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Tag Archives: Ireland

Split Pea Soup with Ham

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Still looking for something festive to make for St. Patrick’s Day, but corned beef and cabbage isn’t your thing? How about some smooth, green pea soup, slow-cooked with smokey ham hocks, and served with homemade croutons? Might that be your thing?

Split Pea Soup with Ham

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dried split peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 10 cups chicken broth, water or vegetable broth
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to get tender. Add the carrots. Cook for a couple more minutes. Add the peas, liquid, and ham hocks. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the peas from sticking on the bottom. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The peas should almost completely break down as the soup simmers. Remove the ham hocks and set aside. Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired texture. If the soup is thicker than you prefer, add a bit more broth or water. If the soup is too thin, simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid. Season with a generous amount of salt (a few teaspoons should be about right) and pepper. Remove the skin, bone, and fat from the ham hocks. Pull apart or chop the meat and add it to the soup.

For the croutons: Cut French bread into chunks. (Slightly stale bread works best.) Toss in a bit of olive oil. Season as desired. Salt, pepper, and garlic powder work well. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. I prefer my croutons to be crispy on the outside and slightly tender in the center!

A couple other St. Patty’s Day dinner ideas:

Guinness-Braised Beef over Buttered Noodles

In Like a Lamb Shepherd’s Pie


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Boiled Irish Dinner and Irish Soda Bread

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We’re just days away from St. Patrick’s Day now! Our green clothing has been starched and ironed and my iPod is loaded with my favorite bagpipe tunes. Ok… so, I admit there are no bagpipe tunes on my iPod and I’ve never actually starched a shirt. But, we are ready for our day o’ green! Everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day, so polish your step-dancing shoes, tuck a shamrock behind your ear, and celebrate in Irish style!

When it comes to selecting an Irish meal for St. Patty’s Day, it doesn’t get any more traditional than a boiled corned beef and cabbage dinner. Corned beef seems to be one of those divisive meals. People tend to fall into one of two corned beef camps; the lovers and the haters. You can call me president of the club for corned beef lovers! I love it prepared as a classic corned beef and cabbage meal and I love every possible incarnation of corned beef leftovers that follows.

Over the years, I’ve prepared corned beef in a number of different ways. I’ve tried the slow-cooker method. I’ve baked it. I’ve braised it. I love it no matter how you prepare it, but in my stubborn Irish opinion, I firmly believe that boiled is best. On top of producing an incredibly tender brisket, the added bonus is that it couldn’t be any simpler to prepare. It’s a full meal, boiled in a pot.

Enjoy your boiled Irish dinner with a fresh slice of Irish soda bread and a tall glass of your favorite Irish libation. Have one for me while you’re at it!

Boiled Irish Dinner

Corned Beef with Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 Corned Beef Brisket
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped (or substitute baby carrots)
  • Red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 head of cabbage, cut into wedges

Directions

Place the corned beef brisket in a large pot. Sprinkle with the packet of seasoning included with the brisket. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the brisket. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3-4 hours, until fork tender. Add the cut potatoes and carrots to the pot during the last 20 minutes of cooking time and the cabbage during the last 15 minutes. Remove the corned beef from the water and cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting against the grain. Remove the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to serve on the side.

Corned Beef Tip #1 – Remove excess exterior fat before slicing and serving for a more appetizing presentation.

Corned Beef Tip #2 – Your tender corned beef is likely to fall apart while you slice it. This works fine when served as a corned beef dinner, but if you’d prefer to thinly slice the brisket for sandwiches, allow the corned beef to cool in the refrigerator before slicing and reheating. Cooled corned beef slices easier than hot corned beef.

Irish soda bread makes the perfect accompaniment to a boiled Irish dinner. Soda bread is in the family of breads known as quick breads. It’s a no-yeast-required bread, which gets its rise from the reaction between baking soda and acidic buttermilk. It can be prepared with or without caraway seeds, raisins, or other dried fruits. My personal preference is seed-free, but loaded with raisins, served slightly warm with a generous smear of butter.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter. Stir in the raisins. Stir in the buttermilk and egg until a sticky dough begins to form. Once the dough becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead the dough until well blended. If the dough is still too sticky to handle, add up to 1/4 cup additional flour. Form the dough into a round loaf and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a knife to cut an ‘X’ in the top of the loaf. Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.

*Recipe adapted from a combination and modification of the Food Network Irish Soda Bread recipes found here and here.

St. Patty’s Day Grasshopper Pie

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Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and boy are we excited!

I couldn’t be more proud of my Irish heritage. As a child, I remember interrogating my young classmates about their Kiss Me, I’m Irish pins, demanding to know if they were really Irish and then triumphantly proclaiming that I, in fact, was really Irish. Top that, second grader!

The existence of a holiday devoted to celebrating all things Irish has surely contributed to my bloated sense of Irish pride. I may be somewhat delusional, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all people wish they were at least a little Irish. My husband, who can not count Ireland amongst his countries of origin, tries to argue that he must be Irish, since he has Irish children. His persistence about inheriting an Irish background from our children, is further proof of my theory that all people wish they were Irish…at least on St. Patty’s Day!

We’ve got a few yummy things lined up for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There will be corned beef and cabbage, of course, with boiled potatoes and carrots. The kids and I will also be baking fresh Irish soda bread with raisins, which we’ll lather with Irish butter. And for dessert, we’re having perfectly minty Grasshopper Pie! We’ll start with a chocolate cookie crust, which we’ll fill with a rich layer of dark chocolate peppermint pudding. Bright green whipped cream and crushed Grasshopper cookies will add the finishing touches.

Grasshopper Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 chocolate cookie pie crust
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups whipped cream or Cool Whip
  • Green food coloring
  • 5-6 Grasshopper or Thin Mint cookies, crushed

Directions

In a saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt. Whisk in 1 cup of milk, stirring until combined. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cream. Continue whisking over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes. Whisking constantly, continue cooking for another minute or two. Be careful to whisk into the corners and along the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate chips and peppermint extract, stirring until fully melted. Pour the pudding into the pie shell. Refrigerate until cooled completely. Add a few drops of green food coloring to the whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream over the cooled pudding. Garnish with crushed cookies.

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