Food and Fun: Keep it traditional and support local

We all know that Irish food is fantastic. We have the best, tastiest, freshest ingredients on our doorstep — we really are spoilt for choice.
Food and Fun: Keep it traditional and support local

We all know that Irish food is fantastic. We have the best, tastiest, freshest ingredients on our doorstep — we really are spoilt for choice.

If we have learnt anything over the past few months of this pandemic it is how we need to support local business — particularly all those involved in food production. Few businesses have escaped the impact of Covid-19 and now is the time for us to do what the Irish do best: pull together and move forward.

So in the theme of keeping it local, this week we are focusing on traditional Irish dishes and ingredients, including Darina Allen’s moreish beef stew, a colcannon soup and delicious sweet potato and Clonakilty Veggie Pudding falafels.

All of the recipes by renowned chefs and food experts Darina Allen, Michelle Darmody, Derval O’Rourke, and the Currabinny Cooks (James Kavanagh and William Murray), have been published previously in the Irish Examiner Weekend supplement.

Colcannon soup  (Darina Allen)

colcannon soup
colcannon soup

Colcannon is one of Ireland’s best-loved traditional potato dishes — fluffy mashed potato flecked with cooked cabbage or kale. This recipe uses identical ingredients to make a delicious soup.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 75g -3oz- butter
  • 425g (15oz) peeled diced potatoes
  • 110g (4oz) diced onions
  • 1.2 litre (2 pints) homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 450g (1lb) Savoy cabbage
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 110ml (4 fl oz) creamy milk

Method

Melt 50g (2oz) butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss them in the butter until well coated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 6-10 minutes. Add the stock, increase the heat, and cook until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.

Meanwhile, cook the cabbage.

Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Divide into four, cut out the stalks and then cut into fine shreds across the grain.

Put two-three tablespoons of water into a wide saucepan with 25g (1oz) butter and a pinch of salt.

Bring to the boil, add the cabbage and toss constantly over a high heat, then cover for a few minutes. Toss again and add some more salt, freshly ground pepper and a knob of butter.

Purée in a blender or food processor, add the cabbage to the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Thin with creamy milk to the required consistency.

Note: Cabbage may be puréed with the soup if you would rather a smoother texture.

Sweet potato and Clonakilty veggie pudding falafels (Jennifer Opperman)

Clonakilty veggie pudding
Clonakilty veggie pudding

Makes 8

Cook time: 7 – 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 100g Clonakilty Veggie Pudding
  • 100g Sweet Potato, grated
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • Pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of oil for frying
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Add the grated sweet potato into a large mixing bowl, break the Clonakilty veggie pudding into small pieces and add to the bowl along with garlic, chili powder, spring onion, salt, and pepper.

Mix ingredients together gently until all ingredients are combined.

Form the falafel shapes in the palms of your hands, place them on a flat plate and chill for half an hour in the fridge.

Heat a frying pan, add oil to pan, cook falafels for 7–10 minutes over a medium heat turning to brown all sides. Serve immediately

Serving suggestion:

Flatbreads, crunchy salad and tahini dressing. To make your own put the juice of one lemon, a clove of crushed garlic, 50g tahini, 50g cold water in a small bowl. Mix well to form a loose dressing and season to taste.

Ballymaloe beef stew (Darina Allen)

Serves 8 - 10

A good gutsy stew which can be made in large quantities — it reheats and freezes brilliantly. Cover the top of the stew with large peeled potatoes if you would like a full meal in a pot.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.35kg (3 lb) well hung stewing beef or lean flank
  • 4 large carrots cut into ½ inch (1cm) slices
  • 2 parsnips cut in ¾ dice
  • 285g (10 ozs) sliced onions
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour
  • 150ml (5fl oz) red wine (or use all beef stock)
  • 150ml (5fl oz) brown beef stock
  • 250ml (8fl oz) homemade tomato purée, otherwise use best quality tinned tomato — pureed and sieved
  • 175g (6 oz) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Trim the meat of any excess fat, then prepare the vegetables. Cut themeat into 4cm (1½ inch) cubes. Heat the olive oil in a casserole; sweat the sliced onions, carrots and parsnips on a gentle heat with a lid on for 10 minutes.

Heat a little more olive oil in a frying pan until almost smoking. Sear the pieces of meat on all sides, reduce the heat, stir in flour, cook for 1 minute, mix the wine, stock and tomato puree together and add gradually to the casserole. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook gently for 2½-3 hours in a low oven, depending on the cut of meat, 160C/325F/gas mark 3.

Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and add with the parsley to the casserole, 30 minutes approx, before the end of cooking. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles and a good green salad.

Note: Cover the surface of the stew with 8 –10 whole peeled potatoes laid on top and cooked for about an hour before the end of the cooking. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cover with a lid.

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