AMY: That’s right. As you read this, two of your founding foodies are saddling up to their first pint of Guinness in the Emerald Isle. Erin go bragh, Eaters!
SARAH: Yeah baby! But it’s not just about the pints. Did we mention the whiskey? It turns out there’s a bunch of delicious spirits to be had at this not-so-tropical island destination.
As always, we are in search of yummy breakfast, lunch, elevensies, tea and dinner. And we believe we may find it here! But first, we’re stopping off for some history. Then it’s off to some historic pubs, where I’m sure we’ll get a different kind of history lesson.
AMY: Yeah — participating in one of Ireland’s favorite pastimes: getting sauced! Now, before you think I’m getting all judge-y here, I’m talking the kind of sauce you EAT, not the aftermath of a night of hard-core drinking and dancing your fanny off to a little trad.
Turns out the food scene in Ireland is just as interesting as the one from the corner pub (and I mean, there’s like, a pub on every corner here.) Take Food & Wine‘s December article on Dublin, which highlighted the city’s new indie foodie scene. The article mentions The Fumbally and their breakfast option Cais & Mil, which is a mouth-watering buffalo ricotta made in West Cork and dressed with honey. Or there’s the chili-infused pisco at 777, used to make one awesome-sounding cocktail concoction El Gigolo de Goma.
SARAH: It’s easy to get your mouth watering before you head off on your next adventure. Before you even start packing, check out the scene. Ask around. Google around. You can find some sweet recommendations from some pretty interesting people. Asking one native islander and a guy from Virginia turned us on to Johnnie Fox’s, a legendary pub south of Dublin with great food, traditional dance and sing alongs. We’re heading there Saturday night. Chef Cathal Armstrong, the founder of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va., shared his favorite places to eat in this article.
AMY: We lunched at Doheny & Nesbit today, where I had fish and chips for the first time. My chastity in that arena was saved for just such a venture. The fish wasn’t super flavorful, but the batter was just fabulous — so crispy and delicious! Sarah had bangers and mash, and I kind of envied her dish a bit. Yum. Thankfully, I was able to negotiate a trade!
I’m also really excited about trying another place Armstrong mentioned: Queen of Tarts. So excited that I just may burst.
SARAH: Or we may go and eat so much we burst!
AMY: Semantics! And it’s not just Dublin that has an interesting food scene. There’s Galway, too. We’ve got a couple places lined up there, including The Quay Street Kitchen. There’s more to this island that boiled meat and potatoes … and next March, we’ll be doing a whole series on Ireland, including interesting recipes, chef interviews and great spots to try on your next trip.
SARAH: But getting back to the drinks…
It doesn’t hurt to be related to a man known for making the best Irish coffees (my husband’s cousin, according to my ma in-law). Or having a father-in-law from Tullamore, home to … yes, Tullamore D.E.W.!
AMY: Don’t you worry if you’re homebound, we’ve still got you covered. The pot of gold at the end of this month’s rainbow of island goodness just happens to be our resident Irishman’s (yes, my hubs also bleeds green!) famous corned beef recipe. He usually uses Guinness, which surely would make his ancestors proud, but this year, to allow Sarah’s Irish gluten-intolerant lad to participate, he made a batch with whiskey. ‘Twas divine intervention, I tell you.
So hurry up and go buy that last corned beef leftover from St. Pat’s at the grocery, and get it in the oven. Fix yourself a plate, pour yourself a pint and follow our culinary adventures for the next week or so on Facebook and Instagram. It will be just like we saved you a snug at the best pub in town.
You’ll have to look that one up!
Jamesons Corned Beef and Cabbage
Adapted from Land ‘O Lakes Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe
1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) corned beef brisket
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups Jamesons Irish Whiskey (alternatively, 2 Guinness beers)
10 (about 1 pound) small whole white onions
4 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters
1 medium (4 cups) rutabaga, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 small head cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup horseradish mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
I roll this classic out each Saint Patrick’s day. For the first time, however, I experimented with using whiskey instead of beer (to make it gluten-intolerant accessible) and it tasted great!
First, prep the horseradish-mustard sauce. You can even do it the day before so it has plenty of time to chill in the fridge. Beat the whipping cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Carefully, stir in the horseradish mustard and vinegar. Stash it in the fridge and let it chill some more.
When you’re ready to cook your brisket, heat the oven to 325. Put your brisket in a roasting pan and add the juices and spice packet from the package. No spice pack? You can wing it. Add some garlic (I used about a tablespoon of garlic salt the last time I was in a pinch). The other ingredients will bring a lot of flavor, so you don’t have to get too worked up if you don’t have that spice packet.
Next, mix all the seasoning ingredients in a bowl: the apple cider, peppercorns, bay leaves and, of course, the whiskey (or Guinness). Honestly, I tend to wing it quite a bit when measuring out the whiskey or beer. I usually add until it slightly surpasses my better judgment. Pour that over your brisket, cover it and bake it for 2 hours.
While that is cooking, cut your cabbage into wedges, peel and chop your potatoes and rutabaga. You can also swap out your cabbage for brussel sprouts. I did this the last time I made this dish (for a big crowd of 14) and it worked out really well.
After the brisket has cooked for 2 hours, add in the vegetables and cook for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy with your favorite (Irish!) pint.