook the cabbage in the water in which you boiled the beef; however, don’t boil it to mush. It should be cooked, yet crunchy. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Red potatoes with dill: Boil new potatoes, do not over cook. Drain and add butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh dill to taste. Don’t cook them in the same water you do the cabbage or everything might taste the same.

Irish Soda Bread: I make a traditional recipe with buttermilk somewhat like the one I link to here, except I use golden raisins, not currants or regular raisins. My recipe is a family recipe. Be sure to cut the cross in the middle like the one pictured with this recipe. Another twist is to make mini soda breads in muffin cups—just a fun variation!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Bars: I was in a hurry this year, so I made this up on the fly. I baked a boxed brownie mix—quick, easy and chewy. I topped it with a simple butter frosting: confectioners sugar (about two cups) , unsalted butter (3 Tbs), a little milk to preferred consistency, and about 1/4 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur. Then, for fun, add some green food coloring.

Here’s to the Irish and St. Patrick! We hope you stop in next year. There’s always a place set for you.