Easy Irish-inspired Menu for St. Patrick’s Day

I love Ireland, though I’ve only been there once. I’m interested in the traditional food in all the places I travel, so I thought I’d come up with simple menu that could also be used at Frostfire Inn on St. Patrick’s Day:

Irish Brown Bread

Traditional Irish Potato and Fresh Herb Soup

Salmon

Roasted Root vegetables

irishbrownbreadIrish Brown Bread

Note – The traditional recipes don’t have any sweetening ingredients in them, but I added just a touch with the molasses. You don’t taste the sweetness, but I think it enhances the flavors.

1 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and put it on the center oven rack.

Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.

Add butter, buttermilk and molasses and stir together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead gently, until the dough forms a smooth ball.

Shape into a ball and then flatten so the bread is about 2-2 1/2 inches high in the center

Use a sharp serrated knife to slice a cross deeply into the top of the bread, about 1-inch deep. (Supposedly cutting a cross in the bread let the devils escape! I’m not sure why devils would hide in bread, but it adds a bit of interest. I suspect cooks actually did it to make sure the bread cooked enough in the center without making the outside edges overdone.)

Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the loaf is firm on top and when you tap the bottom, feels hollow. Let cool and serve with lots of butter! Serves 4

irishpotatosoup

Traditional Irish Potato and Fresh Herb Soup

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 large onion, diced

4 white or yellow potatoes, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, lemon balm, chives, marjoram-any combination)

3 cups water or chicken stock

4 oz milk or to taste (I used whole milk)

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the onions and potatoes and toss them in the butter until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the water or stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor or mash with a potato masher. Taste and adjust seasoning. Thin with milk to the required consistency. Serve sprinkled with the chopped herbs. Serves 4

roastedrootvegetables14837437Small

Roasted Root Vegetables 

I love roasted root vegetables and they are very easy to make. The secret to an excellent dish is to use plenty of onions and to cook at a high heat. By the end of the cooking time, some of the vegetables may have blackened parts-that’s fine. It just adds to the flavor.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1 large onion, sliced

8 carrots, scrubbed and peeled if necessary, cut in half

3 parsnips, scrubbed and cut to similar size as carrots

5 small potatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup olive oil

salt

Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss vegetables with olive oil and salt. Spread on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Timing depends on size of vegetable pieces, so keep an eye on them for the last part of the roasting process. Serves 4 with leftovers

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Broiled Salmon

Poached Salmon would be more traditional, but I think the flavor of broiled salmon is a little better.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds Salmon

olive oil

Salt and Pepper

6 tbsp. butter, melted, (optional)

Line baking sheet with foil, cut salmon into 4 pieces, skin, brush with oil oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each piece. Broil until fish flakes in the middle, about 10 minutes, though keep a close eye on the cooking process. Serve with melted butter. Serves 4

To time this for minimum time in the kitchen, make the bread first. While the bread is baking, prepare the vegetables for roasting. When the bread is done, put vegetables in the oven, then prepare soup. While the soup is simmering, prepare the salmon on the pan so that it can go in the oven as soon as the vegetables are done. The vegetables can be reheated if necessary, though if you take them out of the oven and cover them with foil, they will stay hot for quite a while.

Enjoy!

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