Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a Guinness Stew and Brown Bread kind of day

I woke up this morning to a chilly, rainy Sunday. You know, the kind that makes you want to stay in and watch old movies or read a good book while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee?  It's also the kind of day that makes you want some comfort food - and my comfort food today is all Irish !!  Tonight's dinner will consist of a bowl of Guinness stew with mashed potatoes, brown soda bread with Dubliner cheese and probably a Guinness as well.  I can't think of a more cozy, comforting dinner.  Plus, it makes me feel close to my Irish friends that I miss so much.  Sláinte!

Guinness Stew
From Liam Neeson - Glens of Antrim Irish Stew
Serves 4

1 oz. butter
2 pounds lamb or beef, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
8 ounces beef stock
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 potatoes, cubed
1 bottle Guinness
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas, optional

Melt butter in a large pan and fry the meat until browned on all sides.  Do not crowd pan; brown the meat in two or three batches if necessary.  Remove meat from the pan, add the onion and carrots and cook until slightly softened; add garlic.

Return the meat to the pan, add the flour, stock, tomato paste and sugar.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and add the potatoes, Guinness, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and salt and pepper.

Cover and cook over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.  Just before serving, stir in the peas if using and serve over mashed potatoes.

I also frequently make this in the crockpot !!

Hargadon's Brown Soda Bread
From the Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson
Makes 1 loaf

3 cups coarse whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9x5x3 inch bread pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.  With a wooden spoon, stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients.  Spoon the dough into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula that has been dipped in water or buttermilk.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Turn the bread out onto the rack and let cool, right side up, for about 1 hour to make slicing easier.

Amazing when served with Kerry Gold Irish butter and/or Dubliner cheese !!

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