Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread, full of fruit and flavor. —Patty Gay photo

Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread, full of fruit and flavor. —Patty Gay photo

Recipes from Stir Crazy’s St. Patrick’s Day show, March 12 at noon on HANradio.com

Traditional Irish Soda Bread only has four ingredients: flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. No raisins, no butter, nada. The resulting bread gets hard and dry quickly — deliberately so, that’s what makes it Irish, an Irish friend told me. I wanted a more moist and tasty loaf, and developed the following recipe, adapted from The Farm Journal. It makes a large, moist delicious loaf, studded with golden raisins, currants and dried cranberries.

Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread
4 c sifted all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs caraway seeds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried currants
1 1/3 cups buttermilk (plus more if needed)
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg yolk, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan lightly with no-stick spray, set aside (Can also use a round casserole baking dish with high sides).
2. Place sifted flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into mixing bowl and stir. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal; stir in raisins, dried cranberries, currants, and caraway seeds.
3. Combine buttermilk, 1 egg, and baking soda well with a fork; stir into flour mixture just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Dough should be sticky, if it is too dry add some more buttermilk.
4. Turn onto floured board and knead lightly (just about eight turns) until dough is smooth. Shape into a circle and pat gently into the pan, out to the edges. With a sharp knife, cut a 4 cross about 1/2 inch deep in center of dough. Brush top lightly with egg yolk.
5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.
6. Cool bread in pan on rack for 10 minutes; remove. Cool on wire rack before slicing. Enjoy with some nice Irish butter. Also great toasted the next day.

Guinness beer can make beef stew bitter unless the alcohol is cooked out. To prevent that, I cook the beer down a bit in advance. The traditional Irish recipe for this stew calls for a cup of chopped pitted prunes, The prunes also alleviate the bitterness.  I omitted them from my recipe, but add some if you like.

Guinness Beef Stew
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
2 pounds beef chuck steak, boneless and well- trimmed, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped potatoes
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beef stock/broth
1 cup water (or enough to cover meat and vegetables for stew)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped potatoes
1 cup peeled and chopped parsnips
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place Guinness in a small saucepan and simmer heat over medium heat about five minutes to burn off some of the alcohol.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, salt and pepper beef, add to pan and brown well over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to brown all sides.
4. Add the onion and continue to cook until onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
5. Pour meat and onion mixture into a dutch oven/baking pot. Place on burner over medium high heat. Add the Guinness and the beef stock, then add the carrots, potatoes, parsnips, celery, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf, large pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add enough water to cover the meat and vegetables, bring to a boil. This mixture needs to get very hot before it is placed in the oven, otherwise the vegetables won’t cook properly.
6. Cover the dutch oven/baking pot and bake in 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Check seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot in bowls.

A traditional Irish side dish made with potatoes, kale or cabbage, Colcannon is traditionally eaten in Ireland at Halloween. But it’s just terrific with corned beef and cabbage or Guinness Stew on St. Patrick’s Day.

Colcannon
From Windsor Eats
5 large Russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup milk
2 cups kale, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
5 pats of butter

1. Cut the potatoes into small chunks. Rinse them a couple times in water to remove surface starch. This keeps them from getting gummy.
2. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender.
3. While the potatoes are boiling, melt a pat of butter in a skillet or frying pan. Add the kale and green onions and stir and cook until they are cooked.
4. In a small pan heat the milk until just hot.
5. Once the potatoes have cooked, drain them and place back into the pot. Add two to three pats of butter and the heated milk. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes with the butter and milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add the kale and green onions and stir them into the potatoes. Transfer to a serving dish and top with final pat of butter.

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread made with Guinness beer is an absolute favorite. Packed with flavor, it’s not overly sweet and gets an extra punch of ginger flavor from fresh-grated ginger root. It keeps well and is even better a couple days after it’s baked.

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread. Patty Gay photo

Rich and spicy Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread. —Patty Gay photo

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread
by Claudia Fleming
1 cup Guinness extra stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger root

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13x9x2 baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper, lightly spray paper.
2. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Take pan off burner and allow to sit until the foam dissipates.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil.
4. In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom (optional).
5. Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.
6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares, then cut each square diagonally for a nice presentation.

While beer is by far the popular beverage of choice on St. Patrick’s Day, nothing finishes a nice meal like tradional Irish Coffee, or perhaps a lovely Irish cocktail?

Irish Coffee
4 ounces freshly brewed coffee
1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Dollop of freshly whipped cream

Combine the coffee, whiskey and sugar in a hot Irish coffee mug. Float the whipped cream on top.

Emerald Cocktail
from David Wondrich, Esquire magazine
2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 ounce dry Italian vermouth
1 dash orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Esky’s Hot Spot
from David Wondrich, Esquire magazine
2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 sugar cube
lemon peel
4 ounces water

Combine the whiskey, sugar cube and lemon peel in a stout mug, then add boiling water and stir.