Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America
I expected to be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year in warmer temperatures. Keeping in mind I live in the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t have my bar set too high, however waking to a snowy morn on the 13th of March wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. So looking up hearty Irish recipes from the Emerald Isle was a warm beginning to my chilly Tuesday.
Like many Irish Americans, I feel a deep sense of cohesiveness on the festive day of the Wearing of the Green. The Irish began marching in New York City while fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War, to reconnect with their Irish roots. Other parades in years and decades after were held in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and now are spread throughout the entire United States creating bonds of solidarity in Irish communities.
It’s ironic then isn’t it that St. Patrick wasn’t even an Irishman. Factual information about his life and times are vague, although it is known he was born in Britain around A.D. 390 into a Romano-British family, with both his father and grandfather Deacons in a Christian Church. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish raiders, sent overseas to tend sheep in the chilly mountainous countryside of Ireland where he remained for seven years. Folklore suggests he had dreams and heard voices that told him to escape his captivity, which he then did, found passage on a ship and returned home to Britain.
Patrick was ordained as a Priest and guided by voices, he returned to Ireland and spent the remainder of his years traveling the isle and converting the Irish to Christianity. His life was not an easy one, he was beaten by thugs, harassed by Irish royalty and admonished by British superiors. There are many myths surrounding the Priest who would eventually become a Saint. On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world and on the anniversary of his death over 13 million pints are raised in his honor.
Let’s begin with my favorite toast as we raise a glass ~
May you be half an hour in Heaven, Before the Devil knows you’re dead.
This recipe serves 4 and the ingredient list is a simple one.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 cups strong hot coffee
- 4 ounces Irish Whiskey
Directions: Whisk cream and sugar together in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Divide coffee and whiskey among 4 coffee cups, then top each with 1/2 cup whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Then came the most difficult portion of the recipe search. I wanted something traditional, hearty and delicious and didn’t need to look far.
Irish Lamb Stew ~ this gorgeous, satisfying recipe is from MarthaStewart.com. When you go in, browse around on the site for more tantalizing cuisine.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Course salt and ground pepper
- 3 pounds boneless lamb stew (preferably shoulder), trimmed o excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups dark beer
- 1 1/2 pounds medium new potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut 1/2 inch thick diagonally
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge lamb in flour mixture, shaking off excess. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
- Pour 1/4 cup water into pot, scraping up browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and onion is beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Return lamb to pot; stir in thyme, beer and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover; simmer until lamb is tender. 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Add potatoes, carrots and 1/2 cup water. Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely before storing. Stir in parsley just before serving.
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