Introduction to Irish Food

A visit to rural Ireland is filled with spectacular views of lush, green hillsides and fields. Ireland’s green countryside is perfect for raising cattle and sheep, and dairy farming. The country’s mild climate provides a long growing season for a variety of vegetables and fruits. Irish cooks take advantage of the local harvest by choosing to cook with high quality, local and fresh ingredients.

Irish cooks keep it simple in the kitchen. Dishes are prepared using basic ingredients and easy to follow recipes.

The common staples in an Irish kitchen include:

• Potatoes (you may have guessed this!)
• Root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, etc…)
• Cabbage
• Whole grains
• Beef, mutton (lamb/sheep) and fish
• Dairy products – cheese, milk, butter and buttermilk

Herbs and Spices in Irish Cooking

Herbs grow well in Ireland and are used in many soups, stews and main dishes. Commonly used herbs include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Irish bakers like to use nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla to create delicious breads and cakes.

We have a good friend who lived in Ireland for 10 years and enjoyed this dish during her stay. It’s a simple and delicious vegetable and fruit combination that is very green. The grapes provide a pleasant sweetness which makes this recipe nicely suited for introducing little ones to Brussels sprouts.

sprout and grape pureeSprout and Grape Puree for Baby

Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts
• 1 1/2 cups Green grapes, washed
• 1 Tbsp. Olive oil

Directions:
Trim Brussels Sprout ends, remove outside leaves and slice in half. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for 5 minutes. Add grapes, 1/4 cup of water and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree to a smooth texture. Pour the puree into your So Easy Baby Food Trays, cover and freeze. Simply defrost cubes when ready to use.
Toddler Treat: Pumpkin Date Scones 

pumpkin sconesIreland is well-known for baked goods. Crusty on the outside and moist on the inside, the scone is an authentic Irish treat. Our recipe adds a little extra nourishment with pumpkin puree and whole grain graham cracker crumbs. The directions also describe how to make smaller sized scones for little fingers.

Ingredients:
• 1-1/2 cups Flour
• 4 Graham crackers, crushed (1/2 cup crumbs)
• 1/3 cup Sugar
• 1 Tbsp. Baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. Salt
• 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
• 1/4 cup Chopped dates, minced
• 6 Tbsp. Cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1/2 cup Canned pumpkin (100% pumpkin)
• 3 Tbsp. Buttermilk
• 1 Egg

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Slice the cold butter into small pieces and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the butter pieces are no larger than small peas. Toss in dates and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: pumpkin, buttermilk and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball.
Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches. Use a large knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough lengthwise making two equal portions. Cut each log into 4 squares and cut each across the diagonal to form triangular shaped scones (each log will make 8 scones).
Place scones on the prepared baking sheet leaving about 1/2 inch between each scone triangle. To add a touch of sweetness, brush the tops of the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 13 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool. Scones can be frozen for 3-4 months.

Family Meal: Traditional Irish Dinner

irish dinner

To many Irish-Americans, corned beef and cabbage conjures up nostalgic images of a rural Irish past. It is a traditional meal to eat on St. Patrick’s Day and our recipe is easy to prepare. We’ve also included a recipe for clove-spiced sweet mustard that is just divine!
If you prefer Irish Lamb Stew, we’ve got the perfect family recipe too. Our recipe calls for ground lamb which is easier on the pocketbook; cooks in less time than using stew meat; and has a texture that appeals to small children, too. Whether you choose to make Corned Beef or Irish lamb Stew, both are fantastic paired with our Roasted Cabbage and Potatoes.

Irish Dinner Menu
Corned Beef with Clove-spice mustard sauce
Or
Irish lamb stew
Roasted Cabbage and Potatoes
Fresh pineapple

Corned Beef with Clove-Spiced Sweet Mustard 

Ingredients:
• 1 4-pound Corned beef
• 1/3 cup Yellow mustard
• 1/3 cup Brown sugar
• Dash of Ground cloves

Directions:
Remove corned beef from the package and rinse it in cold water. Place the corned beef in a large pot and fill with water until the meat is covered. If the corned beef came with a spice packet, open it and pour the contents into the water. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer 50 minutes per pound (a 4-pound corned beef will simmer for 3 hours and 35 minutes).

Test for doneness: a fork should easily slide into the meat.
When done, remove corned beef from the water and place it on a plate. Cover with foil and let stand for 20 minutes. Slice corned beef before serving. Using a sharp knife, slice across the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Clove-Spiced Sweet Mustard: Combine the yellow mustard and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add a dash of ground cloves. Serve corned beef with the mustard on the side.

lamb stewIrish Lamb Stew

• 1 lb. Ground lamb
• 1 lb. Ground beef
• 2 cups Sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 medium)
• 1 cup Parsnips, peeled and diced up Pearl onions, frozen
• 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
• 2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
• 1 Tbsp. Rosemary
• 1/4 cup Flour
• 1 cup Dark beer (such as Guinness)
• 3 cups Beef broth
• 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Directions:
In a heavy stockpot over high heat, saute the ground lamb and beef until browned (about 8 minutes). Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add sweet potatoes, parsnips, and pearl onions to the pot and saute 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic, rosemary and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute.

Add the beer, broth, Worcestershire and mustard. Add the meat back into the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

cabbage and potatoesRoasted Cabbage and Potatoes

Ingredients:
• 1/2 head Green cabbage (small to medium-sized)
• 10 small Yukon gold or Red potatoes
• 4-5 Tbsp. Olive oil
• Salt and Pepper (or seasoned salt – we used Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning – Grinder)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Cut cabbage into 6 wedges and cut potatoes in half and Place cabbage wedges on one-side of the baking sheet. Brush cabbage with half the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place remaining oil and potatoes in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat with oil. Spread potatoes on the empty side of the baking sheet.

Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until a fork slides easily into the cabbage and the potatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby. For more than 10 years, Fresh Baby helped has helped parents foster their children’s healthy eating habits and proactively respond to the childhood obesity epidemic that plagues our nation. Cheryl is the author and designer of the company’s award-winning cookbooks and nutrition education products that support many stages of family life including: pregnancy, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, and feeding toddlers, preschoolers & school-aged children. Learn more at www.FreshBaby.com.

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