Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ireland, land of rocky cliffs that rise from the North Atlantic, ancient ruins, Celtic shrines and cathedrals, colorful villages and hidden beaches. Did you know Ireland actually encompasses two separate countries? Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom; and the Republic of Ireland, an independent country that is a member of the European Union. Both have as many fascinating sites to explore as they do mystical legends. To get in the spirit for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, I will dedicate this week to all things Irish, beginning with food. Come back later in the week for castles, dramatic scenery and famous sites.
Before we talk food…I just have to tell you about a great book set in Ireland by my good friend, author Patti Lacy. Check out AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE, available in bookstores and from Amazon. From the rugged, green cliffs of rural 1940s Ireland to present day Illinois, you will embark on a voyage of shattered hearts and jumbled lives, linking the fragmented pieces together as Mary, the book’s main character, reveals her history. Listening with her heart wide open is Mary’s new friend Sally, a feisty Southern woman who suspected all along there were stories and secrets hiding in Mary’s heart.

IRISH FOOD – The surrounding sea provides fresh seafood, while sweet green pastures afford plenty of meats and dairy. A variety of vegetables, especially potatoes, are ideally suited to Ireland’s climate and soil. Some traditional Irish foods are:
Seafood Chowder, with fish, bacon, onion, corn, potatoes and “a knob of butter.”
Colcannon, a mixture of mashed potatoes, cabbage and onions.
Irish Stew, containing lamb or mutton, onions and potatoes (do we see a pattern here?)
Got a craving for some Coddle? Here’s the recipe:

The classic Irish coddle recipe is basically a ham, sausage, potato, and onion stove-top casserole. It makes an easy and hearty meal.

1-1/2 pounds pork sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 pounds smoked ham, cut into 1-inch dice
1 quart boiling water
2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly diced
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the sausage and ham in the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the liquid.
Put the meat into a large saucepan (or an oven-proof dish) with the onions, potatoes, and parsley. Add enough of the stock to not quite cover the contents. Cover the pot and simmer gently for about 1 hour, or until the liquid is reduced by half and all the ingredients are cooked but not mushy. You may need to remove the lid during the last half of the cooking process. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with the vegetables on top and fresh Irish Soda Bread and a glass of stout. Yield: 8 servings

1 comment:

  1. Susan,
    Thanks ever so much for the An Irishwoman's Tale blurb! Never made coddle, and some Irish claim to not know about it, but tis mentioned as an "old-time" dish!!!

    (along with blood sausage!!)