Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Before everyone starts celebrating their Irish roots, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite drinks and foods of Ireland!

1.) To start off your day right, let's enjoy an Irish Coffee!



3.) Scones











(Photo from online since I did not think to snap one!!)

10.) And of course... there is nothing like a pint of Guinness! 


Happy St. Patrick's Day!! 

Try to drink responsibly.... ;)








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Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Stew (with Guinness)

Tomorrow is St. Patty's Day, and like many of you, I will most likely be enjoying a Guinness or two! So with that in mind, I wanted to share another delicious, hearty, Irish meal.


Irish Stew is such a comfort food and is sure to soothe any hungry stomach! The best part about Irish Stew is that you can really have fun with it.  There are of course more traditional ways of making the stew, but depending on the veggies and flavor you want, you can pretty much throw anything into the pot and see what comes out! I am of course all for the traditional style, but I like to add twists too.  Therefore, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I made my Irish Stew more of a Guinness Stew!

Traditional Irish Stew with Guinness

Ingredients:
-1 tablespoon butter and olive oil
-2 to 2 1/2 pounds lamb or beef for stew, cubed (go for the Lamb if you can)
-1 bag baby potatoes, or 3-4 potatoes cubed
-1 bag baby carrots or a few carrots peeled and sliced
-2-3 parsnips peeled and sliced (optional)
-1 to 2 onions, sliced
-1 bottle of Guinness (optional)
-About 1-2 cups of beef stock (if not using the Guinness, then you will need to use more)
-Thyme, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes.  Now is also a good time to add a little of the seasoning.

Then, add the meat and let it brown up a little.  Add the carrots and parsnips (is using), and continue to saute for a few minutes.

Pour in the Guinness (if using), and then add the beef stock.  Please note, you may not use all of the beef stock.  Only feel the pan with stock until it is just about to cover the ingredients, but do not drown/fully cover the ingredients with the stock. Let this simmer for an hour or two.  When I have time, I like to let it simmer on very low heat all day.

After the stew has simmered for an hour or so, add in the potatoes.  Now is also a good time to taste the broth a little and add seasoning if needed. Cook for about another 30-45 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are fork tendered.

It is of course best to make this a day ahead of time and allow the flavors to meld together, but I of course can never wait, so I always scoop out a bowl as soon as it is ready.... and usually burn my tongue! So make sure to blow on the stew a bit to cool it down! :)


Serve with a Guinness and some Irish Soda Bread or Brown Bread and you are good to go! Enjoy! Pin It

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

Ahh Spring is in the air and St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this year! Could life get any better!? In order to begin celebrating the wonderful St. Patrick and all things Ireland, I decided to make a more traditional Shepherd's Pie.  Although Shepherd's Pie may have technically been an English dish, the way the Irish make it in Ireland is just so darn delicious! It may be messy and look like a pile mush, but it is one tasty pile of push! :)


In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I also decided to add Guinness to the dish, as well as make a Guinness gravy! Let's just say we hoovered this meal down! Oh, and don't let the ingredient list scare you. It may seem like a lot, but it really is so easy to make, and so worth it too!

Shepherd's Pie
Ingredients


For the Meat Mixture:
-1 to 2 tablespoons butter
-1.5 pounds ground beef or lamb
-1 large onion, diced
-1 cup of carrots, diced
-4 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon tomato paste
-1/4 cup flour
-1 cup Guinness (optional - if you do not use then you may need to add more beef broth)
-1 cup beef broth
-1/2 cup red wine
-1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
-1 cup frozen peas
-Salt and pepper to taste (can season with oregano, parsley, etc if desired)

For the Potatoes:
-About 4 large potatoes
-1/2 cup heavy cream (may need to add more or add some milk)
-4 tablespoons butter
-Salt, pepper, and parsley to taste
-Freshly shredded white cheddar cheese

Gravy (adapted from Irish American Mom)
-1 1/2 cups water
-2 packets brown gravy mix
-About 1/4 to 1/3 cup Guinness
-1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
-1 teaspoon tomato paste
-1 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, boil the potatoes until fork tender (about 15-20 minutes).  Strain the water and mash immediately while still hot.  Stir in the cream and butter and season to taste.  If the potatoes are not "whipped" and smooth enough, then add a little more cream or milk until it is the consistency you prefer.

In a separate, large, pan, melt the butter and saute the onions, carrots, and garlic.  Add the meat and season with salt and pepper and any other spices you prefer.  Once the meat begins to cook a bit more, stir in the tomato paste.  Then, stir in the flour. Add the wine, and allow to reduce a little before adding in the Guinness and the broth. Simmer for about a half hour.

Then, stir in the worcestershire sauce and peas. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.

In a lightly greased 9x13 pan or casserole dish, spread the meat mixture evenly over the bottom of the dish.  Then, take the mashed potatoes and spread them evenly on top of the meat mixture.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and crisp, and the top begins to golden. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or longer. It's sometimes best to make this the day before so all of the flavors meld together more, like a lasagna!


While the Shepherd's Pie is baking, prepare the gravy.  In a small saucepan, whisk all gravy ingredients together.  Once the mixture begins to boil and bubble, remove from heat.

Pour the gravy over your portion of pie, and dig in!


Enjoy! 

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