Irish Spice and All That’s Nice!


I have yet to visit Ireland, the trip is one of the top three on my bucket list. Between reading about my family’s history and preparing for this trip of a life time, I spend much time reading about Ireland, it’s history, and it’s culture.

Of course a large part of all cultures involves food. I’ve seen three dishes mentioned frequently: Coddle, Cabbage, and Apple Cake. Coddle is a ‘stew’ of sorts, serious comfort food. It’s made with potatoes, sausage, ‘rashers’ (bacon), and onions. Being that it’s true comfort food there is no specific recipe, each family and every chef has their own version. I’ve adjusted mine to fit the ingredients that are available where I live.

The baked cabbage is not only beautiful it has an amazing flavor when baked with chopped apples, brown sugar, nutmeg, and a little white wine vinegar. I had never thought of baking cabbage before… but the resulting dish is superb.

For the apple cake I had to substitute Granny Smith apples for the more traditonal Irish Bramly apples. But as they are both tart apples it probably didn’t make too much of a difference.

Combined these dishes will make a complete Irish Inspired meal, but each is enjoyable enough to stand on it’s own. Make adjustments as needed, as this is comfort food at it’s finest, amending it to fit your palate is surely in order!

Irish Coddle

5 – 6 oz thick sliced bacon, chopped
1.5 lbs flavorful sausage, typically pork
8 oz leg of lamb, cubed
2 leeks, sliced and cleaned
2-3 lbs small new potatoes or cubed large potatoes
5 – 6 oz Guinness

In a large Dutch oven brown the bacon and leeks, add the sausage and lamb and continue to brown. Once the meats are sufficently browned add the Guinness and potatoes. Add stock or water to the pot to bring the liquid up about half way.

Cover the pot tightly and bake at 325 degrees for a few hours, until the potatoes are tender and the sausaes are cooked through. I find it convenient to bake the Coddle and Cabbage at the same time.

 

 

 

Irish Baked Cabbage

1 small head purple cabbage shredded
1 tart apple cored and chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
(substitute with any vinegar you like)
freshly snipped chives
freshly ground nutmeg
freshly cracked black peper
1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Place about a third of the cabbage in the bottom of a baking dish, top it with a third of the chopped apple, a third of the chives, and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Grate nutmeg over the layer, and then grind pepper over the layer. Repeat this process for the remaining two layers.

Top the dish with small pieces of the butter if you’re using it and drizzle the vinegar over the dish. Cover the dish tightly and bake at 325 degrees for two hours. Remove it from the oven and stir it at least twice while it’s baking.

Irish Inspired Apple Cakes

1 tart apple
3/4 oats ground into flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons milk

First prepare your pan(s). I used two 4” spring form pans. Prepare them by greasing them. Then thinly slice some of the apple and lay the slices in a decorative way in the baking pans. Add pomegranate seeds or nuts to create a presentation. Chop the remaining apple.

Stir the flour, oats and baking powder together. Using your hands, combine the butter and flour mixture until you have course crumbly mixture. Combine them in the bowl of a stand mixer if possible.

Once your flours and butter are combined add the egg, brown sugar, and milk. Mix until it becomes a smooth batter, add more milk if needed.

Stir in the chopped apples. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans.

Bake at 375 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan to fascilitate an easy removal, serve the cakes while they are still warm. Add a dollop of whipped cream or marscapone on the side.

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