Bacon and Crispy Cabbage with Mustard Sauce

Happy New Year 2018!  Wishing all my friends and followers good health and Prosperity with Irish Savoy Cabbage Greens and Bacon…a true Irish favorite!

In the South it’s a tradition to enjoy collard greens as part of a New Years tradition (cooked in a smoked ham hock bone and served with black eyed peas and cornbread). The greens are symbolic of paper money and bring good luck and wealth for the upcoming year, whilst the black eyed peas represent the coins… so now you know!

So we wanted to share a new year suggestion for you with some Irish style crispy cabbage and wishing you a year like no other!

Bacon with Crispy Cabbage and Mustard Sauce

  • 3 lbs cured loin of bacon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 stick of celery (chopped)
  • 1 large onion (cut in quarters)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • (for the cabbage)
  • 1 large green savoy cabbage (hard core removed and thinly sliced)
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • (for the mustard sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup reserved cooking liquid
  • 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

 

How to make it

  1. Put the bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, celery, and carrot.   Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid for the sauce.
  3. To make the mustard sauce melt the butter and add the flour cooking for a minute and then whisk in the reserved cooking liquid, heavy whipping cream, mustard and salt and pepper.
  4. To make the cabbage melt the butter in a large skillet and then add the cabbage tossing with tongs until it’s bright and fragrant. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of water over the cabbage to wilt slightly but still remaining crispy and bright.
  5. To serve slice the bacon and drizzle with a little mustard sauce and top with crispy cabbage.

Enjoy, and have a peaceful and prosperous new year!

Judie the Irish foodie

 

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Winter Solstice at Newgrange, Ireland

We all know Ireland is a special place, but did you know about Newgrange on December 21st? – Now this is really special….

New Grange is older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids and on December 21st ( the Winter Solstice) it is a symbol of light to our dark world. The Winter Solstice is the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.  The mound that you see in the picture covers a single tomb that consists of a long passage and a cross-shaped chamber. The Megalithic chamber was build for the Winter Solstice and when the run rises a shaft of light illuminates the chamber through an opening in the roof box. The actual purpose of the chamber is unclear, although recent research suggests it could of had an astronomical function, but whatever it was built for…it is amazing! How could stone age people have built such an amazing thing?

This year I lead a tour of American guests to NewGrange and the response was that of complete awe and fascination! Just like the ancient Celts we look for light and the sun to break forth in the midst of the Bleak Mid Winter!

…just amazing. Please check it out and I do hope everyone is enjoying the run up to Christmas – excitement is building!

Judie the Irish foodie

Perfect Irish Christmas Pudding

My neighbor is from Co. Kerry in Ireland and she gave me the best gift this year by sharing her family recipe with me for her special Irish Christmas pudding. – what a treat and a joy to receive a recipe such as that from a friend!

Sometime called a ‘Plum Pudding’, even though it never contains plums, this delicious dessert is the traditional end of the family Christmas dinner in most homes in Ireland, and in Britain. Made with fruit, citrus, breadcrumbs and healthy doses of alcohol (in this case Irish whiskey!) the dish is a curiosity in America, but let me encourage you to give it a try…

One of the Irish traditions my friend Anne Marie shared with me was this…”stir the pudding, and when all the ingredients are combined, then make a wish”. These memories are passed on generation to generation and her girls all agree they are going to be passing the recipe and cooking an Irish Christmas pudding when they have their own homes!

So, here is the recipe and remember to make a Christmas wish from my home to yours… Merry Christmas!

Christmas Pudding

  • 8 oz unsalted Kerrygold butter
  • 8 oz brown sugar
  • 6 oz bread crumbs
  • 2 oz all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 oz mixed fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas)
  • 1 apple (finely chopped)
  • 2 oz of glaze cherries
  • 2 oz of nuts
  • ½ tsp of mixed spices (all spice with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • ½ cup of citrus juice (orange or lemon)
  • ½ cup of Irish whiskey

How to make it

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium size bowl until creamy and light. Fold in the breadcrumbs, flour, and baking powder string to combine.  Add the eggs, fruits, nuts, spices cherries and finally stir in the citrus juice and whiskey stirring until everything is fully incorporated.
  2. Transfer to a round shaped bowl. Cover with wax paper and secure tightly with string.
  3. Transfer to a large pot of boiling water and simmer on low for 12 hours. (It does not need to be a constant 12 hours if you are leaving your house you can turn the stove off and restart it again when you get home or wake up)

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Sweet Mince Pies and Snow Storms

We are relishing these rare days of snow in Georgia with 12″ of fluffy white fun falling in Atlanta this weekend!  Our friends and family in Ireland tell us that it’s snowing there also, and we are all dreaming of a white Christmas! -maybe this is the year?

Being Irish, there are certain flavors, smells and traditions associated with Christmas  and one of those has to be warm sweet mince pies.  Whats not to like about melt in your mouth pastry filled with dried fruits, apples and spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)? I can follow up with a recipe for homemade sweet mincemeat but for now, please allow me to share a recipe for some of the most delicious pies I have ever tasted (from my dear Irish friend Marian Lynch).  Your home will smell wonderful as they are baking in the oven – comforting and delicious

Oh, and you should know, despite the name, there is actually no meat as such in the recipe (but eaten as a traditional part of Christmas from the 16th century, and back then, the ‘meat’ may have just meant the filling part). Today it’s a sweet treat not to be missed this season!

Here’s the recipe

Irish Traditional Mince Pies

  • 18 oz all purpose flour
  • 2 oz powdered sugar
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz unsalted Kerrygold butter)
  • 1 large egg yolk (beaten)
  • 3-4 Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • (mince meat) homemade or bought

How to make them:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add in the ground almonds.  Rub in the butter and margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Blend the egg yolk, lemon juice and the water together and gradually add to the dry ingredients, until just enough to hold together.
  4. Turn the pastry on to a lightly floured board and knead lightly. Cover the pastry and put aside in the fridge to relax for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Roll out the pastry very thin and using a pastry cutter cut in to 2 inch rounds. Spoon 1 tsp of mincemeat on to half the rounds. Brush edges all around with cold water.  Place another on top and press edges together.  Prick with a fork.
  6. Bake for about 9 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then place mince pies on a cooling rack.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Judith the Irish foodie