Let’s face it, i’m too old for green beer and bar hoping. I’m also not Irish in the slightest 😉 But it’s Saint Patrick’s Day and I still wanted to do a little something for the occasion. So I did what French people do and had a few people over for dinner and served a not-so-traditional Irish feast… with a French Twist of course.
Menu de la Saint Patrice
Irish Onion Soup
Guinness Glazed Lamb Chops with Irish Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin
Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce
My inspiration was Guinness. The French use red wine in a lot of dishes, and I thought what can I make where I can sub Guinness for red wine? Plus, once I had bought a four pack I was determined to put it in everything 😉 Starting with a
French Irish onion soup. Now we were expecting some snow too, so this type of earthy soup was the perfect way to kick off the meal. Since I gave up meat for lent, I was glad to have slightly more vegetarian-friendly version of the soup too. I’ve been making French onion soup for so long, I don’t really follow any recipe anymore but if you need one, this Tyler Florence one is pretty good and close to what I do. To give it a little Irish flair, I subbed the red wine for Guinness as well as the beef broth for half vegetable broth and half Guinness (I was trying to keep it vegetarian friendly).
For the main courses, I found all of the ingredients very easily at Safeway.
I came across this amazing recipe for Guinness glazed lamb chops on Epicurious, which I thought would be the perfect main dish to go along the recipe that brought me to Epicurious’ website tonight in the first place: Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Sauce. That recipe was part of a great menu that Ireland native Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA created for the magazine. He paired it with braised lamb shoulder, which sounded great too but as I said, I really wanted to integrate Guinness in a lot of the dishes I made.
The roasted cauliflower with cheddar sauce is basically a cauliflower gratin, a pretty traditional French dish with bechamel, that subs gruyere for Kerrygold Irish Aged Cheddar to give it an Irish accent. And it was so delicious, and easy to make. I didn’t get try the lamb chops since I gave up meat for lent, but everyone raved about them…
Last but NEVER least: dessert. Guinness and chocolate are basically a match made in heaven. But of course, I don’t eat chocolate 😦 Guinness creme brûlée and Guinness floats came to mind, but I settled on an Irish bread pudding with Irish Whiskey Caramel sauce since I had some left over bread from the Irish onion soup. Even though I worship caramel, I’ve always had a hard time making it at home… this recipe worked really well for me though:
Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Left over loaf of bread from Irish Onion Soup, cut into large cubes
Half a cup Irish Whiskey
1 1/2 cup whole milk (left over from the gratin, low fat works too)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk (you can sub cream too for this one)
2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Irish whiskey
3 tbsp non-salted butter (use Kerrygold to make it extra Irish!)
Preheat your oven at 350 degrees (F). Start by toasting your bread cubes in the oven for a few minutes. Then, place them in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the whiskey all over the bread to soften it. In a bowl, mix the milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla extract and egg. Pour over the bread cube – whiskey mixture until well combined. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes (you want to make sure the pudding is set but not overcooked.) While the bread pudding is cooking, prepare the caramel sauce by melting the 1 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn, but don’t stir it until it starts to melt. Once it does, you’ll want to start stirring with a fork until all the sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel. Remove from the heat and add 3 tbsp of butter, 1/3 cup of whiskey and a pinch of salt. The caramel will go crazy and harden very fast. There’ll be steam too… that’s normal. Return to the heat and keep stirring until it turns into a beautiful brown caramel. Once the pudding is ready to be served, pour the chilled caramel sauce on it (or individually in plates.)
I had a lot of fun pulling recipes together for this menu! What did you make for Saint Patrick’s Day?