It’s Monday (Dé Luain) and I want to make a lot of authentic food from Ireland this week. I LOVE corned beef and cabbage but we honestly have that as much as possible already so I thought it would be fun to do a bit of research.

So very happy to have this week as my mom is a Kelly, whose mom was another Kelly, whose mom was a Blaney…you get the idea. My mom’s family came from Northern Ireland during the famine like many others and were busy for quite a few generations just surviving. By the time they wanted to reach out to more of the family that had been left behind, the area around Dungannon had seem some other tough times.

My Gran wrote to the local government in the ’70’s. The parish priest was kind enough to write her back explaining that all records had been lost in a bombing during “the troubles”.

Honestly, our family had a lot more Ottawa Valley, farm food growing-up than Irish but we always wore green, my mom made sure we embraced our heritage and as an adult I also get to celebrate with the appropriate food.

Yesterday, I made Irish stew which is less of a recipe and more of a method and even used up some lamb bones that have been staring at me accusingly from the freezer for way too long.

First, brown some lamb bones (I used two cups of them-butchers will almost give these away as very few people actually use them anymore. See the brilliant book “Bones” for a much better description of the use of these goodies) in the oven. Place in a stockpot with chunks of carrots, an onion that isn’t peeled but is sliced in chunks, a sprig of rosemary and top with water. Let boil for approximately 30 minutes until the stock is brown and rich. Strain out the bones and veg.

In a casserole dish layer; potatoes (sliced and peeled), lamb chops (shoulder chops are great), onion slices, a garlic clove crushed, salt and pepper. Repeat. Add another layer of potatoes and cover with stock. Bake in the oven for two hours. For the final 1/2 hour take the lid off and let the potatoes brown. I am cheating here as you would never normally put in a garlic clove and I was REALLY back by slicing in a carrot too.

Boo…hiss…but it looked to bland before!

Serve with chunks of cheddar and hearty bread. Let’s face-it. It’ll even be better with a rich, dark beer.

I’ll post another Irish-inspired recipe tomorrow.

P.S. I haven’t mentioned the on-going tragedy in Japan as many bloggers have. I just don’t know what to say other than my prayers are there for those who lost their lives and those who will now have to rebuild. As a parent of a small child this sort of disaster is the stuff of my worst nightmares.

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