Essential Irish Christmas recipes
Christmas is a time of celebration. Family and friends come together to celebrate the festive season full of good food and good drink. People can get stumped around this time of year as to what are the best dishes to cook around the Christmas period. Here is a selection of simply delicious recipe ideas that are simple to do and that won’t skimp on taste.
Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Courgette Soup
To make this tasty dish you will need the following…
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 streaky rashers (traditional Irish bacon), diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium zucchini, sliced, and a few slices reserved for garnish
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups homemade chicken stock, canned low-sodium chicken broth, or 4 chicken bouillon cubes mixed with 4 cups boiling water
4 ounces blue cheese, such as Cashel Blue, crumbled
2/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
How to cook
Firstly, you will need a stockpot or large saucepan placed over medium heat to warm up the oil. When you have done that add the bacon and cook it for around 2 to 3 minutes until it is just about crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove a few pieces and keep for garnish. Stir in the onion, zucchini, and potatoes. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion and zucchini are softened. Then you simply stir in the stock or broth and bring it to the boil. Turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Then allow the soup to cool for 10 minutes.
When the soup has cooled down, place it into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the cheese and then season the soup with pepper. Warm the soup over a low heat until it is heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved bacon, zucchini slices, and the parsley. This dish will serve 4 to 6 people.
Brown Bread & Irish Whiskey Ice Cream
175 g/6 oz day old brown bread crumbs (not soda or wheaten)
125 g/4 oz (brown) sugar
65 g/2.5 oz caster sugar (superfine sugar)
75 ml/3 fl oz Irish whiskey
450 ml/3/4 pint double cream
Fresh mint leaves to decorate
How to cook
Preheat oven to 240 C/475 F
Prep time: 30 mins. Cooking time: 10 mins.
Firstly, combine the bread crumbs and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Then spread the mixture into a large baking tray and bake in preheated oven until the sugar has caramelised. This process will take around 10 minutes. Then allow the mixture to cool completely.
After you have done that whisk your eggs and caster sugar together until it becomes very thick. Fold the caramelised bread crumbs into the eggs and then add the whiskey and double cream, whisking until it holds its shape. Pour into a rigid container (stainless steel works well) and freeze overnight.
When making this dessert it should be remembered that Irish wheaten or soda bread is not ideal to use when you are making this kind of ice cream. The reason for this is that these ingredients can make it rather heavy and unappetising.Instead you should use brown wholemeal or granary bread for this dish. Freeze the ice cream in the freezer over night.
The Christmas goose can be a daunting bird to tackle but when done correctly it is simply delicious. The first thing to do when preparing the goose is to wash and dry it and cut away any excess fat around the neck of the bird. Then pierce the skin all over and rub it with lemon and seasoning. Season the main part of the bird thoroughly with salt and freshly ground pepper and fill it with cooled stuffing.
Place the goose in a roasting tin and roast in a hot oven 240C, 475F, gas 9, for ten minutes. Then you should reduce the heat of the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4 and cook for 2-2 ½ hours and remember to remove the bird from the oven three of four times to pour off any excess fat that builds up during cooking. The reason for this is that if you don’t do this your goose will taste very greasy. To test whether cooked simply slice the bird at the thickest part. When the juices run clear, you’re delicious Christmas goose is ready to be served up to your guests.
Apple & potato stuffing to accompany your Christmas goose:
For this apple and potato stuffing that will compliment your goose you will need the following…
2lb (900g) potatoes
1lb (450g) cooking apples, peeled and chopped
1lb (450g) roughly chopped onions
2oz (55g) butter
1tbs chopped parsley
1tbs chopped lemon balm
salt and pepper.
How to cook
The first thing to do is boil the potatoes in salted water. When they have been fully cooked, mash them without using milk or butter. Melt butter into a pan and, over a low heat, fry the onions for five minutes. You can then proceed to add the apples and cook until they are sufficiently soft. Then simply stir in the mashed potatoes, parsley and the lemon balm. You should allow the stuffing an hour or two to cool down before you stuff your Christmas goose.
Spiced Beef is traditionally served on St Stephen’s Day. It is a popular dish in the South of Ireland and it is a perfect way to recover from all of the turkey and ham that you will have eaten on Christmas day. This dish requires two weeks of preparation to get right so it is advisable to start your preparation in plenty of time.
To cook spiced beef you will need the following ingredients…
6lb (2.7kg) middle rib of beef, boned and rolled
1lb (450g) salt
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 turnip, roughly chopped
1 onion cut into rings pieces
1 onion, finely minced
4 oz (110g) moist brown sugar
6 tsp mixed spice
0.5oz (13g) saltpetre
1 bay leaf
Allspice, black pepper, cloves, mace, mixed herbs, nutmeg, thyme
fresh finely chopped parsley.
How to Cook
To boil the beef, make a bed of carrots, turnips and chopped onions at the bottom of a large pan. Place the beef on top, add the bay leaf, and cover with cold water. Boil the beef for 30 minutes per 1lb/450g, plus an extra 30 minutes. Remove from pot and place between two plates. Put a heavy object on top of the plate and leave for 12-15 hours and then tie the beef with string.
Mix the herbs and spices with salt, sugar and minced onion. Cover the meat in this mixture, rubbing it in well for several minutes. Place into an earthenware crock and cover. Turn the meat once a day, for two weeks rubbing in your spice mixture every time you do so.