Celebrate St. Patrick’s with slow-cooked roast, Irish soda bread

Published 9:15 pm Monday, May 4, 2015

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Every year on March 17, the Irish, people with Irish heritage and the Irish-at-heart observe St. Patrick’s Day.
The holiday originally was celebrated as a religious feast to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland in the Catholic tradition. Patrick earned his sainthood for his efforts to bring Christianity to Ireland.
What began as a religious feast day has since been adopted as a holiday by the secular world and become an international festival celebrating Irish culture.
Here in East Tennessee many of the residents can claim Irish ancestry as this region was a popular place to settle for folks from the Emerald Isle. It has been said that our beautiful mountains, valleys and streams reminded them of their homeland across the ocean.
Part of my family history can be traced back to Ireland so I have always been fascinated with Irish culture, traditions and food.
This week I am sharing some of my favorite Irish style recipes and dishes.

Irish Stout Roast
3 pound london broil or other beef roast cut
1 medium white onion, sliced (you may use a sweet onion if you prefer)
1 16 ounce package of fresh, sliced mushrooms
1 1 pound package of cut baby carrots
6 or 7 red potatoes
2 cans of Murphy or Guinness Irish Stout
garlic powder
Season both sides of the beef roast with garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Braise both sides of the roast in a pan over medium to high heat to seal in the flavor. Remove from heat.
In a slow cooker make a bed of the onion slices and place the beef roast on top. Cover with the mushrooms and pour the Irish Stout over the top.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours. At the halfway point, break the roast up into smaller sections and add the carrots and potatoes. Before serving, break the roast up further and stir well.

Irish Soda Bread
1 package (1⁄4 ounce) active dry yeast
1⁄2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup warm buttermilk (110-115 degrees; as a note, warmed buttermilk will appear curdled)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
31⁄2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Beat in buttermilk, butter, salt, baking soda, 1 cup flour and remaining sugar until smooth. Stir in raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 2 minutes. Shape into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a 1⁄4-inch -deep cross on top of loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

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Irish Mint Brownies
1 cup butter, cubed
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup double dark chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
4 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1⁄4 cup refrigerated Irish creme nondairy creamer
1 cup heavy whipping cream
12 squares (1 ounce each) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
15 mint Andes candies, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and bittersweet chocolate; cool slightly. In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture. Gradually add flour until blended. Stir in chips and walnuts. Spread into a greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
In a saucepan, combine white chocolate and creamer. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth; remove from heat. refigerate 30-40 minutes or until chilled. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture. Beat on medium until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Fold in candies. Spread over brownies. Cover; refrigerate.
In a small saucepan, combine bittersweet chocolate and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth; remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Cool to room temperature. Carefully spread over filling. Garnish with Andes candy pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until icing is set. Cut into bars.
Abby was born and raised in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County. Her love of cooking grew over the years as she worked in the kitchen alongside her mother and grandmother.