The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Guinness Sausage Coddle

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I always turn to hearty meat and potato dishes with a nice Irish flair, and this classic with a twist makes a perfect family meal. The origin of the name “coddle” is rather cloudy, but apparently it was a favorite of authors from Jonathan Swift to James Joyce. Loaded with smoky bacon, meaty sausages, rich potatoes and sweet carrots and little woody note from parsnips, this version of Dublin coddle is rich with oh-so-Irish Guinness.

I turn to a local butcher shop for freshly made, well-seasoned pork sausages and sometimes around St. Paddy’s, they have Irish bangers, which are of course perfect. If you can’t track down a specialty sausage, basic bratwurst work really well. The coddle is a cross between a braise and a stew, with a nice amount of flavorful broth in the pot. You can serve the coddle with a slotted spoon, but I like to serve it in bowls with the broth and some nice bread to soak up the dark, meaty juices. Try this Simple Soda Bread to keep the Irish theme going.

Guinness Sausage Coddle
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 8 strips of thick cut bacon
  2. 6 high-quality pork sausages
  3. 2 medium onions
  4. 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  5. 2 carrots
  6. 2 parsnips
  7. 7 sprigs of thyme
  8. 1 ¾ cups stout beer, such as Guinness
  9. 1 cup beef broth
Instructions
  1. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook over medium-high heat in a large (5-quart) Dutch oven with a tight- fitting lid until the bacon is crispy and brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat to medium and place the sausages in the bacon grease and cook, turning occasionally, until they are browned all over, 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. While the sausages are cooking, cut the onions into halves, and then into to very thin half-moon shaped slices. When the sausages are browned all over, remove them to the paper towel lined plate, scooting the bacon out of the way. Add the onions to the bacon grease and stir to coat well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and browned and reduced in volume by about half, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully so the onions do not scorch. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the onions to a bowl. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool a little, then discard the remaining bacon grease and wipe out the pot.
  3. Peel the potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Cut the potatoes in half, then in 1-inch chunks. Cut the carrots and parsnips on the diagonal into ½ inch pieces.
  4. Cut the sausages into 2-inch pieces, then begin layering the coddle. In the pot, place a layer of sausage pieces, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and bacon. Spread 1/3 of the onions over the layer and then place a couple of sprigs of thyme on top. Repeat with two more layers, ending with onions and thyme. You can cover the pot and refrigerate for a few hours at this point if you would like.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the Guinness and the beef broth over around the coddle and cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about an hour and a half.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/

Irish Barmbrack (Fruit and Tea Loaf)

Irish Barmbrack (Fruit and Tea Loaf)I picked up a recipe card in a grocery store in London for a fruit and tea loaf. It sounded good, so I was looking for the ingredients. A lovely lady with a lilting Irish accent was helping me, but she told me that I’d be better off making a real barmbrack than using a product-promoting recipe card. I’d never heard of barmbrack, so she explained that it was a traditional treat her granny always made back in Ireland. She outlined the ingredients and steps in some detail and I took notes on the back of a Tube map I had in my purse, right there in the baking aisle at Waitrose. I never did make the recipe card bread, but when I got home to my own kitchen, I started a little research on barmbrack and developed my recipe in combination with her notes.

Here is what I learned. Barmbrack is traditionally served at Halloween, and sometimes little charms or a coin are baked into the loaf to predict various fortunes for those who get the charm in their slice. There is some dispute, as far as I can make out, as to whether a version made with yeast is the original or the batter bread came first. My grocery store guru never mentioned yeast, so I went with the simpler version. Most recipes I read and the ingredients she listed included candied peel and cherries, but I can only find those readily available during the Christmas, so I substituted dried sweet cherries and citrus zest and juice. The long soak in tea gives this bread a nice tannic finish and a subtle flavor. The bread is fruity but not overly sweet.

I offer this recipe in time for St. Patrick’s Day, even if that is not traditional, because it always reminds me of my Irish grocery pal (I like to imagine her name was something wonderful like Siobhan or Aoife) and the name is so musically Irish, especially with the Irish spelling báirín breac, which means “speckled bread.” And this dense, fruit studded, tea infused loaf is good at any time of year, spread with good Irish butter or with a slice of Irish cheddar.

Irish Barmbrack (Fruit and Tea Loaf)
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 black tea bags (Earl Gray or English Breakfast)
  2. ¾ cups black raisins
  3. ¾ cup golden raisins
  4. ½ cup currants
  5. ¼ cup dried sweet cherries
  6. 1 medium navel orange, zest and juice
  7. 1 medium lemon, zest and juice
  8. 1 egg
  9. ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  10. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  11. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  12. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  13. ¼ teaspoon cloves
  14. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  15. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  16. 2 Tablespoons buttermilk or milk
Instructions
  1. Brew 1 cup of tea with the two teabags. It should be strong tea. Toss the dried fruits together in a large bowl and cover with the tea and stir. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the fruit to soak overnight, giving it a stir if you happen to remember.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a standard 9 by 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. Zest the orange and the lemon into the bowl of fruit and tea and stir to combine. Squeeze the orange, then the lemon to make ½ cup juice (more orange juice is a little sweeter than too much lemon). Add the juice to the bowl and stir, then crack in the egg and stir to combine. Add the brown sugar, flour, soda and spices and stir until the batter comes together. Add the buttermilk or milk. This is a thick batter, but make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed in with the wet. If you need too, you can add a little bit more buttermilk to pull things together.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and press it out to an even layer. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/

Guinness and Oatmeal Quick Bread

Guinness and Oatmeal Quick Bread

It must have been close to St. Patrick’s Day. I had a six pack of Guinness on hand. Maybe I’d made some Guinness Glazed Irish Bacon or some Irish Rarebit. I love cooking with mallty stout, but I don’t particularly like drinking it straight, so I was looking for ways to use all those bottles. An Irish-inspired rustic loaf seemed the perfect thing. This bread has the lovely, dense texture of a traditional soda bread with the added tang from the Guinness. Oatmeal adds a lovely texture and richness. I like to let it cool just enough to slice easily, then spread it with lashings of Irish butter. Its also delicious toasted, or with a slice of good Irish cheddar cheese.

Guinness and Oatmeal Quick Bread
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  3. ¼ cup light brown sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 12-ounce bottle of Guinness stout
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
  9. ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Mix the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir with a fork to evenly distribute the ingredients. Mix the Guinness, buttermilk and butter together in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir just until everything is well mixed and there is no dry flour visible. Pour the batter into the prepared pan – it will be very wet.
  3. Bake the bread for 30 minutes at 425°, then reduce the temperature to 400° and cook for a further 30 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Serve with lots of butter!
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/

Guinness Glazed Irish Bacon

Guinness Glazed Irish Bacon

It’s hard not to start cooking with Guinness around St. Patrick’s Day.  It is a very versatile brew, lending itself to sweet and savory recipes. And as the old ads say, it makes you stronger!  I love this simple glaze and think thick slices of Irish bacon are the perfect vehicle for it.  Irish bacon is similar to Canadian bacon and more like ham than our “streaky” bacon, so a couple of slices makes for a nice change at dinner, or breakfast. I find it at natural food and upscale markets, but sliced Canadian bacon or thickly sliced ham will work as well.

Serve this sticky bacon with a large portion of Colcannon, which is traditionally served with a large pat of butter, but a drizzle of this glaze over the top is pretty good too.  Or pair it with Champ, if cabbage is not your thing.

This recipe makes more glaze than you will need, but it will keep, cooled in an airtight jar, for a week or so and can be used to glaze grilled chicken, burgers or a meatloaf, so it’s nice to have around to extend the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Guinness Glazed Irish Bacon

1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness stout

1 ¼   up light brown sugar

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

8 ounces sliced Irish bacon or Canadian bacon (about 8 slices)

Pour the Guinness into a high-sided saucepan and leave until the foam settles.  Stir in the brown sugar, honey and mustard powder and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Watch carefully and stir frequently as this can easily boil over.  Just when it hits the boil, reduce the heat to medium -low and cook, stirring often, until the glaze is reduced by half., about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from the heat. It will thicken a little as it cools.

Cook the bacon slices in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to brown, flip and brown the opposite side.  Spoon about 1 Tablespoon of glaze over each slice and cook a few more minutes until the bacon is nicely glazed and syrupy.  Serve immediately, with a little extra glaze spooned over if you like.

Serves 4

Guinness Glazed Irish Bacon and Colcannon

Guinness Glazed Irish Bacon and Colcannon

 

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage)

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage)

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that showcases the true brilliance of that culture’s rustic cuisine. Simple, staple ingredients transformed into something all together luscious and comforting. Mashed potatoes and cabbage are combined with a touch of leek and lots of rich dairy to create a dish that will fell like a welcome home, even if, like me, you’ve never been to Ireland.

I like to use napa cabbage because I find it slightly sweeter and milder, but classic green cabbage or savoy cabbage works just as well, and give a more traditional green speckle to the dish. Colcannon is a great side dish to lamb or beef, particularly corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day.

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage)

2 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)

½ head of napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)

2 large leeks, white and light green parts

½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided

1 cup buttermilk

salt to tast

Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks and place in a large pot. Cover with well-salted water by about 1 inch and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until very tender and a knife slides in easily, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Heat the buttermilk to just warm in a small pan or the microwave and add ½ cup to the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or sturdy wooden spoon until you have a nice, creamy mash. Stir in salt to taste

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the leeks into thin half-moons and rinse thoroughly in a colander. Wipe out the pot and melt ¼ cup ( ½ stick) of the butter in it. Add the leeks with some water clinging to them and cook until they begin to soften and become translucent. Stir frequently and do not le the leeks brown. Add ¼ cup of water, cover the pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the leeks are completely soft and translucent. Cut out the tough core of the cabbage half and slice into thin shreds. Rinse the cabbage shreds in the colander, then add them to the pot with some water clinging. Stir to combine the leeks and cabbage and coat the cabbage with the cooking juices. Cover the pot and cook until the cabbage is completely soft and wilted, about 15 minutes. Stir a few times and add a few tablespoons more water if there is any worry of the cabbage scorching or sticking.

When the cabbage is cooked, add it to the potatoes in the bowl and fold through. Add buttermilk as needed to create a creamy, rich texture and salt as needed.

Scoop the colcannon into a large serving bowl and make a well in the center. Cut the butter into small pats and place in the well to melt. Serve scoops of colcannon with the melting butter.

Serves 4 – 6

Irish Rarebit

Irish Rarebit

I doubt this a traditional Irish dish at all, but when I was whipping up a pot of Irish Stew, I wanted a nice, cheese-y accompaniment.  Welsh Rarebit is the great British snack of a beer-laced cheese sauce on crusty bread, so I figured I give it a go with Guinness.  These are perfect with the stew, but also make a nice treat on their own as a snack, or a light lunch or supper beside a big salad.  And they’d be pretty good with Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooked in Beer.

Irish Rarebit

½ cup Guinness or other stout beer

2 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup milk

¼ teaspoon English mustard powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

14 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese (preferably Irish), grated

8 slices crusty white bread

flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Pour the Guinness into your measuring jug and let the foam settle.  You want ½ cup minus the foam.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then whisk in the flour until you have a smooth paste and it is pale in color.  Whisk in the milk and Guinness and stir until thick, smooth and creamy.  Stir in the mustard powder and Worcestershire.  Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring to melt completely after each addition.  When all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth, set it aside to cool down and firm up a little.

Preheat the broiler to high.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.   Slice the bread into thick slices.  Use a spoon to spread a thick layer of cheese sauce on each slice.  Sprinkle the tops with salt and place on the baking sheet.  Broil the rarebits until the cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, about 6 minutes.  Watch very carefully.

Let the rarebits sit a few minutes, then slice each piece in half and serve.

Serves 8

Irish Stew

Irish Stew

Like many traditional dishes of the British Isles, my first taste of Irish Stew was in the dining hall of my college at Oxford.  And it wasn’t a particularly good experience.  Tough meat, watery broth, soggy vegetables. But I never gave up on the notion; I just think I liked this dish in theory more than in concept.  But a warming, hearty lamb and vegetable stew is just a plain good idea, so I stuck with it.

I have read many Irish Stew recipes over the years and they are all pretty simple and plain, which I think is a hallmark of Irish cuisine.  And I’ve made many versions too, but I always felt they needed a little oomph.  So I’ve added some bacon for smoky saltiness and browned the meat for extra richness.  Some of the impetus for sticking to the dish is that I now find beautiful pasture-raised, local lamb, and good meat makes all the difference. I love the contrast of peppery parsnips and sweet carrots and of course, no Irish Stew would be complete without potatoes.

Irish Stew

If you don’t find ready to use stew meat, ask the butcher counter to cube lamb shoulder or leg for you.

3 pounds lamb stew meat, in 2-inch cubes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 pound bacon

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

4 cups beef broth

3 bay leaves

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 parsnips

3 carrots

2 yellow potatoes

chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Pat the lamb cubes dry with paper towels.  Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a large ziptop bag, then drop in the lamb and shake it around to coat each cube with flour.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and place in a large (5-quart) Dutch oven.  Cook over medium high heat until the bacon is crispy.  Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain using a slotted spoon.  Let the bacon grease cool a bit, then very carefully pour it into a glass measuring jug.  Carefully wipe out the pot, cleaning out any burned bits.

Return the pot to the stove and heat ¼ cup of the bacon grease.  Remove the lamb cubes from the bag, shaking off any excess flour and cook them in the bacon grease until browned on all sides.  You will need to do this in batches, removing the browned pieces to a plate.  If needed, add a little more bacon grease to the pot and heat it up between batches.

When all the lamb is browned and removed from the pot, add 2 more Tablespoons of bacon grease and the chopped onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.  When the onions are soft, add ¼ cup of water and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Cover and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook a further 2 minutes.  Return the lamb and about ¾ of the cooked bacon to pot.  Pour in the beef broth, add the bay leaves and thyme and bring to a boil.  Stir the stew well, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Peel the parsnips and carrots and cut into bite-sized chunks.  Add to the simmering stew.  Scrub the potatoes, but do not peel, and cut into nice chunks.  Add these to the stew as well, give it all a good stir, cover the pot and cook for a further 30  – 40 minutes or until the potatoes, carrots and parsnips are tender.

At this point, the stew can be made up to a day ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated.  Reheat over medium just until warmed through.  Fish out the bay leaves and thyme stems before serving.

Serve in big bowls, topped with the remaining bacon pieces and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.

Serves 8

Boxty (Irish Potato Cakes)

There was a pub I frequented when I was a graduate student in England.  I will admit I didn’t eat there as much as my friends and I took a study break for last call at the bar. But they did serve food.  It wasn’t gourmet, it wasn’t even all that great, but they did have these potato cakes that I was very fond of.  They were cheap and filling, which are two of the top criteria for any student’s good food list.  It was only many years later, when I concerned myself primarily in recipe reading and research, that I came across boxty, and realized it was the same dish I’d eaten those years ago. I’ve since searched them out at pubs that do specialize in good food, and found the principle was pretty much the same.

My research revealed that boxty (pronounced bach-shtee) is a classic Irish dish.  A potato cake made with mashed and grated potatoes, often using leftover mash and that last potato in the drawer.  I follow the traditional method I’ve read in recipes over the years, but I add the bite of green onions, as is traditional in Champ, the classic Irish mashed potato dish.  And, as usual, I prefer the tang of buttermilk. Boxty aren’t pretty, but they are tasty.  The creamy mashed potatoes with the texture of the grated potatoes sets them apart from most other versions of potato cake.  I honestly can’t remember how they were served at that pub, but I have since had them as part of a “full English (or Irish)” breakfast, with bacon, sausage, tomatoes and egg all fried in the same pan.  I love them with a good pat of butter melting on top, but they make an excellent side dish, and would be brilliant with corned beef and cabbage or soaking up the gravy from a stew.

Boxty

Irish Potato Cakes

2 pounds (3 to 4 large) baking potatoes

3 spring onions, white and light green part, chopped

¾ cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ Tablespoon kosher salt

4 Tablespoons butter

Heat the oven to 200° and line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Peel two of the potatoes and cut large pieces.  Place the chunks in a large saucepan, salt generously, and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook the potatoes uncovered until fork tender, about 10 minutes.  Halfway through the cooking time, drop in the chopped green onions.  When the potatoes are soft, strain them through a colander and return to the pan.  Mash them with ¼ cup of the buttermilk until they are smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.

While the potatoes are cooling, peel and grate the remaining potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Toss with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and place on a clean teal towel.  Gather the towel into a ball and squeeze out as much moisture from the grated potatoes as possible.

Beat the remaining ½ cup of buttermilk and the egg together in the measuring jug.  Fold the grated potatoes into the mashed potatoes and green onions.  Fold in the buttermilk mixture, flour, and salt until incorporated. You should have a pretty stiff batter.  You can add a bit more flour if needed.

Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat.  Add enough butter to lightly coat the bottom when melted. Drop 3 mounds (about 1/4 cup each) of the batter into the pan and flatten each to about 1/4 inch thick. Cook until the pancake bottoms are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Place on a baking sheet and set in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter. Serve warm.

Makes 12 – 16

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooked in Beer

I am a newcomer to Corned Beef and Cabbage. I have generally enjoyed my corned beef deli sliced on a sandwich and my cabbage in slaw. My father is a big fan of corned beef and cabbage, but somehow it hadn’t trickled down to me. I had certainly thought about developing a recipe for St. Patrick’s Day, but hadn’t gotten around to it. Then, this winter, I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner, one of those fun nights when everyone contributes an element to the meal. One guest brought the appetizer – thinly sliced corned beef, perfectly cooked, served with dark bread and a variety of mustards. It was gone as quick as it was put out. And of course, I begged her corned beef cooking secrets. She laid out the boiling and steaming method laid out here, and I knew I had to give it a try. Okay, I did veer of her path a little by adding beer and some spices, but this method creates a tender corned beef proclaimed by my dad “a triumph.”

While making my second test round of the dish, I happened to be reading the book 97 Orchard about immigrant families in New York bringing the traditions of their home countries to their adopted home. As the corned beef boiled, I read the section on Irish cooking, and learned that, counter to the popular tale that corned beef and cabbage is a purely American creation, it is in fact an old Irish tradition, and that Irish corned beef was packed for long voyages across the Atlantic in the days of the Pilgrims. I’ve added my own culinary heritage with the bacon-braised cabbage of the South, and the final product is a real treat.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooked in Beer

one 3 – pound thin cut corned beef brisket

1 (12-ounce) bottle pale ale or beer

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

1 medium head green cabbage

3 strips bacon, or 2 Tablespoons bacon grease

Discard any seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef. Rinse the corned beef and place in a large Dutch oven. Pour in the beer and add enough water to cover the meat. Drop in the bay leaves, peppercorns and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Lower the heat to medium low, cover the pot and cook at a low boil for 3 hours, adding more water to cover the meat as needed.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. When the meat has boiled, remove it from the pan to the rack of a roasting tray. I use the one that came with my oven, which has a nice deep tray and a slotted top rack. Reserve all the cooking liquid. Fill the bottom tray with as much of the cooking liquid as will fit without touching the meat. Cover the whole very tightly with foil, sealing well. The meat is meant to steam, so you don’t want the steam to escape. Cook for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining cooking liquid into a bowl or large measuring jug and put in the fridge. Rinse out the Dutch oven.

When the corned beef has steamed for two hours, remove it from the oven and leave it covered until ready to carve.

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, cook the cabbage. Skim any fat off the top of the reserved cooking liquid from them meat. Cook the bacon strips in the Dutch oven until crispy, or simply melt the bacon fat over medium-high heat. When the bacon is cooked, remove it to paper towels to save for another use and discard all but about 2 Tablespoons of fat. Prepare the cabbage by removing the dark, outer leaves from the cabbage.Then cut the head in half and remove the core. Quarter the cabbage and cut each quarter into strips about ¼ inch wide. Drop the cabbage strips into the hot bacon fat, riffling it to separate the leaves. Quickly stir the cabbage to coat it in the bacon grease, cover the pot, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway. Pour in 1 – 1 ½ cups of the reserved cooking liquid, stir well, cover the pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Feel free to cook the cabbage for more or less time, depending on how you like your cabbage – a little but crisp, or completely wilted. Salt to taste.

When ready to serve, unwrap the meat, remove to a carving board. Carefully cut off any fat from the top of the corned beef, then slice into thin slices. Some of the meat may crumble off. No worries, eat that as is or stir it into the cabbage.

Serves 6 -8, with some leftovers for sandwiches

Keep the St. Patrick’s Day spirit going with some Champ: Irish Mashed Potatoes with Green Onionsor some Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies!

Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies

St. Patrick’s Day is a silly holiday – in the best possible way.  Grown folks dressing in green fuzzy wigs and big hats.  Pinching co-workers and friends who forget to wear green.  Drinking green beer.  Singing Irish songs as if you just came over from the old country.  In fact, celebrating a holiday largely based on snake-driving has an element of silliness to it from the get go. St. Patrick, it seems, never did have anything to do with snakes.  Now you know.

Except for college, when I am sure that it was a big beer drinking occasion (I assume that because frankly, I don’t remember), I have never really gone in for too much St. Paddy’s Day fun.  My only St. Patrick’s memory is a family spring break trip to Chicago right during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  Of course, my brother and I were too young to appreciate the principal activities of the day. But the Chicago River was dyed green, and we could watch the parade down Michigan Avenue from our hotel.  George Bush, Senior was staying in our hotel.  He’d just started his first presidential run (boy am I dating myself now), so the Secret Service were everywhere.  I can only imagine that Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day is a Secret Service nightmare.

So in celebration of the silly, I created these Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies.  I am not, by the way, Irish, but that’s sort of the fun of St. Patrick’s.  Everyone is Irish for a least a day.  The cookie base is flavored with Irish cream liqeuer, topped with a chocolate kiss.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

½ cup sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup Irish cream liqueur (like Bailey’s)

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

24 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, beating until combined.  Add the Irish cream, beating well.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the dough, mixing until fully incorporated.

Roll generous teaspoons of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets.  Press a kiss into each cookie ball, letting the dough form up around the kiss.  Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies

Don’t forget the Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooked in Beer!