It's time for the wearin' o' the green in the land of the red, white and blue.
The luck o' the Irish leads to leprechauns, shamrocks, a rollicking rendition of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," or a hefty serving of corned beef and cabbage.Legends surrounding St. Patrick's Day abound, but few suffer the misconception of the traditional Irish supper of corned beef.
Though the cured beef brisket now wears an Irish label, it was largely unknown to the Irish people until they set foot in the New World. Corned beef was born in America, not Ireland.
Cuts of beef were preserved with coarse grains or corns of salt. Irish-Americans developed the process to prolong the storage life of meat. Today, a spicy brine, rather than dry salt, is used for curing the beef cuts.
And today, the corned beef and cabbage entree bears a traditional label for St. Patrick's Day serving.
But any legitimate wearin' o' the green would be incomplete without additional holiday foods.
Salmon is a must. Served either smoked as an appetizer or poached as an entree, Irish salmon is a delicacy. Many an Irishman depends on the icy waters of the Emerald Isle for a livelihood and salmon is the prized catch.
Complement the corned beef or salmon with a hot slab of Irish Soda Bread, a hearty loaf stuffed with raisins and seasoned with caraway.
With a slice of Irish cheese, the mild, Swiss-type Blarney or the rough, cheddary flavor of Shannon, a predictable St. Paddy's feast begins.
But the luck o' the Irish would fall short without a touch of green in a festive dessert like Chocolate Mint Meringue Pie. A quick and easy ending to a holiday celebration, the pie features a ready-made crust and a blend of egg whites and marshmallow cream to create a never-fail meringue.
A perfect celebration concludes with a kiss of the Blarney Stone for luck, an enthusiastic sing-along and a hike to the neighborhood pub, the center of Irish sociability.
Paddy's Irish Special
2 quarts water
4 cups chopped cabbage
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces deli corned beef, thinly sliced and cut into strips 1/2-inch wide and 3 inches long
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1 package hot roll mix
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
In large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to rolling boil. Add cabbage and cook for 10 minutes; drain. Meanwhile in small skillet, cook and stir onion, garlic, thyme and pepper in margarine until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in drained cabbage, corned beef and Swiss cheese; mix well. Grease large cookie sheet. In large bowl, combine flour mixture and yeast from foil packet; blend well. Stir in hot water, 2 tablespoons margarine and 1 egg until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. With greased or floured hands, shape dough into a ball. Knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.
On lightly floured surface, roll dough in 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Transfer to greased cookie sheet. Spread filling lengthwise down center of dough. Fold long sides of dough over filling; pinch edges together to seal. Carefully turn dough over so seam side is down on cookie sheet, tucking ends under. Cut slits in top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and towel. Let rise for 15 minutes. Uncover dough; brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seed. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Cut into slices; makes 8 servings.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
1 fresh corned beef, 5-6 pounds
2 onions, each studded with 3 whole cloves
4 carrots, peeled and halved
2 ribs celery, halved
4 sprigs parsley
1 green cabbage (3 pounds), cored and cut into 6 wedges
12 small new potatoes
6 small leeks
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 21/2-inch lengths
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 cups Horseradish Cream Sauce
Horseradish Cream Sauce:
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup prepared horseradish, drained
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place corned beef in large stock pot. Add onions, halved carrots, celery, and parsley sprigs. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours, turing beef over in the broth every 30 minutes.
Remove meat from stock and strain. Add cabbage, potatoes, leeks, cut up carrots, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Arrange beef on warmed platter and surround with cook vegetables. Ladle broth over beef and vegetables, sprinklw with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Serve with Horeseradish Cream Sauce.
For sauce, whip cream until soft peaks form. Combine mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard in another bowl; forld in whipped cream. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well and serve. Makes 8-10 servings.
From the New Basics Cookbook
Chocolate Mine Meringue Pie
1 chocolate-flavored ready-mide pie crust
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mint chocolate chips melted.
5-6 green marschino cherries
1/2 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow cream
2 egg whites.
Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and melted chips; pour into pie shell. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 35 minutes; cool. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add half jar of marshmallow cream; beat together until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie, taking care to seal the edges. Bake at 450 degrees for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with green cherries. Makes 8 servings.
Classic Irish Soda Bread
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
Place raisins and caraway seeds in a large bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pour sifted mixture over raisins. Add butter, eggs and milk to the bowl and milk well.
Place dough on a floured board and mold into a rounded loaf. Place the loaf into a greased 9-by-5-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve at once or cool and serve toasted.
Father Flannagan's Cheese Soup
4 cans chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Blarney (or Swiss) cheese, grated
Simmer chicken broth with garlic for 20 minutes; add flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cream and grated cheese; stir until completely melted. Garnish with parsley and serve pumpernickel bread.