October 2021 Challenge: Irish

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I made some pickle meat for the Cajun/Creole challenge. It is basically chunks of pork shoulder in a vinegar, salt and hot sauce brine. A key ingredient to really good red beans and rice.

mjb.
 
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I've seen a pork shoulder corned by plugging it with salt.

I made some pickle meat for the Cajun/Creole challenge. It is basically chunks of pork shoulder in a vinegar, salt and hot sauce brine. A key ingredient to really good red beans and rice.
See, this is just it. Is old-school Irish pickled pork done with vinegar or salt? I suspect salt -- should be easy to come by in an island nation -- but I don't actually know.
 
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Did a little more searching. Most Irish newspapers have at one time or another run an article on how to make your own pickled pork, and they all look basically like corned beef but with pork. Here's an example from The Irish Examiner: https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/arid-20033092.html

I think what Alton Brown is making in that video clip is New Orleans-style pickled pork, which is a fundamentally different beast.

In any event, I didn't mean to derail this thread. Sorry! But I may well make some proper Irish pickled pork and have it with cabbage and potatoes....
 
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Darina makes it with a rather simple salt cure. I trust Darina on matters of Irish cookery.

I concur that no matter what Alton called it… it was something different.

As a complete aside, my Irish great-great grandfather, while living in Northern England between 1840 and 1850, was a salt dealer.
 
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Boxty - an Irish potato pancake

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
If you can’t make boxty,
You’ll never get a man.
Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
The wee one in the middle,
That’s the one for Mary Anne.”


(Traditional Irish Rhyme)​

I dedicate this to my great-grand-aunt, MaryAnn, who was the eldest child of my great-great-grandparents and was born not long after they left the Emerald Isle to settle for a while in Northern England. Little is known about her because she became lost to the family until I recently re-discovered her and her story. Apparently the transition to the United States was just a bit strenuous on this girl and she sought "comfort" in "worldly ways". At 17 she spent a few months in the city jail for "wantonness" but absconded and re-appeared a few years later with a child on the other side of the country. She married a widower man more than twice her age, had a few more children with him, and died at 35 years of age. Nobody in the family today remembered even hearing about her.

The ingredients:

One lonely old Russet potato

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The boxty process:

Half mashed with cream, half grated (raw), some flour, and a bit of baking powder for lightness. Some recipes use egg but I like this soft so didn't. Mix and fry slowly in butter.

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The results - BOXTY:

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A couple questions for people who know things about Irish cooking, about which I know very little.

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.

It's a dark topic and I speak to it whenever I hear the old famine being mentioned.

Ireland produced some of the strongest, tallest and healthiest people in Europe, the country was known as the strong man of Europe. Quite honestly, huge strong men. You had to be six foot two just to be a police man. We were always highly educated, and exported the most educated monks around Europe, we were known as the "land of saints and scholars". This is why a tiny country like Ireland has world class universities like Trinity (my alma mater) and UCD.

As Frank O'Connor once said, "Famine is a useful word when you do not wish to use words like ‘genocide’ and ‘extermination".

"A famine did not truly exist. There was no food shortage in Ireland evidenced by the fact that the British landowners (masters/invaders/slavers) continued to have a varied diet and food stuffs were exported to oversees British colonies. This was not the first failure of the potato crop in the history of Ireland. The starvation (and genocide) occurred as the British carried on their historical exploitation of the Irish people, failed to take appropriate action in the face of the failure of the potato crop, and maintained their racist attitude toward the Irish."

Irish food was being stolen, leading to preventable deaths. I know a lot about this, Irish catholic schools educate us about the 800 year invasion.

Here endeth the sermon.
 
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C’mon lads and lassies… let’s get through the mid-month challenge doldrums!

Not Irish, so not an entry, but served at my cousin’s Irish-American pub…

DESSERT

A pre-baked butter crust and a bowl of chocolate pastry cream. I wonder what this will become???

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Results to follow… the pastry cream is chilling!

Ta da… Chocolate Cream Pie!

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So I was watching a video about making colcannon, and she served it with what she called bacon steak.

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I want a slice of that! Certainly not something I see in the markets here in Utah.

Probably don't have time to cure and smoke a chunk of pork before the challenge ends, will have to just do a slice of nice ham with mine when I make it.

mjb.
 
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Just wanted to <oomph> this thread.

I made colcannon, but although it tasted good it looked awful in my photos.

I had an idea for making boxty, but every time I turn around something gets in the way; seems like this month is just too crazy for inventiveness.

I do have one great idea for a final entry -- a guaranteed loser but nevertheless a true Bostonian approach to Irish cooking -- and I hope to execute it this weekend.

Please, guys, show me what Irish cuisine can be!
 
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I've had some issues crop up too, nothing like your main computer just suddenly kissing the turf. Took some time but I got a new box up and running, I'm back on the air.

Working on one dish I hope to get posted tomorrow, it involves mutton and potatoes.

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mjb.
 
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Sorry to hear about the computer problems. That can be quite debilitating and take time/effort to resolve. Can’t wait to see your entry… I like those basic ingredients!
 
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Okay, dinner is done, plate is pretty clean. I am full and happy with this one. The other day a friend on Facebook showed pictures of the dinner her husband requested for his birthday. It was meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. Looked really good to me, so I did an Irish take on basic meat and potatoes.

The Players

So you have already seen the picture of the mutton ribs I managed to find after driving all over town, so you have seen the meat, Here's what went into the potatoes.

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A few yukon gold, scallions, butter. The mint was used to make a sauce for the mutton. We've already seen colcannon, so I went with champ.

The Process

First off, the mutton went into a roasting pan, got seasoned with salt and pepper. A few coarsely crushed garlic cloves were scattered around.

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A quick trip to the garden for some thyme and rosemary. The pan was covered tightly with foil, went into a 300F oven for about 4 hours. Pulled out of the oven, cooled for a bit, then out to the garage fridge overnight.

After I got home from work in the morning ( I work 10pm to 6am ) got the pan into a 350F oven while I worked on the potatoes. Peeled, sliced, into salted water.

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Yes, melting some of that butter in a little pot off to the side.

Some of the mint leaves were pulled off the stems, chopped fairly finely. Put in a small bowl, poured some hot water over them to steep for about a minute or two, then drained and a quick cold water rinse. A bit of sugar was mixed with a couple tablespoons of malt vinegar and a pinch of salt. Mint leaves stirred in, sauce was set aside, back to the potatoes.

Chopped the scallions not too finely. Put about a cup and a half of milk into a pot, a "wee knob" of butter, and the scallions were added. On low heat while the potatoes continued boiling.

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Potatoes done, drained, returned to the pot. The milk mixture was poured into a bowl through a strainer. Wasn't sure how much of the milk and butter mix needed to be added to the patoots to get the consistency I wanted. Ended up using it all. After mashing, added the scallions that were cooked in the milk, mixed it up, added some salt, then the rest of the chopped scallions.

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Got it all mixed, final pinch of salt added. One nice pot of Irish champ done!

Mutton is warmed up and ready.

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Meat is very tender, real fall off the bone stuff. Time to plate it up.

The Product

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Pile of champ on the plate, with a well of extra butter. The rib meat was pulled the bone, the mint sauce drizzled on top. It doesn't get much more basic and down home comforting than this!

The mutton was quite tasty, not quite as gamy tasting as I thought it might be. Definitely on the fatty side, but the mint with vinegar sauce was a very nice counterpoint to that. Don't know why Americans started using that hideously sweet, fluorescent green mint jelly with lamb instead of a right proper sauce.

All in all not a very difficult meal to cook. Roasted meat, mashed potatoes. No culinary wizardry needed. The hardest part was finding the mutton. Drove to several markets that seemed likely to have it before I found what I wanted. And it took a visit to three different places to find fresh mint!

Like I said at the beginning, I am full and happy. And the kitchen is a mess.

mjb.

ps: I forgot to move the glass of Murphy's Irish stout into the final picture. Oops.
 
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