17 March 2013

St. Patrick's Day Lunch

What percentage of me is Irish? Blond hair, red beard, freckles, short and stocky... I'm some combination of Scottish/Welsh/English/Irish thrown upon the shores of the New World, but I can say that when I was in Boston I blended into the crowd in a way that was unique amongst my many travels upon this green Earth.

As a Protestant I do not celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick for religious reasons, and as a responsible citizen I do not head out to bars where good beer is adulterated with blue dye to produce pitchers of green piss. However, I do enjoy cooking something Irish on this particular day, and my meal began early with a batch of whole wheat soda bread, using the unique pint glass recipe from Saveur magazine. The result is a dense and chewy bread with a firm crust that marries well with soft butter and molasses. Though it is heavy, I've always enjoyed a wedge of soda bread when it's cold outside.

Instead of just boiling a chunk of corned beef or making potato soup, I decided to go for a proper lamb dish combined with traditional colcannon. For the latter, I used Yukon Gold potatoes, rendered lamb fat, kale, and onions. The result was rich and savory, and the use of kale instead of regular cabbage was the choice my father made earlier in the week for his holiday colcannon. The lamb fat meant that no additional butter was required.

I broke out the mortar and pestle to make a good spice rub for the rack of lamb. Peppercorns, coriander, allspice, sea salt, and dried lemon zest. I rubbed that on the ribs and let them rest for a good hour before slow roasting the rack in the oven. A quick blast of heat at the end to crisp up the edges, and we were done.

Lastly, I drizzled the ribs with a reduction of Guinness Stout, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Cooked down to just above the syrup level and carefully poured over the tender ribs. It provided a sweet and piquant contrast to the savory and fatty lamb.

The end result of it all was decadent and delicious... Earthy and savory flavors of lamb and potato and kale combined with great spices and sauces, all enjoyed on a quiet Sunday afternoon rather than in a bar with a hundred green-clad miscreants spilling beer and trying to sing along to faux-Irish music.


Allen said...

Green draft beer needs to go in the history books. The meal looks great.

Benito said...


Much agreed, and the meal was delicious. I had it with some wonderful Hungarian red wine that will show up in a future post.