We had plenty of lamb left over from that crockpot leg of lamb yesterday so it seemed a no brainer to make an Irish stew for St Pat’s Day. This one started with browning bacon in the pot. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and cut up a carrot and potato to brown in the bacon fat. I had plenty of onion from the dish yesterday or I would cut one up to go with the other veggies here. (If you are starting with fresh lamb pieces you would brown them in the bacon fat before the veggies go in.) Let the potato get a little color, then add a tablespoon of tomato paste and a good sprinkle of flour and stir that for a minute to cook the flour a bit. Now add beef broth and a bottle of Guinness or whatever other dark beer you have, and then dump in the leftover lamb that you’ve pulled apart or cut down to bite sized. Add back the bacon and a spring of fresh rosemary and a bay leaf. Simmer for a couple of hours, then serve with some nice crusty bread.
Pork braised in Guinness Stout
Mrs J took a small pork butt from the freezer yesterday to thaw overnight. Neither of us had a particular recipe in mind and it could have gone in several different ways but I wanted to experiment a bit.It started the same way as past pork roasts with the insertion of garlic cloves into slits cut in the pork. I rolled the meat in a mix of ancho powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. I wasn’t sure yet whether to roast it on a rack or to add liquid and braise it. Remembering a stash of beer in the cupboard was enough to make up my mind. I opened a 12 ounce Guinness and poured that into the pan around the pork, then covered the pan with foil and set it to slow cooking in a 250-ish oven while I puttered around in the shop. After 4 or 5 hours I peeked inside, it looked done but the liquid wanted reducing. I transferred everything into a 12″ cast iron skillet and used a good steel spatula to chop the meat up. I added some coarse chopped onion and covered the skillet and let it simmer for a while, another hour or so. Removing the lid, I upped the heat until most of the liquids had evaporated.Looked good, I announced supper and built some sandwiches. The oil was hot in the deep fryer so I dropped a batch of shoestrings in and brought the slaw out of the fridge.I had a new jar of giardiniera to try out, and these sandwiches were just the thing for it. The jar was labeled hot so I didn’t bother to put any on Mrs J’s. The stuff worked well for me, too hot for the Missus, but it really wasn’t something extraordinarily hot. I liked it. I made a small batch of slaw earlier and included just a bit too much fresh jalapeno for Mrs J, she left her portion on the plate. It’s hard to calibrate the heat sometimes.
This brisket has been in the freezer for a good while now, bought it back in the spring and promptly stuck it into the freezer. I saw it today when I opened the freezer door to take a look at just what we had in there. It seemed like a good day to drag it out and thaw it. We had a few potatoes left, and some carrots, and I knew we had a head of cabbage in the fridge. Just about everything you need for a good Sunday dinner.
I usually just cover the brisket with water and simmer it for a few hours but after reading several recipes online I decided to use some dark beer plus beef broth. I had a 24oz. bottle of Guinness bought back when we were making mustard and dumped that into the sauce pot over the meat, and finished with beef broth to cover. Most all the recipes agree that an hour of simmering per pound was right and I went by the clock rather than poke it with a thermometer, but 160 degrees is done if you prefer to use yours. In any case, the 3 pound brisket got 3 hours at simmer before I removed it to a platter and covered it with foil. I popped it into a warm oven to keep it hot while I boiled the veggies. You can cook them a while and then add the cabbage last. It took about 20 minutes for the cabbage to get tender. Today I cooked the carrots and the potatoes until they were done and removed them to a covered dish and then cooked the cabbage. No hard and fast rule but I found it easier to get the various parts done without over cooking them that way.
The mustard dressing was a combination of the whole grain stout mustard I made earlier in the year, some prepared horseradish, a bit of the cooking juices, and thickened with corn starch. It added an interesting tang to the meat. Lots of pictures!