Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

March 16, 2019

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So did I hear you say that you are totally over corned beef & cabbage? Or that you never liked it to begin with? Well, don’t fret, I’ve got a great dish that you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day and there is no corned beef in sight. What you do have is a flavorful, succulent loin of pork roasted with a Guinness & Honey glaze.

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I don’t know what it is with Guinness. I don’t really just like to sit around drinking pints of the stuff. Seriously, one pint makes me feel as though I’ve eaten an entire loaf of bread. But I absolutely love every recipe where it makes an appearance. An this pork loin is no exception. That Guinness Honey Glaze is amazing – sweet and tangy. Just the perfect flavor combination for pork.

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And these little potatoes are fantastic all on their own. I’ve rubbed them in a bit of bacon drippings and roasted them until soft and tender. Then they are sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. They’re great with or without the gravy.

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This tasty dish is very easy to prepare leaving you plenty of time for other St. Patrick’s Day activities. Believe me, with their plate piled tall with this Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin & Roasted Potatoes no one will be missing that Corned Beef & Cabbage!

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Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb. Pork Loin
  • 150 ml. Guinness Stout Beer
  • 50 ml. honey
  • 125 grams light brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • splash Guinness

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 355° F.

For the glaze: Place the Guinness, honey and sugar into a deep sided saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by half and thickens to make a syrupy glaze. Take care that the mixture does not boil out of the pot onto your stove. You will be very sorry to have to clean up that sticky mess!

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Place in in a roasting tin and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, generously baste the pork with the glaze and then continue to cook for a further 40 -50 minutes, continuing to occasionally brush the glaze over the meat from time to time. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the glaze for the gravy.

Once it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F, remove it from the oven. Place on a cutting board to rest and tent it with aluminum foil.

Pour the 1 Tablespoon of glaze into the roasting tin, add a splash more of Guinness and one cup of broth. Place over a burner and heat until it comes to a boil. Whisk in a bit of flour if you would like the gravy to be a bit thicker.

Serve Pork with the Gravy and Roasted Potatoes.

Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Baby Red Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup of reserved bacon drippings or canola oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the baby potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover them by 1″. Add the salt to the water and heat until they just reach a boil. Remove the potatoes from the heat, drain and pat dry.

Place the melted bacon drippings or oil into a shallow dish. Add the potatoes and stir them around until they are coated. Transfer them to a baking sheet.

Season with additional salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes over and continue to bake for 25 more minutes, or until they are soft and fork tender.

Enjoy!

Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes:

Chicago Professional Roasting Pan with Rack

Oxo Good Grips Large Silicon Basting Brush

Oxo Good Grips Gravy Whisk

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Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks

March 15, 2019

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Yummmmmmmm! Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks! Comfort food at its finest!  This potato ale soup is so creamy and flavorful on its own with that gorgeous sharp Kerry Gold Cheddar swirled into the mix, it is sheer bliss. It is then topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and just a bit of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.

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I would’ve said it couldn’t have gotten any better….but that was before I got a taste of those beer battered leeks. SQUEEEEE!!! Those fried leeks are so crispy with a lovely delicate flavor – they just melt in your mouth! I know deep frying stuff can be a bit of a pain in the neck, but seriously….you’ve just got to do it for these leeks. Sooooooo worth it!

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I must admit, I was a bit nervous when I was making this soup. You see, several years ago when the Husband and I were on holiday in Newfoundland, we went into a local brewery and ordered some cheddar ale soup to go along with our pints. We were expecting a little cup, but then big ole honking bowls of soup came out. It was pretty tasty I must say, so foolishly we gobbled it all up. We finished our pints somewhere along the way and ordered seconds. When we got up to leave we couldn’t believe it. It felt as though that soup had tripled in size or that I had somehow eaten all of St. Johns. I have never been that full in my life. We could barely move. I thought someone was going to have to roll us back to our hotel. When we finally did make it back there, we just laid about the place for hours moaning about our bellies. Good times right?

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But this Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup was thankfully nothing like that. Although it is hearty and filling, it isn’t heavy at all. I would recommend that you use a lighter ale or lager with this recipe to avoid weighing it and yourself down! Goodness knows there are parties & parades you’ve got to get to. And green beer to guzzle…

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Or maybe you stay in this year. Seen one parade, you’ve seen them all? You could just cozy up with a nice warming bowl of this lovely soup all topped with those glorious little leeks and enjoy some quality me time. Everyone knows beer has no business being green anyway!

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Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy - but a bit messy what with the frying of the leeks. SO worth it though!
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recipe from: How Sweet Eats

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 12 ounces irish ale or your favorite beer
  • 8 ounces Kerry Gold sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated, plus more for topping
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cream, for drizzling
  • fresh herbs for garnish, like thyme, oregano or basil
  • red pepper flakes for garnish

For the Beer Battered Leeks:

  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 ounces irish ale or your favorite beer
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

Directions:

For the Soup:

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Stir in the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and even begin to caramelize slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the potatoes, stock and ale. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to medium-low and let it simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Carefully pour the contents in a high-powered blender (if needed, you can do it in two batches). Blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot. Or alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and just keep the soup in the pot. Once blended, heat it over low heat, stirring well. Stir in the grated cheese, one handful at a time, until it completely melts. Make sure you add the cheese SLOWLY over low heat, so it melts right into the soup. Taste and season additionally if desired – you may want a little more salt and pepper depending on the saltiness of your cheese!
To serve the soup, drizzle 1 tablespoon of cream over top. Top with a handful of the beer battered leeks, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, some fresh herbs and pepper. Serve immediately.
For the Beer Battered Leeks:
Cover a large plate with a paper towel or two.
Heat about 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat the oil to be about 350° F. In this instance, Use a candy/deep fry thermometer to ensure it reaches and remains at the correct temperature.
Whisk together 1 cup of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth. Place the other cup of flour in a plate. Add the leeks to the beer batter in batches, covering them completely. Remove them from the beer batter and place them in the flour on the plate, tossing to coat. Shake off any excess flour. Add the coated leeks to the oil and fry until the batter is golden brown and flakey. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain and excess grease.
Enjoy!
Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks:
Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. dutch oven
Breville Immersion Blender
Candy/Deep Fry Stainless Steel Thermometer
Stainless Steel Spider Strainer
KerryGold Aged Cheddar Cheese

Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce

March 12, 2019

 

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Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely – especially if it is this dish! Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce is just amazing. Now, I know when you hear bacon, you might be thinking breakfast. But this is a pretty hardy meal and everyone knows, bacon is good anytime – breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper, late night snack…I think you get the picture.

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The bacon I used here is not the streaky bacon you are likely more familiar with. This is Irish Bacon or rashers. It is traditionally cut from the back of the pig rather than the belly, which is from where streaky bacon is cut. It is similar to Canadian Bacon, but I would say has a very different flavor. Irish Bacon, or rashers as they are usually called are cooked until done, but are not until crisp like American bacon. Truth be told, the original recipe for this dish calls for uncured loin of pork. A pork chop essentially, but I happened to have some rashers on hand, so there you have it. If you have pork chops, feel free to sub them in!

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One thing I can tell you is you are absolutely going to love this decadent, silky Colcannon Butter Sauce. I think the Husband wants to put it on everything now. And potato leek cakes are right up our alley as well. Can’t do wrong with fried potatoes, not to mention the leeks. We can’t get enough of them! All in all this meal was truly a winner and would be a perfect alternative to a corned beef & cabbage feast. Or maybe make it the day after St. Patrick’s…who says you can’t have it all!

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Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices Irish Bacon or Rashers
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, green & white parts separated and finely sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 medium egg yolk

For the Colcannon Sauce:

  • 50 grams (1/4 stick) butter
  • 5 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • a small potato, finely diced
  • 4 Tablespoons white wine
  • 200 ml heavy cream

For Garnish: handful of cherry tomatoes (if desired)

Directions:

Make the potato cakes: Fry the dark green part of the leek in a little butter, and mix well with the potato, flour, cream and egg yolk.  Place the potato mixture into the refrigerator to cool. The mixture becomes easier to handle and shape when cool. Once it has chilled, then mould into four to six small round discs. Set aside until ready to serve.

Make the Colcannon Butter Sauce: Melt half the butter in a pan and add the cabbage and potato. Cook slowly for 5 mins, then pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half. Season and remove from the heat. Stir the rest of the butter into the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Cook the Bacon: Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Fry the rashers of bacon until they are golden on each side. Should only take a few minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

Add a bit more butter to the pan. Sweat the remaining white part of the leeks and some tomatoes if you desire. Season to taste. Remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the potato cakes in the remaining butter for 2 minutes on each side.

Enjoy!

Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce:

Donnelly Imported Rashers – This is for an 8 pack of bacon. More than you need for this recipe, but you might be feeding a crowd for all I know…


Nashville “Hot” Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter

March 1, 2019

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Anyone out there heard of Nashville Hot Chicken? If you have, I’ll give you a couple of minutes to finish that happy dance you must be doing at the mention of it right now, for those of you who haven’t … Oh, good Lord child, hold onto your hat! Nashville Hot Chicken is the local specialty of Nashville. You see in Nashville, they don’t just have fried chicken, which is awesome all on its lonesome, I must say. No, they have a very special, spicy hot chicken. Served up atop a piece of white bread and topped with pickles, the chicken there is marinated in a hot, spicy buttermilk brine, dredged in a spicy hot flour dredge, fried and then slathered with a fiery cayenne glaze – and that’s the mild version! Folks in Nashville are not playing! This chicken is a taste sensation that will truly light up all of your senses! The husband and I love us some spicy food, so this is right up our alley.

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As is Nashville. The chicken isn’t the only thing that’s hot there! Obviously if you love country music, you should make a bee line for this destination. But country music isn’t the only thing on the menu – we’ve pretty much come across every genre of music when visiting there. They don’t call it Music City for nothing! Not to mention, if you love food – the dynamic food scene you will find in Nashville is amazing! The signature hot chicken isn’t all there is to be had, so those of you with more tender taste buds do not need to despair.

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The husband and I have visited two times and are always planning for our next trip there. We’ve enjoyed all sorts of music entertainment – from beloved bluegrass at the iconic Station Inn to all that the honky tonks of Broadway have to offer! And food wise – yes we have sampled the Nashville Hot Chicken (more on that to come…) but we’ve also enjoyed inspired mexican dishes at St. Anjeo

IMG_7674and to die for fusion Indian/American southern dishes at the Chauhan Ale & Masala House

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as well as all the barbecue, biscuits,

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rooftop cocktails

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and fine dining you can shake a stick at. Nashville has it all going on ya’ll! And where should one stay while experiencing this bustling town? Well both times we’ve visited, we’ve stayed in a lovely suite at the Thompson Nashville in the Gulch.

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The Gulch is a very trendy, hip neighborhood on the southwest fringe of downtown Nashville. It is only blocks from Music City Central and just steps to the downtown honky tonks. This luxury hotel shares the block with the aforementioned Station Inn and boasts a fantastic rooftop bar & lounge as well as an award winning restaurant. While I’m sure all of their rooms are lovely, the Thompson suite is absolutely decadent. So spacious, boasting floor to ceiling windows, wet bars, clawfoot bathtubs, rain showers and Nashville inspired finishes – such as sliding barn doors and Marshall bluetooth speakers – this room is a destination in itself.

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But let me get back to that Hot Chicken. On our last visit to Nashville, the Husband and I decided to go sample some of the city’s hot chicken. Although the African-American community in the area had been enjoying spicy chicken for generations, Nashville Hot Chicken as it is now known was likely introduced in 1930. Apparently, there was a gentleman who was quite a womanizer. After a late night out, after which he was unable, or unwilling to provide the details of which to his current girlfriend, she saw fit to exact a little revenge on him and fried him up a special batch of chicken on which she quite liberally applied the cayenne. In a twist of fate, the victim here ended up really loving this fiery chicken. The gentleman for whom this revenge chicken was prepared was from the family of Andre Prince Jeffries – the proprietor of Prince’s Hot Chicken Shacks, one of the better known hot chicken places in Nashville. They’ve been serving up this signature dish since the 1930s. Currently there are over two dozen establishments in Nashville serving up their own versions of Hot Chicken. The husband and I chose to check out Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken.

IMG_7654Hattie B’s is a no frills kind of place, we dined on a wooden picnic table on a screened in porch, but that doesn’t seem to stop folks from lining up around the block to get ahold of some of their molten gold. We stood in line for about 30 minutes on the day we visited, but it was so worth it!IMG_7655They offer several spice levels for their chicken – southern, mild, medium, hot, damn hot and shut the cluck up! So, as I’ve mentioned, we like spicy and consider ourselves somewhat spice experienced. Spice aficionados. So I decided to go for the hot chicken. The husband he went for damn hot. And we couldn’t resist ordering one chicken tender that was designated at the “shut the cluck up” level.

IMG_7656Well, all I can say is by Nashville Hot Chicken standards, we are pretty much novices. I could eat my “hot” chicken – but it took quite a good portion of that pitcher of beer we ordered to get it down. I’m telling you this was a brow mopping, slightly sweating experience. There was absolutely no way I was going to even attempt one small taste of the “shut the cluck up’ tender that had been sitting there mocking us as we persevered through our chicken choices. But the Husband, although his mouth was already on fire, was not one to back down to a challenge. So, God help him, he took a bite!

Yup…..just as I suspected. It was pretty much life changing! There are ghost peppers rumored to be in play here. What it taught us is respect. We respect Nashville Hot Chicken now. Oh we still order it, but are always careful to get a more descriptive explanation of the spice level involved, using Hattie B’s as a baseline. That chicken hurts so good, but is not for the faint of heart!

But back to this recipe I’m sharing with you today. Do not be scared. Although I am calling this Nashville Hot Chicken, it is very very mild to what I just described.

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And if you really don’t like a lot of spice, don’t bother with the spicy glaze. What you must do is the brine. This chicken is so moist, tender and flavorful, which I think is mostly due to that brine. You don’t want to miss out on that. And just know going into this that chickens now a days are so bred to be so huge, more like turkeys really, it is unlikely you will be able to get the larger pieces like the breast and thighs done when deep-frying. You should plan to finish the chicken in the oven.

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And although it is traditional to serve Nashville Hot Chicken with a piece of white bread and pickles, I served mine up with some soft, tender buttermilk biscuits which we slathered with honey butter.

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Quite the treat I must say.  The chicken is delicious, but these biscuits are pretty amazing all on their own. Soft and airy, but with a bit of a crispy crust on the outside. Sturdy enough to hold up as a sandwich. And out of this world simply smeared with honey butter!

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So if you are ready for a taste adventure, book that trip to Nashville and give Prince’s or Hattie B’s a whirl. For an introduction to the cuisine, or to start your taste bud training, whip up this recipe!

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Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy - but does involve deep-frying & all the mess that goes along with it...
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recipe from: Chef Marion Anderson with Sur La Table Cooking Classes

Ingredients:

Nashville Spice Mix:

  • 2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons paprika
  • 4 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinade:

  • 1 (3 – 4 pound) whole chicken cut into 10 serving pieces
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Frank’s
  • 1/4 cup Nashville spice-mix

For the Seasoned Flour Dredge:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Nashville Spice Mix

For the dip:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Nashville Spice Mix
  • 1 cup reserved oil from frying
  • sea salt for seasoning

Directions:

Whisk all of the ingredients for the Nashville Spice Mix together until combined and set aside.

Place the chicken in a large dish. Combine 4 cups of the buttermilk, hot sauce and the Nashville Spice Mix. Mix thoroughly and then pour over the chicken. Cover and allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 – 8 hours. I prefer a longer marinade and just let the chicken marinate overnight.

About 30 minutes before you are ready to fry the chicken, remove it from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Then leave it to rest on a wire rack which has been placed over a baking sheet. Allow the chicken to drain and come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven the 350° F. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and spice mix and set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, egg, baking power and baking soda for the dip.

Place a large, heavy Dutch oven on the stove. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the side and fill with about 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F.

Pick up a piece of the chicken, dredge it in the seasoned flour. Shake any excess flour from the chicken and then dip it into the egg mixture. Give it a shake and then dip it once more into the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess again.

Slide the coated chicken, skin side down into the hot oil. Once all of the chicken you are cooking in that batch has been added to the pan, adjust the flame as necessary. Cook for about  8-10 minutes and then check the chicken. It should be golden brown. Remove the chicken from the oil to baking tray lined with paper towels. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. It should register 165°F, if it has not reached this level, but is a perfect shade of golden brown, place the chicken into the preheated oven to finish cooking. Continue frying the chicken, remembering to allow the oil to return to 350°F between batches.

Once all of the chicken is cooked, move it from the paper towels to a wire cooling rack which has been set over a rimmed baking sheet. Add some of the hot cooking oil to the remaining Nashville Spice Mix and whisk until a paste forms. You want the paste to be thin enough to brush over the chicken as a glaze, so add as much oil as you need to achieve this consistency. Generously glaze the chicken and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Serve over a piece of white bread, along with some pickle chips if you want to be truly authentic. Or serve with some lovely Buttermilk Biscuits which have been slathered with Honey Butter, as I did. (Biscuit recipe noted below.)

Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter

servings: 8 – 16 biscuits depending on how you cut them!

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:

  • 2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) frozen unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten

For the Honey Butter:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Grate the frozen butter over the flour mixture and toss until all the butter is coated. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Using a fork, mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just one or two times. The less touching the better. Pat the dough out to a 1″ thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits out, taking care not to twist the cutter. Just push straight down and pull straight up, otherwise your biscuits will not rise as high as you might hope.

Place the biscuits on the prepared tray and brush with the beaten egg. Bake until golden-brown, about 12 -14 minutes.

Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened butter, honey and salt. Mix until the butter is light and fluffy. Serve with warm biscuits and spicy chicken.

Enjoy!

Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter:

Le Creuset Signature 5 1/2 quart Round Dutch Oven

Instant Read Deep Fry Thermometer

Solid Stainless Steel Spider Skimmer Ladle

Stainless Steel Cooling Rack

Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Rimmed Sheet

Silicone basting brush set

Mason Cash Into the Forest mixing bowl

Stainless Steel Box Grater

Stainless Steel Biscuit Cutters

Links for Planning your vacation in Nashville:

Accommodation:

Thompson Nashville – This boutique hotel is located in the hip and trendy Gulch neighborhood of downtown Nashville, just a few minutes walk from  It boasts a rooftop lounge, a cozy cafe and contemporary seafood restaurant. The cozy rooms feature floor to ceiling windows, sliding barn doors and premium linens.

Restaurants/Bars:

St. Añejo

Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Whiskey Kitchen

Hattie B’s -Get your Nashville Hot Chicken here! Go ahead…try the Shut the Cluck Up level…I dare you!

Biscuit Love

L.A. Jackson – Rooftop Bar at the Thompson Nashville hotel featuring sweeping views of downtown Nashville, creative cocktails and delicious small plates.

Acme Feed & Seed 

Shopping:

Vincent Peach – Gorgeous jewelry featuring tahitian pearls, tusks, leather, vintage coins, fossils and pave diamonds as far as the eye can see. Worn by the likes of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Stephen Tyler.

Carter Vintage Guitars – Very friendly guitar store chock full of quality vintage instruments and accessories as well as a laid back and knowledgeable staff.

 

 

 


Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd’s Pie

March 16, 2018

 

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Ahhh…Shepherd’s Pie. Comfort food at its finest. There are many many versions of this dish. Today I am bringing you one from Chef Cathal Armstrong’s cookbook My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve. Chef Armstrong, originally from Dublin Ireland, has a culinary empire here in Northern Virginia  which includes Restaurant Eve, the Majestic Cafe, two branches of Eamonn’s – A Dublin Chipper, PX cocktail lounge and Society Fair a gourmet emporium and wine bar. He is an internationally recognized four-star chef and leader in the sustainable food movement which he attributes firmly to his Irish upbringing. Chef Armstrong has brought forth this cookbook which contains a collection of family recipes and Irish inspired dishes from Restaurant Eve.

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He makes his version of Shepherd’s Pie with a rich stew of diced lamb shoulder and fresh vegetables. It also has double potatoes – Potatoes in the stew and creamy mashed potatoes topping it. That is my kind of dish! I’m one of those folks that seriously considers ordering a baked potato and french fries for my two sides in a restaurant when given a choice. So of course I love the abundance of spuds in this Shepherd’s Pie.

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Interestingly, there is some controversy as to where this dish originated. Chef Armstrong says that it is an interpretation of a French dish called hachis parmentier. Others have claimed it has an English pedigree. No matter where it started, I think you can most assuredly find a version of this casserole in any Irish Pub you might visit. One of the great things about Shepherd’s Pie is that you can make it in stages. The stew part can be made 2 days prior to when you would like to serve it. Then on the day of your dinner all you need to do is make up the mashed potatoes, pipe them over the pie and then bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

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Way back when, the first year that I actually posted St. Patrick’s Day recipes on this blog, I shared Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie, which is a very different dish, so I don’t feel guilty at all blogging about it again. The more the merrier I say. Chef Ramsay uses minced lamb rather than diced lamb shoulder and he advocates grating the carrots and onions rather than chopping them. And his version isn’t really a stew.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie

Which one do I like better? Difficult to say as they are so different from one another. The Husband has weighed in and picked Chef Armstrong’s version as the victor. Me…I’m not so sure. Again, they are very different. I can say without hesitation, that I would be quite happy presented with either one at a St. Patrick’s Day feast. If you’re expecting a crowd for your festivities this year, perhaps you could make both versions and hold a little competition of your own. I’m sure your guests would be thrilled!

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Chef Cathal Armstrong's Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

Ingredients:

For the Stew:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lamb shoulder, trimmed of all fat and sinew, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups lamb stock or store-bought beef broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Brown the lamb: Pat the lamb cubes dry on all sides with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. In a large slope-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Distribute the meat evenly in the bottom of the pan without crowding it and don’t disturb it for several minutes. If you stir the cubes too soon, they will release water and the meat will boil instead of browning. After 3 or 4 minutes, turn the cubes over and brown them on the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and return the pan to the heat.

Sweat the vegetables: Add the onion, carrots and celery, stirring with a flat-edged wooden spatula. As the vegetables cook, water will release and deglaze the pan. Use the spatula to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Sweat the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes. They should be translucent but still bit firm.

Cook the stew: Stir in the flour and allow it to brown lightly for about 2 minutes. Add the lamb stock, continuing to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Return the meat and its collected juices to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the stew to an 8 – cup baking dish. ( 9 x 9 or 11×7 would work well).

Boil the Potatoes for mashing: Place the quartered potatoes and salt in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and allow the potatoes to simmer uncovered until cooked through, about 40 minutes. To tell if they are cooked, take a piece out and cut it in half to see if it’s soft in the center.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 450°F.

Mash the potatoes: Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and stir them over the heat for a coupled of minutes. This ensures that they are dry. Rice the potatoes into a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks, butter and cream, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Work quickly while the potatoes are hot so they don’t become gummy and starchy. Adjust the salt seasoning to taste and allow the potatoes to cool.

Top the pie: First a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Spoon the mashed potatoes into the bag. Moving in one direction, pipe large rosettes of potatoes over the lamb mixture, in neat rows or around the perimeter of baking dish. Go over your work and pipe rosettes wherever you see any holes-you want to create a good seal. Alternatively, you can dollop the potatoes over the stew and spread them with a spatula to seal it.

Bake the Pie: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the pie on it and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned and filling is bubbling. Let the casserole rest for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd Pie is brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cathal Armstrong’s Shepherd Pie:

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong, David Hagedorn

Scanpan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid – I absolutely love this pan! Cooked the stew in it with no problem.

Le Creuset Stoneware 10.5 x 7″ Baking Dish

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer

 

 


Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

March 16, 2017

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You ever have those “oh my god, worlds are colliding” moments? I definitely experienced one when I saw a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie. I think I literally said “shut up”, in my outside voice and everything!

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I mean I love Yorkshire Pudding and I love Shepherd’s Pie but the thought of putting them together has somehow eluded me. Well I couldn’t wait to give it whirl and boy oh boy was I glad I did. It certainly did not disappoint.

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I was inspired by the folks at Cooks with Cocktails, but being very set in my ways, I already had strong opinions about making both the pudding as well as the Shepherd’s Pie. So I did take their concept and then applied it to my own time tested recipes. My Shepherd’s Pie is an adaptation of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s version. (Please don’t tell him I changed one of his recipes – I must admit I am a bit scared of the Chef…). And I don’t remember where I originally found this Yorkshire Pudding recipe. The marriage of the two was just amazing.

IMG_6119 Let me tell you I was over the moon with this dish. Not only did I get to experience the golden puffed goodness of the Yorkshire Puddings but I also got to savor that rich Guinness spiked Shepherds Pie topped high with lashings of creamy mashed potatoes and gooey melted Irish Cheddar. Comfort food at its finest!

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With out a doubt, this is the dish to serve at your St. Patrick’s Day dinner. And it is so easy because everything can be prepped ahead of time, which gets you out of the kitchen and on to celebrating! You can make the Shepherd’s Pie filling and mashed potatoes earlier in the day or even the day before. The Yorkshire Pudding batter should be made and refrigerated for at least and hour before cooking, but can be made up to 24 hours ahead. After your guests have arrived, preheat the greased yorkshire pudding tins, make the puddings, stuff them with the pre-made Guinness filling and top them with the potato and cheddar. Then just pop them back into the oven until the filling is bubbling and the cheese has melted and there you have it. Dinner is served. Folks will surely swoon!

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Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe inspired by: Cooks with Cocktails

Ingredients: 

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 -4 large potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 -4 Tablespoons cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Shepherd’s Pie Filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pound (500g) minced lean lamb-or ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely grated
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig of Rosemary, needles chopped
  • 1 small can of le sueur very young small early peas
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon (250ml) Guinness
  • 1 1/4 Cup (300ml) chicken stock

For the Yorkshire Puddings:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour

Grated Irish Cheddar & chives for sprinkling over top

Directions:

Make the mashed potatoes. Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot of water salted with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes. Put the cooked potatoes through a ricer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the butter milk and salt & pepper to taste. Mix until light and creamy.

Next make the Shepherd’s Pie Filling. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Season the meat and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. If the meat has released a lot of grease, drain off at this point. Return pan to heat. Stir the onions and carrot into the meat and then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, herbs and peas. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Pour in the Guinness and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now make the Yorkshire Puddings. Heat the oven to 425°F. Place one teaspoon of oil ( I used bacon grease, but a vegetable oil is fine) in each of the wells of a yorkshire pudding or popover pan. Place the baking tin into the oven once it reaches temperature. In a blender combine the eggs, milk, salt and flour. Blend well. Once the oil in the baking tin is very hot, pour the Yorkshire Pudding batter into each well, filling it 1/2 way full. Place the baking tin back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. I know you are going to want to open that oven door to check on the process of the puddings, but DON’T! You absolutely can not open that oven door until 20 minutes have passed! I’m serious!!! Check after 20 minutes, the puddings should be puffed up and brown. Let go for 5 more minutes if you would like it to be set a bit firmer. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Assemble the puddings. Slice into the Yorkshire Puddings along the length, taking care not to cut all the way through. Place Puddings into oven proof dishes. Stuff with Shepherd’s Pie Filling and top with a good hearty dollop of mashed potatoes. I used a pastry bag to pipe the potatoes on because I was being fancy, but that is not necessary. Sprinkle each pudding with a handful of shredded Irish Cheddar Cheese. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted and the filling is bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh cut chives. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer

Scanpan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid

Nordic Ware Grand Popover Pan – what I use for my Yorkshire Puddings

Oval Au Gratin Baking Dishes

 


Drunken Pig in an Orchard

March 14, 2017

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Drunken Pig in an Orchard! Yes!!! What a great recipe title! Now it may surprise you that this does not actually refer to a drunken local lad, who after having one too many pints celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, stumbles into your orchard and can’t seem to find his way out… No, what I’m actually talking about here are cider cooked pork chops nestled into a savory sweet bed of apples and sauerkraut and covered in creamy Irish cheddar and nutty breadcrumbs. A dish which certainly evokes thoughts of Autumn, bonfires and the yearly apple harvest, but it also well suited for your St. Patrick’s Day feasting.

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All of the ingredients used in this dish are abundant in Ireland and have been part of the cuisine there for thousands of years. Indeed there is archaeological evidence which indicates that apples have been grown there for over 5000 years and cider making stretches back at least 2000 years if not more. We also know that wild boar was being consumed in Ireland as far back as 7000 BC. Now I will admit, I don’t know how Irish sauerkraut is. Certainly cabbage abounds there, so it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine it bunch of it getting pickled, or rather fermented – you know…kind of like those drunken St. Patrick’s Day revelers wandering about your orchard! Any hoo…sauerkraut is good for you, full of antioxidants and probiotics, not to mention vitamins B,C and K. So eat up!

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This wonderful sweet/sour/savory dish comes from my friend Theresa’s debut cookbook: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa’s company, The Green Apron, is an award winning artisan preserve company which she runs from her family’s orchards at Derryclough located near Ballingarry, County Limerick in Ireland.

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This year, I’ve been delighted to share her recipes for Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts, Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktails, Batley Cake and now her Drunken Pig in an Orchard. All of these gems, plus so many more can be found in Fruit on the Table. Certainly you must be convinced of how much you absolutely NEED a copy of her cookbook by now. T’would be an awesome St. Patrick’s Day gift for your favorite cook…just saying. And remember if you find yourself anywhere near Limerick Ireland on a Saturday, make sure you stop into the Milk Market and visit The Green Apron shop which is always chock full of Theresa’s award winning jams and preserves.

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That being said, I’ve gotta go now and shoo those tipsy hooligans out of the orchard!

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Drunken Pig in an Orchard

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen” by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cooking apples ( peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons slight melted apple jelly or honey
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 oz.) walnuts (chopped and toasted)
  • 200 grams (7 oz) Irish cheddar (grated)
  • 110 grams ( 4 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 900 ml (30 fl. oz) sauerkraut
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 – 6 pork chops
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) cider
  • 1 Tablespoon wholegrain mustard or sweet yellow mustard

Directions:

Butter a large casserole dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5)

Put the apples, spices, salt, flour and jelly (or honey) in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the walnuts, half of the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs together. Set aside.

Drain the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse it in water to ensure that all the vinegary liquid is gone. Set this aside too.

In a large frying pan, cook the chopped onions in the butter over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.

Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are starting to brown.

Now add the cider and the mustard and cook until the chops are cooked through, which should take about another 5 minutes.

Add the sauerkraut to the frying pan and mix everything together, making sure the chops don’t fall apart.

Cook the whole lot until the cider has all reduced down and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Put half the apple mixture on the bottom of the casserole. Cover this with the pork chops and half the sauerkraut. Sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the rest of the apples on the cheese, then the rest of the sauerkraut, then top with the nutty breadcrumb mixture.

Bake covered (I use tinfoil) for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Drunken Pig in an Orchard brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools and Ingredients for Drunken Pig in an Orchard:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Casserole 9X12″

ScanPan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid


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