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Back to the Kitchen: A St. Patrick’s Day Celebration for Everyone

Posted By Karen Young On March 11, 2013 @ 11:37 pm In Appetizers,Cocktails,Eat,Entrees,Food,Holidays,My Daily Find,Recipes,Side Dishes | No Comments



Before Saint Patrick’s Day became a secular celebration of Irish Culture, it was a religious holiday that honored the most commonly recognized of the Patron Saints of Ireland. Due to food and alcohol restrictions because March 17 always falls during Lent most Protestants and Catholics celebrated with festivals and parades. As a matter of fact the green clover shamrock that is the most associated with the holiday was originally used by Saint Patrick as a symbol of the holy trinity.

Luckily growing up Irish American we learned to honor our heritage with amazing food. Here are some old family recipes and a few with a bit of a twist! My Italian grandmother Noni married an Irish man and learned to make a traditional Irish stew. I have taken hers and added seasonal butternut squash, parsnips and sweet potatoes! My dad, Jack Kenneally, made the best corned beef and my siblings and I still follow his recipe! I grew up with my red- haired Aunt Lucille’s soda bread recipe, which has been the basic for all of my many variations!

Before one of my many Saint Patrick’s Day dinners I needed a dessert other than thin mint Girl Scout cookies so I came up with one that has since been requested for over 20 years. Can you imagine the decadence of mixing cheesecake with Irish Cream? I’m usually way too stuffed from the meal so I have it the next day with my morning coffee.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by garnishing the chilled cheesecake with green colored sugar just before serving. Or, sprinkle the green colored sugar over a shamrock-shaped template placed on top of chilled cheesecake; remove template to reveal the shamrock design.

However you celebrate the day I hope you enjoy my families generational recipes with your friends and loved ones!

All of these recipes serve 6-8.

Noni Kenneally’s Irish Stew

5 pounds lamb shoulder, cubed

12 red potatoes, cubed

3 large red onions — sliced

4 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1-tablespoon thyme, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups vegetable stock

Using a sharp knife, trim excess fat from meat. Put a layer of sliced potatoes into large stew pot, followed by layer of onions, and then a layer of the cubed meat, sprinkle parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper between the layers. Continue layering and sprinkling, ending with a layer of potatoes on top. Add stock to pot, cover the pot and bring contents to a boil. Turn down heat, and gently simmer until meat is quite tender, about 1  1/2 hours. You may have to stir from time to time and add a little water to keep liquid level up. Be careful not to overdo it, however. Irish stew is thick and should not drown in its own broth.

Gwen’s Lucky Irish Lamb Stew

2 pounds lean boneless lamb, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups beef broth

2 cups dry red wine

1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

2 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash

2 cups 1/2-inch slices peeled parsnip

2 cups cubed, peeled sweet potato

2 cups sliced celery

1 large onion, cut into thin wedges

1 ½ cups sour cream

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In large saucepan brown meat in hot oil; drain fat. Return all meat to pan. Stir in broth, wine, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in squash, parsnip, sweet potato, celery, and onion. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes more or until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. In a small bowl combine sour cream, fresh thyme, and flour. Stir 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the sour cream mixture. Add sour cream mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Jack Kenneally’s Corned Beef

In college and in my first few years living in L.A., while many of my peers were chugging green beer, I was cooking a traditional Irish-American dinner. One year I made 35 pounds of corned beef and there was not a scrap left for sandwiches.  The best part of this meal is that it is done in one pot. The addition of the beef in the boiling water gives the veggies an amazing flavor. This recipe is based on eight people. I recommend that as you add people you add pots. Do half of the beef in each so you can still cook all the veggies in the meat water. I simply serve it with assorted mustards and breads.

6 pounds corned beef brisket

6 garlic cloves

12 peppercorns

6 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoon each–thyme-sage- oregano (Must have been added from one of my Italian relatives.)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 red onions, sliced

10 medium carrots cut into one-inch pieces

16 red new potatoes, scrubbed

2 small heads of green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges each

In a large soup pot cover corned beef with cold water. Add onions, garlic peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper and seasoning. Over medium-high heat bring to a boil. Carefully remove foam with out removing and spices. Reduce heat and cook covered until almost fork tender about 3 hours. Add carrots and potatoes; cook 15 minutes. Add cabbage cook 15 minutes longer until vegetables and brisket are tender. Remove brisket. Slice brisket and arrange on a large platter. Drain vegetables in a colander and return to pot. Toss with butter and place on platter.

Aunt Lucille’s Irish Soda Bread

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon each baking soda-baking powder

1/2-teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

1-cup buttermilk

1/2-cup seedless, dark raisins

Spray a cookie sheet with baker’s joy. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. With a pastry blade cut in butter until mixture resembles a coarse crumbs. Add raisins. Add buttermilk and stir until dry ingredients are just moistened. Turn out on lightly floured board. Gently knead for about 1 minute until smooth. Shape into a ball and then press down until you get a 6-inch circle. With a sharp knife cut a quarter inch cross in the top of the bread. Bake for 40 minutes until top is golden and you hear a hollow sound when lightly tapped. Let cool on rack.

Irish Soda Bread with Fresh Dill

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon each baking powder- baking soda-salt

1/2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to 350. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients Cut butter in with a pastry blade until it resembles coarse crumbs. With a fork add the dill. Add buttermilk and mix until lightly moistened. Turn out to lightly floured board and knead until smooth about 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and make two smooth balls. Place the balls on a large increased cookie sheet. Bake for 40 minutes until top is golden and you hear a hollow sound when lightly tapped. Let cool on rack.

Onion-Corn Rye Bread

2 packages yeast

2 cups warm water

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2-cup warm milk

1-teaspoon salt

2-tablespoon caraway seeds

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons corn oil

4 cups flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 cups rye flour

1 egg white, beaten

Kosher Salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer; soften yeast in 1/2-cup water and 1-teaspoon sugar for about 5 minutes. Add remaining water, milk, sugar, salt, caraway seeds, oil and onion. Add three cups flour. Mix to blend then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Set aside 3 tablespoons of cornmeal for topping. Mix in to dough the remaining cornmeal the rye flour and 1/2-cup flour to make soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until dough is elastic and smooth and small bubbles form under the surface adding a little flour so the dough is not sticky for about 20 minutes. Turn dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic and a towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour. Punch dough down and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough into two equal parts and roll into balls. Place on two greased cookie sheets sprinkled with a little cornmeal. Brush generously with egg white and sprinkle with remaining cornmeal and some kosher salt. Bake for 40 minutes in a pre-heated 350 oven until top is golden and you hear a hollow sound when lightly tapped. Let cool on rack.

Blueberry Soda Bread

1 cup blueberries, fresh, dried or frozen

4 tablespoons melted butter

4 tablespoons honey

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups orange juice

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Bakers Joy cooking spray

2 tablespoons oatmeal

Whisk toge ther melted butter, honey, brown sugar, egg, orange juice, orange oil, and lime and orange zests in large bowl. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and caraway seeds in another mixing bowl. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring well. Gently fold in blueberries and mix thoroughly. Spoon batter into a 9 or 10-inch spring- form pan coated with Bakers Joy. Sprinkle with oatmeal. Bake at 375 degrees until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in pans 15 minutes, then turn onto cake rack to finish cooling.


1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 2 limes

Stir together powdered sugar, orange juice to make soft glaze. Drizzle over cooled bread. Sprinkle with zest!

Irish Cream Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick butter, melted

3 -8 ounce packages cream cheese

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2-cup sugar

1 cup Baileys Irish Cream

1-teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Combine melted butter and crumbs. Press into a sprayed 9-inch spring form pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour mixture into pan. Bake one hour and 15 minutes, until firm in the middle. Cool completely before removing from the pan. Chill for a few hours (overnight) before serving.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.  Check out her websites www.Backtothekitchen.net and  http://magpieminipie.vpweb.com.  Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON

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