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Home plate: Chef Vik shares ideas for St. Patrick's Day menus

Top o’ the morning to you!

Every year on March 17, the Irish and Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival.

Matt Vik, graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and chef at The Good Life Cafè, has graciously agreed to share his expertise and recipes for the celebration of all things Irish.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

2-2 ½ lb. corned beef brisket

1 tbsp. coarse ground black pepper

1 tsp. allspice

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. kosher salt

4 small carrots (diced)

2 small onions (diced)

2 celery stalks (diced)

1 small head cabbage ( chopped)

3 potatoes (peeled, and diced)

Place corned beef, pepper, allspice, bay leaves, and salt into a large pot along with 3 quarts of water, cover and set over high heat.  Bring to a boil, decrease heat to a low simmer for 2 ½ hours.

After 2 ½ hours add carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes.  Return to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, after 15 min. add the cabbage and cook for another 20 min. until potatoes and cabbage are tender.  Remove bay leaves and serve immediately. 

Corned Beef Brine

(if you want to brine the beef yourself)

     2 quarts water

1 cup kosher salt

½ cup brown sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. mustard seed

1 tsp. black peppercorns

8 whole cloves

8 whole allspice berries

12 whole juniper berries

2 bay leaves (crushed)

½ tsp. ground ginger

2 lbs. ice

1 (4-5 lbs) beef brisket, trimmed

1 small onion (rough chopped)

1 large carrot (rough chopped)

1 stalk celery (rough chopped)

Place all ingredients except ice, and beef in a large pot. Bring to a boil.  Then add ice and let mixture cool completely.  Place beef in a large Ziploc bag with brine and store in refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Then pull out and use in above recipe. 

Bangers and Mash (sausages and mashed potatoes)

Mashers:

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and quartered)

2 cup heavy cream

1 pound unsalted butter (diced)

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and quarter potatoes, place in a pot with water to cover.  Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Strain water and set aside covered.  Meanwhile scald cream, and dice butter into cubes.

Add butter to potatoes and start mashing,  slowly add cream until butter is emulsified and the potatoes are a nice smooth consistency, them season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bangers:

(Any pork or beef sausage will do, depending on your tastes)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sausages on a sheet tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and caramelized, and bursting open, or "banging out the seams."

Guinness onion gravy:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion (sliced)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup chicken broth

1-12 ounce bottle Guinness beer

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add onions and cook until lightly caramelized. About 10 minutes.

Add flour and stir in, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add stock and beer mixing well.

Add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, sugar, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until mixture is thickened. 

Serve potatoes, bangers and gravy!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Bread Pudding

4 1/2 slices French bread, thick, cut into 1 inch cubes ( or substitute an Irish soda bread recipe )

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk, scalded

1 pinch ground nutmeg

4 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup Baileys Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Butter one 2-quart casserole dish.

Prepare a water bath for the 2-quart casserole dish by placing a larger dish with water in the oven.

Place bread cubes in the 2-quart casserole dish.

Beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.

Slowly add the scalded milk and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Pour over the bread.

If desired, sprinkle with brown sugar, nutmeg, and raisins.

Place the casserole in the water bath and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Server either hot or chilled.

When you take the pudding out of the oven, if the pudding seems to be dry, you can sprinkle some Bailey’s over the top to help make it moist.

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