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Monday, March 16, 2015

A Toast to the Irish

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us once again, a signal that Spring is on its way and the celebration of life soon to begin. It is also a time when everyone wants to be Irish. In New York City a monstrous parade wheels its way through the streets, usually led by quite a large number of New York's finest; uniformed police that is. Parades in fact are the order of the day in cities across the world, as there are few corners of this planet that at least one Irishman had not settled in.

Bars and pubs will pour thousands of gallons of green beer. Restaurants, kitchens and those at home will present the traditional Irish fare with corned beef or cottage roll. Tradition may dutifully lay by its side cabbage and potatoes, but I on the other hand threw something a little unusual into the mix. As I had said, everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day, so why shouldn't the egg roll?

My Seamus Roll has the traditional filling with a less than traditional delivery, and while my cottage roll is paired with the conventional cabbage, potatoes and carrots, the cooking method completely changes its flavour and texture. As bite-size finger food along with a pint or two, they are unbeatable.

Enjoy the festivities and I'll raise a glass to you all on this joyous day of celebrating life together.

Seamus Rolls

1 cup beef gravy
2 cup red wine
2 lb corned beef
1 cabbage head, small, quartered
1 1/2 lb baby potatoes
1 pack egg roll squares
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh sage, coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, sliced
200 g mushroom, sliced
2 cups shredded Irish cheese

Combine red wine, beef gravy, water and fresh sage. Add baby potatoes to bottom of pan then place corned bee on top. Boil for approx 40 minutes.

Separately in a pot, add water and season with salt and pepper.
Add the cabbage and boil till leaves soften, approximately 30 minutes.

When corned beef is ready and potatoes soften, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, chop 1 onion and add the mushrooms. Saute till onion becomes translucent.

Add the corned beef and potatoes and brown lightly on all sides, infusing with the flavours of the onion and mushrooms.

Slice the corned beef into 1/2 inch wide strips. Slice potato into thin strips.
Drain cabbage and cut into strips.

In the centre of an egg roll sheet, place a couple of cabbage strips, then repeat with same number of corned beef and a piece of potato. Add 1 teaspoon Irish cheese.
Roll the egg roll sheet using a little water around the edges to seal.

Preheat oil in a pot. To test the heat of the oil just allow one drop of water to fall on top and if it sizzles hard the oil is hot enough.
Place the egg rolls seam-side down and turn once till evenly golden brown.

Serve with any kind of dip and a cold, crisp beer.

Not So Traditional Cottage Roll

1 cottage roll 3lb
1 1/2 lb Potato Medley, washed not peeled
2 lb heirloom carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet onion, sliced
220 g sliced mushrooms
1 small cabbage head, quartered
2 cups red wine
1/2 can stout beer
1 cup pork gravy
1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

In a large pot combine red wine, stout beer, pork gravy, 1 cup water and chopped basil.
Place potatoes and carrots on bottom of pot, then the cabbage roll on top.
Cover and boil for 40-45 minutes, moving potatoes and carrots occasionally to avoid sticking.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in pan, add sliced onion and mushrooms.
Saute till onion is translucent.

When the cottage roll is cooked and potatoes soft enough transfer to pan with onions, add 2-3 tablespoons of juice from pot and brown the cottage roll.

Serve up with a crisp, cold beer and raise a toast to St. Patrick.

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