With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, ‘tis the time perhaps to provide some background on this worldwide celebration.
St. Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland and is known for bringing Christianity to this country. St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans and the shamrock has since become the national flower. Legend also has it that he drove the snakes out of Ireland but there may never have been snakes in Ireland as the island separated from the rest of Europe following the Ice Age.
The celebration of St. Patrick’s day is on March 17th as it is believed that this is the day that St. Patrick died. This holiday began in Ireland but it has spread throughout the world as the Irish moved to other locations and brought their history and traditions with them. The main celebrations of course take place in Ireland where all businesses close on this day, except for restaurants and pubs. Even in America, cities with a heavy Irish population have large celebrations with parades, “wearing of the green”, Irish food and drink, etc.
In honor of this holiday, below are some hearty Irish recipes:
Irish Soda Bread
|4 cups all-purpose flour
||6 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
|3 tablespoons sugar
||1 ½ cups raisins
|3 teaspoons baking powder
||1 tablespoon caraway seeds
|1 teaspoon salt
||2 eggs, beaten
|¾ teaspoon baking soda
||1 ½ cups buttermilk
In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. Set aside 1 tablespoon beaten egg. In a bowl, combine buttermilk and remaining eggs; stir into crumb mixture just until flour is moistened (dough will be sticky). Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead about 10 times. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Cut a 4-in. x ¼-in. deep slit in the center of the ball. Brush the top with reserved egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil during the last 20 minutes if top browns too quickly. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges
Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes or until tender. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain.
Enjoy the meal and the day!