Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Laura and I actually cooked on Sunday since that's when we have time but it was definitely in honor of today!

What could be more Irish than corned beef braised in Guinness? Probably one of the simplest recipes I've done in a long time and it turned out just delicious. In fact, I made it again ON St. Patrick's Day. Oh my... That means I've eaten two corned beefs in the last week. No wonder the scale was so mad at me this morning!

For me the roasted cabbage with lemon was just ok. I am huge fan of roasting things and the roasting itself was fine, but I'm not sure I loved the lemon here. It was fine but I don't think I'll do it again. I love cabbage and think I just prefer it traditionally done.

Finally, I baked my first loaf of soda bread. It was amazing! Just a little sweet with a wonderful texture, it was the PERFECT vehicle for butter.

Mmmmmm, corned beef. Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, right? I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about making corned beef. The recipe really couldn't have been any simpler. Three ingredients. One of them is beer. How do you NOT make this recipe? It came out great. I liked it so much that I used the broth that was left to make a beef stew. I don't know if it's authentic or not but it's how I'll be making corned beef for now on.

I loved the lemon in the cabbage. My issue was that I didn't slice the cabbage into even slices. Or, maybe I should have cut it into thinner wedges. At any rate, the outside of the cabbage was perfectly roasted and seasoned but the inside leaves of the bigger wedges could have used more oven time. Next time, I'll try smaller wedges when I roast the cabbage. I really liked the flavor.

Oh, right .... Irish Soda Bread. I used Splenda instead of sugar and whole wheat flour instead of white. I also didn't add any raisins. The verdict: Don't mess with a classic. It was denser than other Irish Soda Breads that I've tasted. It was still good but I think next year, I'll let someone else be in charge of the bread.

All in all, a very tasty meal. I'm certainly planning on making it again. I just hope it's not so far away as a year from now.

Guinness® Corned Beef
4 pounds corned beef brisket
1 cup brown sugar   
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout
beer (e.g. Guinness®)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.
Cover, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Roasted Cabbage with Lemon
1 medium-sized head of green cabbage
2 T olive oil
2-3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
generous amount of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
lemon slices, for serving cabbage (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F/232C. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Cut the head of cabbage into 8 same-size wedges, cutting through the core and stem end. Then carefully trim the core strip and stem from each wedge and arrange wedges in a single layer on the roasting pan (leave some space around them as much as you can.)

Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice (use the larger amount of lemon juice if you like a lot of lemon like I do.) Then use a pastry brush to brush the top sides of each cabbage wedge with the mixture and season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Turn cabbage wedges carefully, then brush the second side with the olive oil/lemon juice mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Roast cabbage for about 15 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is nicely browned. Then turn each wedge carefully and roast 10-15 minutes more, until the cabbage is nicely browned and cooked through with a bit of chewiness remaining. Serve hot, with additional lemon slices to squeeze lemon juice on at the table if desired.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins.

Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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