October 2021 Challenge: Irish

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So in preparation for being this month's challenge host, I did notice that the British Isles (not a concept I subscribe too, or ever will) were mentioned.... As Autumn is upon us it's time for a specifically Irish dish, be it a stew, or a delicious fish pie, etc, even junk food like the famous Spice Bag.

Breads, pork dishes, potato dishes, and last but not least fish dishes are all on the October menu.
Unleash you inner Jerry Kirwan (M.star), Aidan McGrath, Darina Allen, Nevin Maguire, etc.

I would love to see everyone's personal connections to Irish cuisine. Extra points will go to those dishes with a personal connection, something you ate on a trip to Ireland that has stuck with you, or a classic that you slaved to learn to cook correctly at school. Put your heart into it!
 
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This could be interesting. Years ago there was a little restaurant in downtown Salt Lake that had a great lunch special one day of the week, a bowl of very good Irish lamb stew. You could tell it was made in house from scratch. And they had Belhaven beer, which back in the day was quite a rarity. Yes, the beer is Scottish, but the style they had ( 80 Schilling? ) went very well with the stew and the soda bread.

Maybe I'll try my hand at making such a meal.

mjb.

ps: I wonder if this challenge will get some people to look into the real history of corned beef and cabbage?
 
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So, I decided anything potato is Irish.

I had 2 old potatoes lying around and sliced them thinly with a box grater and threw them in salted water.

Left them there for an hour or so and then moved them to first a colander and then an towel to dry.
I then took out my traditional Irish frying vessel and heated the oil
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Thee silvery bit is my wind break

Added the potatoes in small amounts
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And enjoyed my snack

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IRISH SODA BREAD

When I was a young lad, Irish Soda Bread was a treat that accompanied the annual St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner... as well as many beef stews and New England boiled dinners during the rest of the year. It's easier than biscuits and just as yummy.

There are many recipes, some adorned with caraway (why???). This is a traditional basic soda bread.

Ingredients: Flour, Corn Starch, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, a bit of sugar, salt, and buttermilk.

Mixed, formed into a round loaf, blessed with the sign-of-the-cross, and baked.

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Tonight it will be served with an Irish supper, which will be posted separately. It's still cooking. :)
 
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Dublin Coddle (an Irish Stew)

My great-great-grandfather, an Irishman, left Ireland before the potato famine, spent a decade in Northern England, and then emigrated to New England in the United States. He did not come alone but brought his in-laws and some other Irish refugees too.

A distant cousin, with whom I maintain an ongoing friendship, is fellow genealogical prodigy of those immigrants. His great-great uncle married my great-great aunt. While his family continued to marry within the Irish community, my family "diversified" so he is definitely more Irish than me. His family operates an Irish pub/restaurant that is now being transitioned to a third generation of his family. This traditional Dublin recipe is an adaptation of a winter special on the menu at their restaurant.

Irish Meat: Bangers and bacon.

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Irish Vegetables: Potato, carrot, onion, with some garlic too.

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Irish Stew Seasoning: Stout, rosemary, and bay laurel. Salt and pepper (not shown)

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Irish Stewing (the verb): Into the pot and it is stewed low and slow (coddled) for a couple of hours:

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Final Product: Dublin Coddle

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That's a nice hunk of bacon! I was thinking of doing a Dublin coddle as well later this month, wondering what type of sausage I could find in Salt Lake that would be appropriate.

mjb.
 
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That's a nice hunk of bacon! I was thinking of doing a Dublin coddle as well later this month, wondering what type of sausage I could find in Salt Lake that would be appropriate..
The bangers were at Whole Foods… for Oktoberfest. Odd, I think… but it worked for me.

The bacon was double-smoked belly. Probably not exactly authentic to Ireland but yummy. That was the final appearance of “Arnold”.

Not to brag, but as Iceman often says, “there were no leftovers.” Even my “vegetarian-wife” mopped up the last of the gravy with the rest of the soda bread. LOL
 
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A couple questions for people who know things about Irish cooking, about which I know very little.

1. I have read that corned beef became a US Irish staple (e.g., corned beef and cabbage at St. Patrick's Day) because Irish immigrants couldn't get pickled pork and found that Jewish corned beef was quite similar. Does anyone know what pickled pork is, precisely, and whether you can make it by "corning" a hunk of pork shoulder or the like?

2. I understand that the potato famine came about because there was one dominant breed of potato, which got wiped out by a blight, and since this one potato breed was about 80% of what poor people all over Ireland ate, the result was devastation. There have been reconstruction efforts on heritage breeds, and I have read that this original potato breed has been restored. Does anyone know anything about its characteristics? I mean by this, if I were looking for a common US-available potato to substitute for this heritage breed, would I be looking for russet, white boiling, red bliss, Yukon gold, etc.?
 
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An interesting fact: in the US Jewish and Irish ghettos were often co-located. Where my ancestors settled, the Irish built their church and settled on what was known as Irish hill. The other end of the block was Jewish. They were equally despised by the Know-Nothings, and it seems most everyone else. It was a really rough end of town from the 1850’s until the 1980’s when it was leveled and re-developed. The absolute last act of an urban renewal project that started in the 1960’s. It’s not that the other areas were more in need, but few really wanted to deal with this end of town. Historical bias.

To the best of my knowledge, ‘pickled’ and ‘corned’ are synonymous. Pickled refers to the brining process; Corned refers to the character of the salt traditional for pickling in the old days.
 
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The cause of the potato famine… a very complex discussion… both agriculturally and politically. It’s worth spending some time researching before concluding that it was the breed of potato.

Ireland exported as much or more potato than they consumed in the years prior to the famine. They were just another colony operated as a commercial enterprise being sucked dry by their masters.

If I were to guess… starchy potato. And, that’s great that heritage vegetables are restored. We have a bit more control over potential pathogens today, I hope.
 

phatch

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To the best of my knowledge, ‘pickled’ and ‘corned’ are synonymous. Pickled refers to the brining process; Corned refers to the character of the salt traditional for pickling in the old days.
Yes, to the salt shape, but also the shape of the spices. Corn was a generic term for the individual bits of grain before maize became corn in general parlance. Thus peppercorn.
 

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