Wearin’ the Alt Green - Kinda

by Nancy Ellison
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“If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.”
—Brendan Behan

St Patrick’s Day!  The only legitimate excuse for Whisky and Parades! … Drunken Bar Room Crooning, St Pat Happy Hats – Green of course, Green Shamrocks, Streamers, Beads, Kiss Me I’m Irish Stickers, Green Chocolate - but what’s worse- Green Beer, YIKES Green Rivers!
carroll oconnorAnd, everyone’s favorite – the ineradicable Corned Beef and Green Cabbage.
Dia cabhrú liom!

No, No… I want something Irish that I can survive!  Then it hit me. I want what Bill’s and my dear friend, Carroll O’Connor always wanted: Boiled Beef and The Quiet Man - John Ford's romantic comedy starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, filmed in and around the picturesque village of Cong, near Ashford Castle, County Mayo.

 

 

quiet manTV Guide starts its 5 star review of The Quiet Man (released 1952) by saying,

     “Epic romantic comedy, but so thick on the blarney, that it helps to be Irish, at least to a degree. Otherwise, it may be hard to get a grasp on the turbulent traditions, feisty sentimentality and burning coldness that exist in the Irish soul. That understood, cook a corned beef and invite the neighbors over.”

 

Sounds super, but I am on Carroll’s side. So, rather than thickly sliced corned beef, lets cook up the more gentle thinly sliced Boiled Beef, make the perfect Alt Irish dinner and watch John Wayne stride through County Mayo dragging the hot headed, beautiful Maureen by his side.  (Note to fellow feminists: Take a guilty pleasure break and enjoy tough guy on the outside softie on the inside John Wayne… just for the night)


pierce brosnan bill rollnickSo, in Carroll’s honor and memory, we turn to our beguiling Irish buddy, Pierce Brosnan (who can ‘hear the angels sing’) to put the ALT Green OK on my improvised but Irish-in-Spirit menu. Piece and Keely’s wedding took place in and around Ashford Castle, so his “creds” go way beyond just his DNA. I should have known, however, with Pierce’s gorgeous wife leading the nutritional parade, his foodie interest in boiled meat of any kind has waned.  What hasn’t waned is his knowledge on the perfect Quaff to go with it.

KINDA PERFECT ALT IRISH MENU:

Boiled Beef and Horseradish Sauce,
Gordon Ramsay’s Parsley Dumplings (our green salad course)
Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese,
Smashed Potatoes,
Drogheda Mess  
The Celtic Times Irish Cream Fudge
Tullamore Dew  

Serve with John, Maureen, the beautiful Irish Countryside, and all with someone you love for a cuddle.

My suggestion is to start with the whisky and then wobble onward.

Pierce’s Shot:  
Tuallmore - two fingers two ice cubes
Repeat as necessary


Boiled Beef and Horseradish

The simplest recipe for boiled beef (bring water to a boil, simmer beef until done) allows any recipe to be freewheeling and a matter of taste.  Here is mine:

1 ¾ to 2 lb. Round roast, center cut tenderloin, or beef brisket
I love brisket…
 
Stock
5 cups beef or chicken broth -
A few veal marrowbones
1 large sweet onion quartered
3-5 carrots quartered
1stalk celery with leaves, broken in half
Bouquet Garni
Juice ½ lemon
 
Place the brisket in a large pot with the broth.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Slowly bring to a boil, skimming frequently.
Add vegetables, lemon juice and spices, lower heat and simmer coved for 2 ½ to 3 hours (or more to taste) until meat is very tender, turning occasionally

Remove from the pot, drain, and place on a warm serving platter (covered until ready to serve)

HORSERADISH SAUCE

I like two versions of the horseradish sauce.  The more simple is to mix prepared horseradish (or freshly grated) with 8 oz. of Sour Cream (to taste and degree of hotness)  

The second is to reduce some of the broth from the pot. Make a roux with flour and butter, and add a mixture of the reduced broth and sour cream until the right thickness is achieved.  Add Two tablespoons freshly grated or prepared horseradish.   1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional

BRAISED RED CABBAGE WITH GOAT CHEESE
(I guess you can use green cabbage but why?)
1 head cored and shredded red cabbage
½ c white wine vinegar
¼ - ½ c water
2-3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar

To a Dutch oven, add vinegar, water butter and sugar.  Heat until sugar is dissolved, creating a sweet/sour mix. (About 4-5 minutes) Add the cabbage.   Cover and braise in an oven preheated to 325 degrees for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add a little water if necessary.  

Serve topped with Goat Cheese

SMASHED POTATOES

New Potatoes (or any small round potato)
Olive oil or melted butter (salted with a hint of garlic optional)
Sea salt and black pepper
Rosemary or thyme sprigs

Simple to make:

Pre heat a very hot oven- 450 degrees
Boil as many potatoes as you want tender
Drain and cool for a few minutes
Place the potatoes on a well-greased cookie sheet
Cut a cross in the center of each potato about ¼ inch deep
Take the back of a potato masher, wooden spoon or any flat surfaced tool and roughly smash the potato open.
Brush the tops generously with olive oil or melted butter.
Sprinkle sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and finely chopped herbs over the surfaces of each potato
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Serve with a bit of the rosemary sprig on top

GORDON RAMSAY’S PARLSEY DUMPLINGS - our green salad course
2c self- raising flour
1c-shredded suet
1 tsp. sea salt
3-rounded tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. olive oil
4-5 star anise, peppercorns and thyme sprigs

        Mix just enough cold water (about 6.7 oz.) into the flour; parsley and suet mix to make a soft dough. If the dough is too wet, it will be difficult to shape. Roll gently into 10-12 balls. Bring a shallow pan of water to the boil and add a couple of ladles of the beef stock plus the olive oil, the star anise, peppercorns and thyme sprigs. Using a slotted spoon, lower in the dumplings. Cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes, until risen and fluffy. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon.


DROGHEDA MESS
I confess. This is my recipe.  I figure I will be sloshed from my two fingered Pierce Shots, and really, I’m not into desserts. So, what works quickest and easiest now has my complete focus. I call it Drogheda Mess after Pierce’s birthplace.

6 ready-made meringues (Go ahead and make your own but I am not going to facilitate that!)
Whipping Cream or - better yet - COOL WHIP
Fresh Strawberries washed, and cut in pieces
One small can of Mandarin oranges, drained
Whisky or Port to taste

Cut the strawberries into pieces
Place along with the Mandarin orange slices and Port Whisky or Cointreau (Hell, anything with a tasty alcohol content) in a bowl and chill covered for hour or so
Whip the cream into soft peaks
Break up the meringues and just before serving fold into the meringue mixture.
If there is any whisky or whatever left drizzle

IRISH CREAM FUDGE FROM THE CELTIC TIMES
To be made ahead of time but not eaten – yeah right!

INGREDIENTS:
4 oz. (1/2 cup) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2-cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur, like Bailey's
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. white chocolate chip or finely chopped white chocolate
7 oz. marshmallow cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

PREPARATION:
1. Prepare an 8x8 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. This produces a fudge about 1" thick. If you prefer thinner fudge, use a 9x9 pan.
2. Place the butter, sugar, cream, Irish cream liqueur, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar and butter melt.
3. Continue to cook the fudge, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Brush down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Once boiling, insert a candy thermometer and cook until it reads 235 degrees Fahrenheit (114 C) on the thermometer.
4. Once at the right temperature, remove the pan from the heat and add the white chocolate chips and the marshmallow cream. Stir vigorously until the chips and marshmallow cream are melted and incorporated. If necessary, return the fudge to the heat for brief periods to melt the chips.
5. Add the vanilla and stir well. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Allow it to set at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. To serve, cut it into small 1-inch pieces. Store Irish Cream Fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Variations: If you want a less pronounced liqueur flavor, reduce the liqueur to 2 tbsp. and add an additional 2 tbsp. of heavy cream. Additionally, if you want to add a coffee flavor to your fudge, you can add 1/2-1 tsp. of instant coffee or espresso powder to the fudge mixture before it comes to a boil.

WHISKY AND FUDGE…  YUM

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