Posted March 14, 2012 10:26 am - Updated March 14, 2012 10:29 am
From Purely Irish Farmers, Innkeepers and a Cookery School Founder
If you are looking for some ideas for authentic St. Patrick's Day fare, you've found it here, thanks to the folks at Kerrygold, makers of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, the best-selling imported butter in this country. Kerrygold, who also sells a diverse line of 100 percent natural cheeses, has put together a website (www.kerrygoldusa.com) that will transport you directly to Cork County, Ireland and into the lives of generational farmers like Mary Burns and Deirdre Cronin. Besides visiting with the farmers, you will also find yourself roaming the grounds of historical Ballyvolane House (one of Ireland's most historical and elegant family-owned hotels), as well as the environs of Ireland's esteemed Ballymaloe Cookery School. From each of these extraordinary sources, comes authentic Irish recipes, from Irish Scones and Colcannon, to Dubliner Cheese Souffle and Mummy's Brown Soda Bread, a gift from Ballymaloe founder, Darina Allen. While only some of their recipes use cheese, all are connected, in one way or another, with Irish butter. If you have not experienced the magic of Kerrygold's butter, you are going to be astonished at the difference between it and what you normally use. The butter is exceptional not only for its superior quality (it contains more butterfat and less water than regular domestic butters) but for its deep golden color, a result of the milk that comes from Ireland's cows who feed on beta-carotene rich grass and not on growth hormones. "In Ireland we can grow grass like nowhere else in the world. Many of our best foods, like our butter, come from this lush green grass," says Ballymaloe's Allen. I urge you; visit the Kerrygold website, not only for more information about their products, but for the depth and breadth of material on the people and who deeply care about the farming and slow food movement that is happening in their homeland. For more Irish recipes, visit www.kerrygoldusa.com, or to find a store that carries Kerrygold butter and cheeses, go to www.kerrygoldusa.com/where-to-buy on the web.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Burns' Irish Scones
Farmer Mary Burns, Kanturk, County Cork, Ireland
1 3/4 cups (about 8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling over tops
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cold Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg, plus additional beaten egg for brushing over tops
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together flour, cup sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Using fingertips or pastry blender, rub or cut butter into flour mixture to form coarse crumbs. Add raisins. Whisk together milk and 1 egg. Make a well in the flour mixture; pour in milk mixture. Using fork, stir just until soft, moist dough is formed. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; gently knead 1 or 2 times to incorporate loose pieces of dough.* (Do not over knead.) Pat dough to 1-inch thickness. Using a well-floured 2-inch biscuit cutter or bottom of a glass, cut out about 6 rounds, recombining scraps as necessary. Place rounds on lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush tops with additional beaten egg; sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 14 to 17 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking for more even browning. Serve warm with Irish butter and jam. Makes about 6 servings.
*Note: These scones are more muffin-like in texture; dough will be moist and wet, which ensures a tender texture.
Farmer Deirdre Cronin, Mallow, County Cork, Ireland
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into large chunks
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Kerrygold Butter, plus additional melted butter if desired
1 cup chopped onion
6 cups finely shredded green cabbage (or one 10-ounce package)
1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Kerrygold Dubliner or Blarney Castle Cheese
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook potatoes in boiling water about 20 minutes or until very tender; drain well and mash with skins on, adding milk and salt. While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Add cabbage; cook and stir for 5 minutes more or until very soft. Stir cabbage mixture and cheese into hot potatoes and season with pepper.
Mound onto serving plates and make a well in the center of each. Pour a little melted butter into each well, if desired. Makes 8 servings.
Dubliner Cheese Souffle
Ballyvolane House, Castlelyons, Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland
3 tablespoons Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
1 1/4 cups milk, preferably whole milk
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch English-style dry mustard
Pinch ground red (cayenne) pepper
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) shredded Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
5 ounces (about 10 cups) mixed baby greens
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter six 6-ounce ramekins (3 1/2 -inch diameter); set aside. In 2-cup glass measure, microwave milk and nutmeg on HIGH until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes. In medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour, salt, dry mustard and red pepper to make a roux; cook 1 minute. Gradually add hot milk, whisking until smooth. Bring to a simmer; cook 3 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add egg yolks; mix until blended. In electric mixer bowl, using whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir 1/4 of egg whites into cheese sauce to lighten. Gently, but thoroughly, fold in remaining whites until blended. Evenly spoon into buttered ramekins; place ramekins in 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Place pan on center oven rack. Add enough hot water to baking pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil slowly until reduced to a thin syrup, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside. The souffles can be served immediately, as is, or cooled and reheated for serving later. To serve immediately, place ramekins on salad plate. Arrange approximately 1 1/2 cups salad greens to the side; drizzle with balsamic syrup. Twice-Baked Souffle Variation: To serve souffles later, cool on wire rack. (Souffles will fall slightly.) When cool, run small knife along edge to loosen souffles. Turn out, upside down, onto ovenproof dish. When ready to serve, heat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons shredded Dubliner Cheese over each souffle. Season 3/4 cup heavy cream with salt and pepper; pour over tops, covering completely. Heat in oven until tops are light golden, about 10 minutes. Using metal spatula, carefully lift and transfer souffles to salad plates; serve with salad greens and balsamic syrup as described above. Makes 6 servings
Mummy's Brown Soda Bread
Darina Allen, Founder, Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagarry,
County Cork, Ireland http://cookingisfun.ie
1/2 pound all-purpose flour (organic preferred) (about 1 cup)
1/2 pound whole wheat flour (about 1 3/4 cup)
Barely rounded teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
13 to 16 ounces buttermilk (depending on the consistency of the buttermilk)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the flours in a large wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and pour in all the buttermilk. With your finger stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl, seconds later the dough should be made. Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the floured worktop. (Fill the bowl with cold water so it will be easy to wash later.) Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and transfer to oven tray.
Tuck the edges underneath with the inner edge of your hands; gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 1 -inch thick. Now wash and dry your hands. Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called 'blessing the bread' and then prick it in the center of the four sections to let the fairies out of the bread). Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 400 degrees for a further 15 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes until cooked (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.