Ireland – the Motherland, known for her meat and potato diet, Guinness beer and whiskey.
A couple years ago while in an ag econ class at Kansas State University, I had the opportunity to befriend Ivan Kiersey, an exchange student from the University College of Dublin.
After returning to Ireland and graduating from UCD, Ivan has returned to his family’s seventh generation farming operation to work alongside his father, John, and mum, Grace. He also has a sister and two brothers who help out on weekends when they are able.
“We’re a mixed dairy and beef farm based in County Waterford in the south of Ireland,” says Ivan. “We milk about 200 cows and finish about 120 bullocks every year.”
In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here are a couple of Grace’s favorite traditional Irish recipes.
Beef and Guinness stew
“Guinness is almost a national institution in Ireland: wholesome, healthy and rich. This strew is an Irish take on a traditional beef stew. Perfect for large numbers, it is best partnered with some creamy mashed potatoes or celeriac mash.”
3 lbs. beef brisket, cut into 2 in. cubs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 heaped teaspoon of plain flour
1 pint of Guinness
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
In a large flameproof casserole, brown the meat in the oil in batches, transferring to a plate as it is done. Add the onions to the casserole and sauté for 10 minutes, until they are just coloured. Lower the heat and return the meat to the casserole. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes, then stir in the Guinness along with the carrots, thyme, bay leaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to simmering point. Cover the casserole and transfer to an over preheated to 275 F. Cook for 1 ½ hours, until the meat is very tender.
Corned beef and cabbage
Probably one of the most famous of all Irish beef dishes, corned beef and cabbage is still a great favourite in the winter months. This is Mrs. Sarah Kenny’s recipe.
4 ½ pounds of corned beef, soaked overnight
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of parsley
2 large onions, 1 stuck with cloves
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large cabbage, quartered
Put the meat into a large saucepan with the mustard powder and pepper and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and remove any scum. Add all the other ingredients except the cabbage and bring back to the boil, then simmer for 50 minutes. Add the cabbage quarters, bring to the boil again, then simmer for another half hour. Serve with cabbage arranged around the meat. Serves 8.
According to Ivan, Ireland beef operations are primarily grass-fed, which he says is his personal preference in flavor. His family utilizes Hereford and Angus genetics, housing cattle for 2-3 months and then finishing them on grass.
As far as following the recipes, Grace says she’s found these to be the best and doesn’t deviate. The only tip she has it to use beef that has been aged for at least three weeks to a more desirable flavor and texture.
If you should find yourself testing one of Grace’s recipes, let us know how it turns out. So, to all my fellow Irish dissidents, happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Now go enjoy a Guinness.