Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'...

I've heard it said that the Irish consume all that green beer during the day in order to partake in the corned beef & cabbage at supper time...

March 17 is traditionally a religious holiday on the Emerald Isle in honor of Saint Patrick, born in either Scotland or Wales, the son of Roman parents living in Britain...with all that heritage, it is appropriate that this holiday is celebrated across many cultures! He & his disciples are responsible for the Irish conversion to Christianity. The three leaves of the shamrock were a visual representation of the Christian Trinity.

It was not until the 1970's that the pubs in Ireland were open for business on March 17...part of a campaign to raise tourism & showcase Ireland to the rest of the world...& the rest of the world has been wearing green, chasing leprechauns & raising a pint of green beer to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day ever since.

Even as an Irish girl, I'm not a big fan of corned beef...& because the Great Potato Famine in 1845 fueled the Irish immigration to family is going to have a big bowl of golden potato & leek soup to honor our Irish roots.

Pot O' Gold Potato & Leek Soup
Serves 8

4 leeks, trimmed & cut in 1/2" slices
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
6 medium or 8 small Yukon gold potatoes, quartered & sliced thin
8 cups organic chicken broth (I like to use Imagine)
*2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (optional for a heartier protein rich soup)
3 Tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
3 Tbsp cold water
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Trim the thick green ends & root away from the leeks. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise & then in 1/2" slices. Soak in water to wash away any dirt & then rinse & drain.

In a medium soup pot over medium heat, combine olive oil, bay leaf, salt, pepper, & leaks. Soften leaks for about a minute. Add potato slices & chicken broth. Cover the pot & bring to a boil then remove cover & reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove bay leaf. (*For a heartier meal, add about 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken at this stage.)

In a small bowl, combine arrowroot or cornstarch with cold water & mix well. Return the soup to a boil. Add this mixture to the soup pot & stir. Let cook for 5 more minutes. Reduce heat. Add more salt & pepper if necessary. Stir in parsley. Serve & Enjoy!

A toast to you my friends, in good ol' Irish fashion...Here's to cheating, stealing, fighting & drinking. If you should cheat, cheat death. If you steal, steal a woman's heart. If you fight, fight for a brother. And if you drink, drink with me!!



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