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FAMILY FEATURES- The Irish in America Celebrating St. Patrick's Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 15 March 2012 02:55

They came in the 1840s to escape the devastating potato famine. And they stayed to become part of the fabric of America. Today 36.9 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry, second only to those who claim German heritage, and more than eight times the population in Ireland, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2009 statistics.

Enduring hardships and privations, the foods these Irish immigrants cooked in the new land would have replicated foods that reminded them of home - dishes such as cottage pie and Irish apple cake. Below are recipes for these dishes from Darina Allen's "Forgotten Skills of Cooking," (Kyle Books, 2009) now available in the U.S.

Allen, considered the Julia Child of Ireland, is on a mission to teach everyday home cooks the kind of cooking skills early Irish immigrants would have practiced. "There is a real revolution going on about food - a longing, a craving to re-learn life skills like butchery, keeping chickens, growing vegetables and curing meat," Allen said. The popularity of her Forgotten Skills classes at her renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland, inspired Allen to write the "Forgotten Skills" cookbook. Allen also has re-issued her "Irish Traditional Cooking" (Kyle Books), just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Cottage Pie with Garlic Butter

"The cheese in this crust and the lump of garlic butter that melts into the center make this into something very special."

Serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, mashed

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound beef, freshly ground

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup dry white or red wine

1 cup beef stock

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste Roux (recipe follows)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Topping

3 pounds baking potatoes, unpeeled

1 cup whole milk, boiling

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons Kerrygold Irish butter

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/4 cup grated Dubliner cheese

1/4 cup grated Kerrygold Aged Cheddar

To Serve

Garlic Butter (recipe follows)

Green salad

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and onion and fry until soft and slightly brown. Increase heat, add ground beef and thyme and fry until beef changes color. Add wine, half the stock, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the unpeeled potatoes, then peel them. Add boiling milk and mash potatoes while they are still hot. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and add butter and chives, if using.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Bring the rest of the stock to a boil and thicken it well with roux. Stir it into beef - it should be thick but still juicy. Taste and correct seasoning.

Put meat mixture into one large or six individual pie dishes. Pipe or spread mashed potato mixture over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden and slightly crispy. Serve with garlic butter and a green salad.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:01