Cook the Book – Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread goes perfect with New England Boiled Dinner and of course the perfect side for your St Patrick’s Day dinner.

There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil (the devil) or to let the fairies out of the bread.

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2  teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup currants
1 1/2 cups sour milk

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix in the sugar, caraway seeds and raisins.
Stir in the milk until a ball forms. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth (about 5-10 turns). Cut the dough in half and shape into two 6″ round loaves. Place the loaves on the cookie pan. Make two cuts on top of the loaves in the shape of a cross.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves

Recipe from At Home, At Sea: Recipes from the Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin

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Cook the Book – New England Boiled Dinner with Mustard Sauce

This is a recipe that is often requested on the boat and will definitely steam up your windows at home. New England Boiled Dinner is a very traditional meal as the name suggests and can also be very plain (unless you have great corned beef and the mustard sauce). I get our corned beef from a local butcher and he won’t share his recipe with me! BUT, corning is a process by which you soak the brisket of beef in salted water seasoned with perhaps cloves, thyme, vinegar, all spice and other secret ingredients for a period of one to three weeks. This is of course a perfect recipe for St. Patrick’s Day – less than 2 weeks away!

Awhile back one of our passengers sent us the following email sharing an experience she had with New England Boiled Dinner. We love it!

“I made your New England Boil recipe for my parents. My dad is really proud of his ethnic heritage, doesn’t like anything different. Snubs his nose to “American” meals. So, they fly in from out of the country, I am making dinner. The house smells wonderful. They walk in and ask what I am making. He promptly pours himself a Chivas. I take the meat out of the water and start adding the vegetables. He walks over and pours himself another. I tell him a million times, he is going to like this meal. We sit down to dinner with the Irish Soda bread. He takes a bite of the meat, “Huh! This is pretty good.” He takes a bite of the vegetables, “Wow, this is amazing!” It’s like the guy was 5 years old fighting to high Heaven that he didn’t like something, was forced to try it to find out He Likes Green Eggs and Ham.”

New England Boiled Dinner with Mustard Sauce

Any leftover meat and veggies can be cut up and cooked into a hash.

1 brisket corned beef (about 6 pounds)
1 pound package carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
12 to 16 small red potatoes, skin on
12 to 16 small white onions, peeled
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 11/2-inch chunks
1 large head of cabbage, cored and cut into eight wedges

Place the corned beef in a large stew pot and cover with water. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until fork tender (2 to 3 hours).
Remove the meat from the pot and keep it warm. DO NOT drain the water.
Place the potatoes and turnip in the pot, bring the water back to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add the carrots and onions, bring to a boil and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, bring to a boil and simmer another 5 minutes. Strain all the vegetables into a colander. Slice the beef diagonally against the grain. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter and serve with Mustard Sauce (below) and Irish Soda Bread (next Friday’s Cook the Book (3/19) for the recipe).

Mustard Sauce

2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup heated cider vinegar

Mix together the mustard, flour and salt. Add 1/3 cup of evaporated milk and whisk until there are no lumps. Put the sugar and the rest of the evaporated milk in a double boiler over medium heat. Whisk in the mustard mixture. Whisk in the egg yolk. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens to a thick, ribbon-like consistency. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the heated vinegar. Leave it in the double boiler until you’re ready to serve to keep warm. Pour into a pitcher and serve.

Serves 8

Exerpted from At Home, At Sea: Recipes from the Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin

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