Have an Irish Brunch this St. Patty’s Day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 16, 2013

Since St. Patrick’s Day is on Sunday this year, Martha Stewart inspired me to think about an Irish brunch. You can make the soda bread ahead, saving time, and can prepare the ingredients for the egg bake and just cook it for a few minutes in the oven. A salad could also be served and some sausages or bacon. I tried the egg bake last evening and it was excellent.

Speaking of all things Irish, I have been using Kerrygold butter from Ireland. It is the only butter I can find using grass-fed cows. You can find it on sale at Whole Foods many times during the year. I also bought some Kerrygold cheese, again made from grass-fed cows. If we are going to eat butter and cheese, and who doesn’t love it, why not try and eat the healthier version from grass-fed cows?

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day brunch!


From ‘Martha Stewart Living’ March 2012.

Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to work surface, hands, and skewer

1 1/2 cups rye flour

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups well-shaken low-fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Gather mixture in a mound; create a deep well in the center. Pour buttermilk into well. Gradually stir flour mixture into buttermilk with a wooden spoon, starting in center and working outward, until a dough forms.

Transfer dough to a lightly-floured work surface and, with lightly floured hands, form a cohesive ball. (Do not overwork dough.) Pat ball into a 7-inch-wide domed round and transfer to a baking sheet. Across top of round, cut a 1-inch-deep X with a floured knife. Poke holes at 1-inch intervals to bottom of dough (about 28 holes total) with floured wooden skewer.

Bake bread 30 minutes. Turn bread upside down; continue baking until cooked through and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 10 minutes more. Transfer loaf to a wire rack and let cool completely, about two hours, before slicing and serving. Bread can be made two days ahead and stored, whole, at room temperature, in a paper bag or wrapped in parchment.


Potato and Leek Egg Bake

Serves 6

1 pound small round potatoes (Martha added a little color with a few purple potatoes; I thought about using some sweet potatoes; neither are Irish green so I did neither.)

10 large eggs

3/4 cups whole milk

3/4 cups heavy cream

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives (from 1 bunch) (Mine were long enough to cut already this spring.)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large leek (white and pale-green parts only), thinly sliced crosswise and washed well (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 350_ with rack in upper third. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with two inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about eight minutes. Drain potatoes, let cool, and cut into 1/4 -inch-thick rounds.

Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and chives until thoroughly combined. Melt butter in an oven-safe 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leek is softened and golden brown, about five minutes. Add thyme and cook, stirring gently, 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to medium. Pour egg mixture into skillet and stir once; cook, undisturbed, until edge is set, about two minutes. Scatter potatoes evenly over egg mixture. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake until edge is puffed and golden brown in places and center is set, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Don’t forget to wear your green this Sunday. Happy St. Paddy’s!