Celebrate St. Patricks Day

Laura Nethken Published:

RATHCOURSEY EMERALD SOUP

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 handfuls young nettles or arugula

12 onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped ramp leaves (wild onion) or garlic cloves

1 cup packed watercress sprigs, chopped

1 cup packed spinach leaves, chopped

3 Tbsp. flour

Grated zest of 1 lemon

4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

112 cups half-and-half

Minced fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley for garnish

METHOD: In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the watercress, lettuce, spinach, nettles or arugula, and ramp leaves or garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are wilted. Stir in the flour, lemon zest, stock or broth, salt, and pepper, and bring to boil. Let cool. Transfer to a blender or food processor in batches and process until smooth. Return the pure to the soup pot. Stir in the half-and-half and cook over medium heat to heat through. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with chives or parsley. Top with a few garlic croutons, if desired. Garlic Croutons: Remove the crusts from 3 to 4 slices white bread and cut into12-inch cubes. In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add12 teaspoon minced garlic and the bread cubes. Saut until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. For added crispness, place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 250-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

MEDALLIONS OF BEEF WITH PORT SAUCE & CASHEL CHEESE

12 cup golden raisins

1 cup port

4 beef filet steaks (about 5 oz. each)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 shallots, finely minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. pine nuts

12 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

8 oz. Cashel Blue cheese or other blue cheese, crumbled

Minced fresh chives for garnish

METHOD: One day before serving, soak the raisins in the port for 10 to 12 hours. Strain and reserve the raisins and the port. Coat the beef with the olive oil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove to an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm. Add the water to the same pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until reduced by two-thirds. Still in the reserved raisins and port, then add the pine nuts. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the pieces of butter, a few at a time, cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Add the mustard and juices that have collected from the steaks. Season with salt, pepper and the lemon juice. To serve, preheat the broiler. Cover the steak with crumpled blue cheese, place under the broiler 4 inches from the heat source for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Transfer each steak to a serving plate and spoon the sauce around the meat. Garnish with the chives. Makes 4 servings.

GRACE NEILLS CHOCOLATE AND GUINNESS BROWNIES

4 eggs

12 cup superfine sugar

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 oz. white chocolate, chopped

12 cup all-purpose flour

14 cup cocoa

114 cups Guinness stout

Confectioners sugar for dusting

METHOD: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8-inch square pan. With an electric mixer, combine the eggs and superfine sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into the egg mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa together and beat into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the Guinness. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust the cake with confectioners sugar and cut into squares. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

POTATO-CARAWAY SCONES

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

12 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. double-acting baking powder

1 tsp. dry mustard

12 tsp. salt

14 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

14 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced and chilled

2 Tbsp. olive oil, preferably extra virgin

1 lg. egg, lightly beaten

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 Tbsp. caraway seeds

14 cup skim milk

2 cups14-inch diced and cooked boiling potatoes

Low-fat or light cream cheese, to serve

METHOD: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, parmesan, baking powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper. With a fork or pastry blender cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the olive oil, egg, garlic caraway seeds and milk until just blended. Gently fold in the diced potatoes to distribute evenly throughout the mixture, trying not to mash the potatoes. Drop well-rounded tablespoons of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Serve warm with cream cheese for breakfast or to accompany soup or a main course. Makes 1 dozen.

POTATOE CAKE

12 cup butter

12 cup sugar

Grated rind from 1 orange

12 cup orange juice

2 eggs, lightly beaten

112 cups self-rising flour

1 med. potato, peeled and grated

Icing:

1 cup confectioners powered sugar mixture

orange juice

1 tsp. butter

lemon and orange, to decorate

METHOD: Cream butter and sugar until white and creamy. Add orange rind, orange juice, eggs and flour. Squeeze potato dry and add to mixture. Stir well to combine. Spoon into a greased and lined 17 cm round cake tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Test with toothpick. It should come out clean when cake is cooked. Place a cake rack on top of loaf tin. Turn cake upside-down so cake rests on rack. Remove tin and cool before icing. To make icing, put confectioners powered sugar into a small pan and add sufficient orange juice to make a firm mixture. Beat in butter, heat on low very briefly (or microwave on High 30 seconds) and spread over cake.

POTATO & WILD MUSHROOM BISQUE

4 Tbsp. salted butter or margarine

12 lb. crimini or shiitake mushrooms, chopped (3/4 cup)

34 cup diced onion

114 lbs. all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks

1 can chicken broth (1334 oz.)

1 tsp. salt

14 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 cup milk

METHOD: In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and in it cook the mushrooms and onion about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potato chunks, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. In a food processor or blender, puree 1 cup of the soup. Return to the saucepan. Add the milk and heat through. Makes 4 servings.

SCALLOPED POTATOES WITH GRATED TURNIP

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 cup milk, at room temperature

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)

2 cups firmly packed shredded turnip

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 med.-sized baking potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise into116-inch-thick slices

(if available, use a food processor fitted with a slicing disk or a mandoline)

METHOD: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2- quart gratin or baking dish with a little of the melted butter. In a medium bowl whisk together the milk and cinnamon until well blended. Place the grated turnip in a small bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper, tossing until well blended. Spread the turnip mixture in a patter of concentric circles and pour the milk mixture over all. Drizzle the remaining melted butter evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes more or until the potato-turnip mixture has absorbed most of the liquid and the top is golden brown and crisp.

SHAMROCK PIE

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups water

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel

5 to 6 drops green food coloring

1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

Meringue:

3 egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

METHOD: Combine the sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan; stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Stir a small amount into egg yolks; return all to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; stir in the lemon juice, butter, lemon peel and food coloring. Pour into the pastry shell. For meringue, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Credits: www.shamrock.org/patrick, and Taste of Home.

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