Monday, March 17, 2008

Éire go Brách

I made a nice Irish stew for St. Patrick's day. The recipe came from here where it's actually more like a pot pie. A Beef and Guinness Pie, mmmm....

It's fun to cook with Guinness, cause then you get to have a pint to go with the meal.

I read most of the reviews of this dish (quite popular) and increased the amount of beer as many had recommended. I don't think I'll do that next time and just stick with the one cup as called for in the recipe. I like my stews to be a little less soupy. I was also pleased with how well the pastry dough (pie crust) came out. I've been mostly meh with my pie crusts, but this time it turned out quite good.

For sides, I roasted some left over fingerling potatoes, red carrots and radishes that I needed to use up. M wondered why I didn't just throw it into the pie, as it's not uncommon to have these veggies in a beef stew. But I wanted to try and stay loyal to the recipe, but still have some kind of vegetables on the side. I actually ended up cutting up my veggies with my fork and mixing it up with my beef as it was. I can't explain it, but I like it better this way as opposed to cooking it all together in one go.

Oh and I also made some braised cabbage which is really more of a southern recipe than Irish. But I thought it would go well with the stew and the potatoes.

Southern Braised Cabbage (in Louisiana, they always called it "smothered cabbage")
1 cabbage with the outer leaves removed, then cored, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1/4 lb of kielbasa or any similarly cured sausage cut into 1/4" rounds (my mom always used that polish kielbasa from hill farms? I can't remember. But I had a bit of pancetta left that I wanted to use up. It was a little sweeter than I'd like this to be, but it was okay). Oh and if you like your cabbage to be meatier, you can use more sausage, but this dish is meant to be just garnished with the meat
Salt/Pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil

Sautee onions in olive oil over medium high heat until golden. Add sausage and cook until meat is cooked and onions are carmelized. Add cabbage and stir to turn so that it has a chance to become thoroughly coated with the onion/sausage/juices.

Lower heat to low and cover. Stir occasionally to make sure that the cabbage on top has a chance to move to the bottom of the pan and the more tender wilted cabbage on the bottom is moved up so that it doesn't scorch. Also, there should be a little liquid at the bottom of the pan, so use this to help scrape up any bits (using a wooden spoon) from the sausage/onions that browned and stir it to incorporate with the rest of the cabbage.

Cook until the more thicker bits of cabbage are tender and everything has reduced to a glossy tender flavourful mess. There will be some juices from the cabbage, but the mixture should not be soupy. If you find that there is too much water from the cabbage, cook uncovered to evaporate the liquid.

Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

After dinner, M was goofing off on the computer and I discovered that I was exceptionally tired.

I actually didn't feel all that pooped, but the photographs tell a different story it seems.

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