Potatoes. That’s what often comes to mind when one thinks of Ireland but what you may not know is the Emerald Isle is quickly becoming a very popular foodie destination. In Ireland, sheep and cows graze outside for 12 months of the year in herby pastures supplying the most beautiful meat, cheese, cream and butter. In addition, Ireland’s seafood is like no other – clean, tidal waters provide the best mussels, langoustines, salmon and more!
At recent Tourism Ireland event in Toronto, #TeamGC had the pleasure of meeting famed Irish Chef, Clodagh McKenna, and feasting on an incredible meal that highlighted her rustic take on modern Irish food.
What we found was that everything was fresh, delicious, thoughtful and seasonal. We also realised that Clodagh’s entire menu from start to finish that night was pretty much the best #MenuInspo that anyone could ask for in the lead up to Thanksgiving.
See below for all 5 must-try recipes from Clodagh McKenna that are perfect for a not-so-traditional, Irish-inspired Thanksgiving meal. Don’t worry, “cabbage and potatoes” are not included.
POTATO SALAD WITH PEAS AND RADISHES
- 31oz baby potatoes
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 2oz butter
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 20 garden pea pods, podded (or 3.5oz frozen peas)
- 10 radishes, finely sliced
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan half filled with water and add 1 tablespoon of torn fresh mint leaves and a sprinkle of sea salt. Place the saucepan, with lid, over a high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked through.
- While the potatoes are cooking, place a frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add finely diced shallots and cook until soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and Dijon mustard.
- Drain the potatoes, slice them in half and add them to your serving dish followed by the fresh peas. If you’re using frozen peas, cook them in boiling, salted water for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Next add the radishes, mint and lemon butter dressing and toss together to make sure all the ingredients are completely coated. Make sure your potatoes are still warm when you’re adding the dressing as they will absorb the dressing much better.
ROSEMARY SODA BREAD
Makes 1 loaf
- 3 cups / 350g wholemeal flour
- 1 3/4 cups / 200g white flour
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups / 350ml milk
- 1 cup / 250ml natural yogurt
- Milk and yogurt mix (for brushing)
- Pre-heat your oven to 220°C, 425°F, Gas Mark 7.
- Sieve the white flour and bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the wholemeal flour. Using clean hands mix the flours, bicarbonate of soda and finely chopped fresh rosemary together. Make a well in the centre of the bowl.
- Whisk together the yogurt and milk and slowly pour into the well of dried ingredients. Using your free hand to mix the flour into the buttermilk, try and spread your fingers far apart so it resembles a trough. Make sure that there are no dry patches and that the dough is completely wet.
- Pat your hands with flour and shape the dough into one round. Place on a floured baking tray. Flour a large knife and cut the shape of a cross into the top of the dough about two-thirds of the way through.
- Brush the round of bread with the milk and yogurt mixture using a pastry brush, this will give a lovely golden colour to the bread once baked.
STEAK SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE AND HONEY PECANS
For the salad:
- 2 rib eye beef steaks (5oz each)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2.5 oz mixed green leaves
- 3.5 oz Cashel Blue cheese
- 2 oz pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 dessertspoon honey
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice and zest of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon clear honey
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Take the steaks out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you cook them. They should be at room temperature before going in the pan.
- Place a frying pan or griddle pan over a high heat and leave for at least one minute. Brush both sides of the steaks with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place them on the hot pan and cook for three minutes on each side and then three minutes off the heat to rest. This will cook them medium rare.
- Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking the extra virgin olive oil, lemon, Dijon mustard, honey and crushed garlic together until it becomes an emulsion. Place the salad leaves in a bowl and pour the dressing over and toss well. Divide the dressed salad leaves between two plates.
- Then toast the pecans in honey, by placing a frying pan over a medium heat, pour in the chopped pecans and drizzle the honey on top. Toss and cook for 3 minutes.
- Slice the steaks on the diagonal, against the grain, no thicker than one-half inch (preferably a bit thinner). Arrange the sliced steaks on top of the salad.
- Crumble the Cashel blue cheese and toasted honeyed pecans on top.
BAILEY’S IRISH SODA BREAD ICE CREAM
- 150g Irish soda breadcrumbs, from at least one day old bread
- 80g brown sugar
- 250ml milk
- 250ml double cream
- 150g sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla pod
- 80ml Baileys cream liquor
- Pre-heat oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 5.
- Place the breadcrumbs and brown sugar in a bowl and mix well. Then sprinkle the sugared breadcrumbs on to a baking tray, and spread out evenly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are slightly darker and the sugar has melted. Stir occasionally while they are baking. Once they are baked, allow them to cool.
- Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat and stir in the sugar. Slit the vanilla pod down its length with a small sharp knife and scoop out the tiny black seeds and stir into the saucepan. Reduce the heat, and stir until all the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.
- Place the eggs yolks into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Then slowly whisk in the warmed cream and milk mixture to the eggs. Then transfer the mixture back into the saucepan, and place over a low heat and stir until you get a custard consistency.
- Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the baileys cream and cooled sugared breadcrumbs. Mix well.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into container, and freeze overnight.
GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
MAKES 1 Cake
For the cake:
- 2 1/4 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups Guinness
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the frosting:
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups cream cheese (not low-fat)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 12-inch round spring-form pan with parchment paper.
- Make the cake: Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted.
- Stir in the Guinness, then remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and buttermilk, and then slowly mix in the Guinness mixture.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a separate large bowl.
- Using a handheld electric mixer, slowly mix the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and keep beating until it is all well combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Test to make sure the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the centre of the cake — if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Let cool in the pan, then transfer from the pan onto a wire rack.
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting: Using a handheld electric mixer, blend all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.
- Place the cooled cake on a plate and generously spread frosting on top. Enjoy!
(Story by Assistant Editor, Blair Stutz)