Emerald eats: Bring a little luck o' the Irish to your table this St. Patrick's Day

March 9, 2012 4:54:49 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


When St. Patrick's Day rolls around, there seems to be at least a wee bit of Irish in all of us. No matter that true natives of the Emerald Isle would never taint a tankard of brew by dying it green, as many Americans will do come March 17. Yes, the Irish may look with some bemusement on celebrations in the States, but their national holiday is a great occasion for us to get a little playful in the kitchen.  


How about some beer-battered broccoli appetizers, grasshopper pie or a leprechaun lime drink? Those are but a few ways to "go green" this year. 


There's also room on our St. Patrick's Day table for more traditional fare -- with a twist or two. 


One Food Network contest-winning entrée you may want to try is a Guinness-glazed Black-and-Tan pork dish, paired with a spicy ale slaw.  


In another recipe, the well-known shepherd's pie is transformed into individual biscuit-sized eats. Flavored with minced garlic, onion and cream cheese, and crowned with whipped potatoes, these sound yummy. A sprinkling of crushed potato chips on top add texture and crunch. Convenient potato flakes and refrigerated biscuits help simplify this dish.  


"But if I'm not rushed for time, I'll sometimes make these with homemade biscuits and mashed potatoes," said the recipe's originator, Ellen Osborne of Clarksville, Tenn. on tasteofhome.com. You can also freeze an extra batch of these quick meat-and-potatoes mini pies. 




Did you know? 


When making your St.Patrick's Day goodies, don't forget the green apron. Did you know green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of this day as early as the 17th century? (It's believed St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.) 


Ireland's national observance began as a Catholic holy day, but particularly in the past two decades, it's become a festival, too, writes Suzanne Barrett at irelandforvisitors.com. It will be celebrated with a week-long tradition of festivities, including parades, folk music and floats. As you might expect, the biggest celebrations will be in cities like Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Galway, according to Wikipedia. A tip o' the hat, though, to the citizens of Dripsey, Cork: They lay claim to the shortest St. Patrick's Day parade in the world -- just 100 yards, traveling between the village's two pubs.  


On this feast day March 17, families and friends will gather round tables all over Ireland to honor the country's most recognizable patron saint. Why not do the same at your table? 






Total time 1 1/2 hours 


Prep time: 25 minutes 


Makes 6-8 servings 




For the pork: 


1 12-ounce bottle pale ale (preferably Bass) 


1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder 


1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 


3 pounds pork tenderloin 




For the glaze: 


1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 


1 small sweet onion, finely chopped 


2 cloves garlic, minced 


1 12-ounce bottle stout beer (preferably Guinness) 


1 cup packed dark brown sugar 


1 cup honey 


1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger 


1/2 teaspoon cornstarch 




For the slaw: 


1/4 cup soy sauce 


2 tablespoons honey 


1 clove garlic, minced 


1/2 teaspoon minced peeled ginger 


1/2 head green cabbage, shredded 


2 medium bell peppers (red, orange and/or yellow), thinly sliced 


2 carrots, cut into matchsticks or shredded 


1 large sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced 




  • Prepare the pork: Combine the ale, five-spice powder, cayenne and salt and black pepper to taste in a large resealable plastic bag. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade for the slaw. Add the pork to the bag and mix well. Refrigerate two to six hours. 


  • Make the glaze: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden, about two minutes. Add 1 tablespoon each stout and brown sugar and cook four minutes.  


  • Add all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining stout, the honey, the remaining 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, then lower the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes.  


  • Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons stout and the cornstarch in a bowl; slowly stir into the glaze and boil two minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. 


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade and transfer to a baking dish.  


  • Bake until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 degrees, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest five minutes. 


  • Meanwhile, make the slaw: Whisk the soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger in a large bowl. Whisk in the reserved 1/4 cup marinade. Add the cabbage, bell peppers, carrots and onion and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes. 


  • Slice the pork and serve with the slaw. Drizzle both the pork and slaw with the glaze. 


    (Source: Sam Betty, Food Network magazine; foodnetwork.com) 






    Prep time: 30 minutes 


    Cook time: 20 minutes 


    Makes five servings 




    1 pound ground beef 


    3 tablespoons chopped onion 


    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 


    1/3 cup chili sauce or ketchup 


    1 tablespoon cider vinegar 


    1/2 teaspoon salt 


    1 1/4 cups water 


    3 tablespoons butter 


    1 1/4 cups mashed potato flakes 


    1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cubed 


    1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 


    1/2 cup crushed potato chips 


    Paprika, optional 




  • In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until tender; drain. Stir in the chili sauce, vinegar and salt; set aside. 


  • In a small saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Pour into a small bowl. Whisk in potato flakes until blended. Beat in cream cheese until smooth. 


  • Press 1 biscuit dough onto the bottom and up the sides of each of 10 greased muffin cups. Fill with beef mixture. Spread potato mixture over beef. Sprinkle with potato chips; press down lightly. 


  • Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Serve immediately, or cool before placing in a single layer in a freezer container. Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. 


  • To use frozen pies: Thaw in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 5 servings. 


    (Source: tasteofhome.com, Ellen Osborne, Clarksville, Tenn.) 






    Makes 8 servings 




    1 1/2 cups cold milk 


    1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix 


    2 3/4 cups whipped topping, divided 


    1 package (4.67 ounces) mint Andes candies, chopped, divided 


    1 chocolate crumb crust (9 inches) 


    1/4 teaspoon mint extract 


    2 drops green food coloring, optional 




  • In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for two minutes. Let stand for two minutes or until soft-set.  


  • Fold in 3/4 cup whipped topping. Fold in 3/4 cup candies. Spoon into crust. 


  • In another bowl, combine extract and remaining whipped topping; add food coloring if desired. Spread over pudding layer; sprinkle with remaining candies. Cover and refrigerate for four hours or until set.  


    (Source: tasteofhome.com) 










    4 cups broccoli florets  


    1 cup beer 


    1 cup flour 


    1/4 cup chopped parsley 


    Pinch of salt 




  • Whisk the beer, flour, parsley and salt. Let the batter rest for one hour.  


  • Dip four cups of broccoli florets in the batter and fry in 375 degree vegetable oil until golden brown, about two minutes.  


  • Drain on paper towels. Serve with sour cream. 


    (Source: foodnetwork.com) 








    1 quart lime sherbet, softened 


    1/2 cup thawed limeade concentrate 


    2 tablespoons sugar 


    2 cans (12 ounces each) lemon-lime soda, chilled 


    1 to 2 cups crushed ice 


    Lemon slices and lime spirals, optional 




  • In a large bowl, beat the sherbet, limeade and sugar until blended. Stir in soda and ice. Pour into chilled glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and lime spirals, if desired. 


    (Source: tasteofhome.com)

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.