March 15th 2010

Simple and delicious St. Patrick’s Day Menu

Feel like spreading some lucky Irish cheer? March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating St. Patrick himself, a patron saint of Ireland. For some, this means wearing green, touting shamrocks and using some Irish-inspired vocabulary. But others take the higher route, spending their day drinking good stout and feasting on cuisine straight from Ireland.

If you opt for the second option, try this easy menu, featuring an all-too-classic stew with a quick bread for sopping up the goodness. Serve atop your favourite mashed potatoes and a few bottles of good ale.

Beef and Guinness Stew

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound lean beef stew meat
2 tablespoons flour
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups rich beef broth
1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle of Guinness
4 cups sliced carrot
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Toss beef with flour, shaking off the excess. Add beef to heated oil, and brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a dish and cover to keep warm.

Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic to the pot. Stir for about 4 minutes, until onion are softened.

Return beef to pot and mix in tomato paste, beef broth and beer. Add potatoes and carrots, cover, and simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cold water. Add to stew, and continue to simmer until thickened. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with Irish Soda Bread and atop mashed potatoes.

Easy Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup  sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together buttermilk and egg, then add to the flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. Mix in butter, then pour into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Let cool five minutes in pan, then cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap in foil – it gets better over the course of several hours – and enjoy with stew.

Whiskey Bananas on Vanilla Ice Cream

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
4 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
vanilla ice cream

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whiskey, then bring to a boil, cooking until sugar is dissolved. Add bananas to the skillet and simmer until tender. Serve atop ice cream.

Image courtesy of quantumquests.com

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.