Friday, March 19, 2010

The Recipes: Irish Beef and Stout Stew and Irish Soda Bread, both from Martha (stumbled upon them from her weekly email update).

The Substitutions: nil

The Verdict: Obviously, these were made on Wednesday, for St. Patrick's Day. I really love the idea of theme cooking, and St. Paddy's Day is always a fun one, since Irish Recipes tend to be simple, yet unmistakably in their Irish-ness. I've gotta say, these two might become my festive standards. It was all easy peasy to make, and pretty yummy, as far as Irish recipes go (with my family's penchant for curry, anything without full-on zing is often frowned upon).

First up, the stew. It is a fairly average, but foolproof Irish stew. It's done in the oven, which is nice, because you can tuck it in there and basically forget about it. I think I would consider adding additional veg next time because it was a little low on nutritional value with just potatoes and peas. The stout (I used Guiness, natch) was a good flavour booster, making the gravy taste almost like it had been spiked with red wine. Rich and delicious. It's also pretty good served over rice the next day.

The bread was also a winner, but I think I liked it more than just about anyone else in the family. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've made bread that actually requires kneading, and I looooved making it! I think Aaron considered it kind of amateurish because it didn't come out of the oven in a perfect bakery-style loaf, but I loved its rustic quality. I usually am not very big on caraway and I considered skipping the caraway seeds, but the flavour is actually pretty muted. Hooray for soda bread! This meal was a real success. Luck of the Irish, I suppose.

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