Cooking, Traditions

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter

Growing up, we had a little book of Irish toasts and poems sitting in our living room.  My maternal grandmother, seeing that the strength of the Irish was growing too strong, came over one day very briefly and went into the living room.  When she left, we found an Italian book sitting next to the Irish one so her grandchildren wouldn’t forget their mother’s roots.  It is with great irony and a big smile that I remember one of the Irish poems, which I read so many times that I have now have memorized it:

Soaking raisins in Whiskey for Irish Soda Bread    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Soaking raisins in Whiskey for Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick was a gentleman
Who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland
Here’s a toasting to his health
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself
And forget good St. Patrick
and see all those snakes again.

Assembling Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Assembling Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread

Every year, my mother & father would host a party for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate my father’s ancestors (and because it was a really good excuse to have a party). The party was complete with brisket, potatoes, cabbage and Irish Soda bread + spirits and beer galore. Over the years, I have tried making many different Irish Soda bread recipes because I can’t stand the imposter store-bought kind. This recipe hails from Rose Mary Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible and is the best recipe I have found so far. I hope your family likes it as much as mine!

Incorporating the butter into flour for Irish Soda Bread       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Incorporating the butter into flour for Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread dough after mixing flour and butter with fingertips      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread dough after mixing flour and butter with fingertips

Oh, and if you’re not a beer drinker, make sure you try a Whiskey, Ginger Ale and Lime this St. Patrick’s Day.  It will clear out your sinuses.

Irish Soda Bread

Original recipe from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1 cup raisins
1/2 c Irish whiskey (i.e. Jameson)
4 T unsalted Kerrygold butter (or regular), cold
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c + 1 T buttermilk

1 T Demerara sugar (Optional)

1. Soak the raisins in the whiskey for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the whiskey for the whiskey butter.
2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut butter into 8 slices. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, incorporate the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins with a silicone spatula/wooden spoon. Slowly, stir in the buttermilk until just incorporated. Be careful and don’t over mix. Empty dough out onto counter and knead, roughly 8 times, using a bench scraper to bring it together. Try not to use flour unless you have to. (Yes, your hands will be covered in the sticky dough. Big deal).
4. Shape dough into a round loaf, roughly 6″ diameter. Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and make a 1/2″ slash from one side of dough to another, then a second to form a cross.  Optional:sprinkle with demerara sugar
5. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool bread on a wire rack. Optional:Wrap in a clean cotton/linnen dish towel and cool on wire wrack

Irish Soda Bread Dough    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread Dough

Irish Soda Bread Dough before Baking     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread Dough before Baking

Ingredients for Irish Whiskey Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Ingredients for Irish Whiskey Butter

Irish Whiskey Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Whiskey Butter

Irish Whiskey Butter
3 T reserved Irish whiskey from raisins
1 T Demerara or regular sugar
9 T unsalted Kerrygold butter, softened

Stir together whiskey and sugar in a microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve most of the sugar. (It’s ok if the sugar does not completely dissolve.) Cover and allow to cool. Stir the softened butter until smooth. Then, slowly stir the whiskey into the butter until incorporated. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Enjoy!

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Cooking

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Breaded Chicken

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

It was after 6:00 pm.  The hunger hour had struck! I had planned to make parmesan-panko crusted chicken breasts and salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  No panko.  Salad greens sat in the fridge too long.  Time for plan B.  What’s on hand?  Leftover cornbread (my favorite) from Boston Market, a hunk of Kerrygold Irish Cheddar and fresh thyme.  Inspiration strikes.

I rip the cornbread into small pieces and cut the cheddar cheese into small chunks.  I grate them, separately, in my small food processor.  I mix them together with some fresh thyme leaves.  Now I have a breading for my chicken!

I served this with what I had on hand – Israeli couscous and cauliflower, but I know you can give the meal more color than that!

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Breaded Chicken Tenders

2 chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness, cut into 2-3″ x 2″ pieces
1 c. cornbread, ground into fine crumbs with a food processor
3/4 c. Kerrygold Irish Cheddar Cheese, grated or pulsed into small crumbs in a food processor
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
3/4 c. flour (I used white whole wheat)
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 eggs
1 T. water

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place a wire rack in a baking sheet..  Spray rack with cooking spray.

Combine Cornbread Crumbs, Grated Cheddar and thyme in a low dish or pie plate.  Combine cornstarch and flour in a second low dish or pie plate.  Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, checking for & removing any shell pieces.  Whisk together with water in a low bowl or pie plate.  You now have 3 dishes ready to bread the chicken.

First, dredge chicken in flour.  Then, using tongs, cover chicken pieces in egg wash.  Transfer to cornbread mix and turn to coat, using your hands to push the ‘crumbs’ into a pile and up and over chicken.  Transfer to wire rack on baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Flip over to other side and bake another 5-8 minutes.

*Note: I did not serve these with any type of dipping sauce – they truly don’t need it.  BUT if you happen to have some honey mustard dip handy, it would go really well with these puppies.

Yum!

Breading the Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

Breading the Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken before going in the oven

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken before going in the oven

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken right out of the oven

Cornbread, Thyme and Irish Cheddar Chicken right out of the oven

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