I just wanted to wish everyone a
Happy St. Patrick's Day.
I'm sharing two recipes from a delightful cookbook that I've had for a while: The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook by LOVE FOOD, an imprint of Parragon Books Ltd, UK.
The first recipe, roasted shallots, is the perfect side dish for roasted pork, chicken, or just about anything. The recipe calls for banana shallots, but small onions or shallots will do. The flavor is mild, and the dish won't compete with your entrée--but the flavor is dense, savory, and slightly smoky, with touch of apples.
2 Tablespoons apple juice concentrate
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon chopped thyme
Thyme for garnish
sea salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded mild Irish cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Into a bowl, add apple juice, olive oil, and theme. Whisk and set aside. Peel shallots and cut off ends. Slice in half (length-wise), place slices in the bowl, and toss, coating the shallots well. (I didn't measure my olive oil, and you can see the result below. Note to self: Using your measuring spoons!)
Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the shallots to a (Pam-sprayed) baking dish.
Sprinkle shallots with bread crumbs. Salt and pepper.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until shallots begin to darken at the edges. Place cheese on top and
continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes (or until cheese melts). Remove from oven and garnish with parsley and thyme sprigs.
Next, I made Beef and Stout pies, which my family loved. It's heartwarming on a cold, late-winter evening. The original recipe involves transferring things into separate bowls and draining the beef (after you've made the gravy). Since I am a certified exhausted cook, I simplified things a bit. My additions are in blue.
Beef and Stout Pies
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping Tablespoon Hungarian Paprika
2 pounds boneless chuck steak (or eye of round), cut into 1" cubes
vegetable oil (to fry meat)
1 1/4 cups beef stock
1 onion, chopped
8 ounced cremini mushrooms (same as Baby Bellas), discard stems and quarter the caps
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 cup stout (I used 1/4 cup Smithwick's Lager)
1 pound store-bought puff pastry
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
Into a bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. (I added a heaping tablespoon of Hungarian paprika). Toss the beef cubes until coated. Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium high flame. Fry the meat in batches, transferring each one to a paper-towel lined plate. Transfer meat into a large bowl. Now, deglaze the skillet by adding a little stock, then scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. (At this point, the Easy Version of the recipe begins.) Add 1 or 2 Tablespoons oil (actually, 1 T. will be plenty) to the skillet; sautee the mushrooms and onion. Add tomato paste, thyme, stout (I mixed this in a separate bowl.) Blend well. Add the mixture to meat/onions. Add remaining stock. Stir until blended. (At this point, you can add 2 peeled, cubed potatoes and 3 peeled, sliced carrots, if desired. Add the potatoes during the last 30 minutes or so to prevent them from disintegrating.)
Reduce the flame and simmer the stew until thickened, about 45 minutes to an hour (or until carrots are tender). Stir frequently. (I have a gas cooktop, and I use a "flame tamer" to prevent scorching.)
Spoon meat mixture into a casserole dish or individual pie pans.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Roll out the puff pastry and place it over the filling, trimming and crimping the edges. Save the scraps to decorate the top of the pie. Brush the pastry with the egg wash. Using a knife, cut slits in the top of the crust. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake 5 additional minutes. If necessary, place tin foil around the edges of the crust to prevent burning.
"May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go."