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Posts Tagged ‘Irish’

Potato & leek soup with smoked Gubbeen cheese & chives

This is no ordinary leek and potato soup but rich and complex with a subtle smoky flavour from the cheese. We’ve been cooking from Gill Meller’s latest book, Time, and the recipes are stunning.

This is the kind of soup that goes well with Northern Irish Wheaten Bread.

Leek & Potato Soup with Smoked Gubbeen & Chives – serves 4

  • 1 litre of vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 3 floury white potatoes (about 350g), peeled and cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 3 medium-large leeks, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 or 3 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g smoked Gubbeen (Gill suggests smoked Cheddar or goat’s cheese), grated, plus extra to serve
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped

Bring the stock to the boil in a large heavy pan. Add just a third of the potato, bring the stock back to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes, or until the potato cubes are tender. Add a third of the leeks and cook for a few minutes to soften, then drain the vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch the stock.

Return the pan to a medium heat and heat the butter and olive oil. When bubbling, add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, then add the remaining leeks and potato to the pan, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes, then add the reserved stock and bring to a gentle simmer.

Cook the soup for about 15 minutes or until the leeks and potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.

Return the soup to the pan. Add the cooked leeks and potatoes from earlier, along with the cream, grated cheese and chopped chives. Season again, then put back on the heat and bring slowly to a simmer. Stir well, remove from the heat, and stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with some extra cheese, chives and seasoning.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Wheaten bread

A Northern Irish classic, wheaten bread is also the classic plain soda bread from further south in Ireland. As Jules grew up near Belfast and went to the same school as Trish Deseine (who knew?), our inspiration for this recipe, we call it “Wheaten”. Whatever you call it, this is an Irish classic and intrinsic to Irish food culture. So simple to make, tasty and versatile, this should be part of any cooks repertoire. We like it with a bowl of soup for lunch and toasted for breakfast the day after.

Northern Irish Wheaten Bread – makes 1 loaf

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 1 barely round tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 450-475ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 225C.

Mix the flours in a large, wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda. Run the mixture through your fingers to distribute everything evenly.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Stir the mixture in circles with outstretched fingers starting from the centre of the bowl and working outwards. It shouldn’t take long for the dough to almost come together. Give it a very quick knead in the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Sprinkle a little flour on your hands and gently tidy the dough into a round and transfer to an oven tray. Tuck the edges underneath with your hands, then gently pat with your fingers into a loaf about 4cm thick.

Cut a deep cross into the bread and prick the centre of the four sections with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C for a further 15minutes. Turn the bread upside down and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes or until done – you can tell as it will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.

(Original recipe from Trish Deseine’s ‘Home: Recipes from Ireland, Hatchette Livre, 2015.)

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Potato soup

An invaluable recipe especially in Ireland as we always seem to have surplus potatoes lying around. This is what we cook when ‘there’s no food in the house’ and it’s pretty good.

Potato and fresh herb soup – serves 6

  • 50g butter
  • 425g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 110g onions, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped herbs: parsley, thyme, chives
  • 850ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 125ml creamy milk

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Wait until it starts to foam, then add the potatoes and onions and stir to coat in the butter. Add the salt and some black pepper. Cover with a butter wrapper or some greaseproof paper and the saucepan lid. Sweat gently for about 10 minutes while you bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan.

When the vegetables are softened but not coloured, add the herbs and stock, then continue to cook until the vegetables are completely soft. Whizz the soup until smooth and season to taste. Thin with some creamy milk if necessary and garnish with some more herbs.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 2001.)

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Champ

This is how Julie’s Granny served champ, with a great big lump of Irish butter in the middle!

Irish Champ – serves 4 as a side or 2 on it’s own

  • 700g potatoes – it helps if they are roughly the same size
  • salt and white pepper (no black pepper please)
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 50g butter (plus extra to serve)

Put the potatoes (unpeeled) in a pot and cover with cold water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer until completely tender (usually about 20 minutes but keep checking and don’t let them go to mush).

Heat the milk with the scallions for about 5 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and peel while still hot. If you have a potato ricer you could use that but we tend to use a standard masher.

Beat the butter into the mashed potato with a wooden spoon, then stir in the warm milk and scallions. Season well with salt and white pepper.

Serve the potatoes in a warm bowl. Make a dip in the middle with the back of a spoon and add a lump of good quality (preferably Irish) salted butter.

 

 

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Kassler roasted with cabbage & potatoes

Our mate Brett got us this genuine Kassler, a pork loin expertly cured and lightly smoked by Ed Hicks in Dun Laoghaire. If you can’t find Kassler use a smoked bacon loin or rack and prepare yourself for the best bacon & cabbage ever.

Wine Suggestion: We chose a classic white Burgundy, 100% Chardonnay made in oak from a winemaker in Meursault, Patrick Javillier. He makes a couple of Bourgogne Blanc’s from a couple of very particular sites in Meursault and boy are they good. This time we chose his Cuvée Oligocene which is a vineyard partly in Meursault and partly in the ordinary Burgundy classification (despite it being the same soils and aspect). This makes this wine a bargain and we love it.

Roast Bacon with Cabbage & Potatoes – serves 6-8

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 450g savoy cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1kg boned kassler/smoked bacon loin or rack
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the Sauce

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 50ml Madeira or Port
  • 1-3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with cold salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then drain.

Par-boil the cabbage in another large pan of lightly salted water for 2 minutes. Drain into a colander and refresh with cold water, then use your hands to squeeze out the excess water.

Put the bacon into a large roasting tray and place in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes before adding the butter. When the butter has melted, add the potatoes and roast together for 20 minutes, turning the bacon & potatoes in the butter now and then.

Now push the potatoes and bacon to one side and add the cabbage. Season the potatoes and cabbage with salt and roast for another 10 minutes, turning everything in the smoky butter.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting the butter in a small pan and adding the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then take off the heat and whisk in the chicken stock until smooth. Place back on the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 40 minutes in total remove the bacon from the oven and check that the potatoes and cabbage are cooked. Transfer the vegetables to a warm serving platter, then slice the bacon and arrange on top. Keep warm.

To finish the sauce, de-glaze the juices in the roasting tin with the Maderia or Port and add to the sauce. Whisk in the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper.

(Original recipe by Paul Rankin.)

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Potato cakes

We sorely miss potato farls which you can buy in every bakery in Belfast and are so delicious with bacon for breakfast or brunch. It was a delight to find such a good and easy recipe. You have to make these with hot potato so it’s fine to use leftover mash but make sure you re-heat it.

Potato cakes 

  • 450g potatoes, steamed and put through a mouli-légumes or potato ricer
  • 110-140g flour sieved with a tsp of sea salt
  • 45g unsalted butter

Work the ingredients together with your fingers, then roll out the dough lightly into thin circles with a very well floured rolling pin. Cut with a scone cutter into circles and fry in a little butter until browned.

Serve hot with more butter and some crispy bacon.

(Original recipe from Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible by Tamasin Day-Lewis, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.)

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Colcannon

A very Irish side dish but good enough to eat a big bowlful on its own. If you want to restrain yourselves a bit you could balance this with a nicely barbecued sausage. The diet starts after Christmas!

When seasoning make sure you use white pepper as it makes all the difference. The pink pepper mill in the photo is our “white pepper mill”.

Colcannon – to serve 6 as a side

  • 1kg potatoes, scrubbed (cut the bigger ones in half)
  • 100g butter
  • ½ a small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 150ml double cream

Put the potatoes into a large pan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer goes through without resistance.

Heat about 25g of the butter in another saucepan and fry half the cabbage for about 5 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and peel while they are hot, then mash until smooth.

Heat the cream with the rest of the butter and, when almost boiling, beat into the potato. Add the cabbage to the potato, mix well and season (with salt and white pepper).

Heaven!

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