I wanted to offer a few of my favourite Irish recipes ahead of St. Patrick's Day:
Brown Soda Bread
Potato Leek Soup
For Brown Soda Bread:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons toasted wheat bran
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1-teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ stick chilled butter cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk (add slowly-you may not need it all)
Preheat oven to 425. Butter a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until you have a fine meal. Add milk slowly until there is soft dough. Do not knead-you do not want to develop gluten in the bread. Place in pan and bake until it tests clean (about 40 minutes). Cool in pan five minutes then turn out on rack and cool completely before slicing.
For Treacle Farls
(If you cannot locate treacle, use dark molasses).
4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1-teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
½ stick chilled butter cut into pieces
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons treacle or dark molasses
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Flour a baking sheet. Combine dry ingredients and then cut in the butter until a fine meal is had. Add the buttermilk and molasses slowly-you may not need it all. Shape into an 8 inch round about 1 ½ inch high. Cut into 4 wedges. Transfer wedges to the baking sheet spaced apart and bake until well browned-about 30 minutes. Cool on racks
Leek and Potato Soup
3 tablespoons butter
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only) halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced
2 large russet potatoes peeled and diced.
4-½ cups (or more) chicken or vegetable stock
Melt butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add leeks and coat with butter. Cover and cook until tender-about 10 minutes. Stir often. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes soften but do not brown-again, keep stirring. Add stock and reduce heat. Cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender (about 30 minutes).
Puree soup in a blender or food processor (in small batches, please) until smooth. Return to pan. Thin with additional stock if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
Mine is so simple it is absurd. Make mashed potatoes. Mix in spinach (I cannot stand kale, but if you prefer to be traditional, go right ahead). Serve mounded on plate with a well of melted butter at the top. See, I told you it was simple.
Have a lovely St. Patrick's Day