There are 36.9 million U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2009 – more than eight times the population of Ireland itself, according to the 2009 American Community Survey. In fact, Irish is second to German as the most frequently reported ancestry in America. Nearly a quarter of the people in Massachusetts (24%) claim Irish ancestry.
And on St. Patrick’s Day, the number of “Irish” celebrants across the U.S. will swell as we all wear a bit of green and hoist a pint. I’ll be one of those cooking up something Irish on March 17. And I’m thinking cheese. Dairying predates potatoes as a staple in Ireland by thousands of years. At the Cork Butter Museum in Ireland (yes, there is a butter museum!), I’ve seen a 56-pound keg of 1,000 year-old butter on display.
Here are two recipes from Kerrygold with authentic Irish roots that I’m planning to make this year. The ploughman’s sandwich is a riff on the ploughman’s lunch, a traditional meat-and-cheese salad for the hungry worker. The classic colcannon, mashed potatoes with cabbage, is enriched with grated cheese in this scrumptious version.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Enda’s Ploughman’s Sandwich
6 (3/4-inch thick) slices rustic brown or whole grain bread
8 ounces thinly sliced ham
12 tomato slices
1 package (7 ounces) Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, thinly sliced
Mustard Dill Dressing (recipe follows)
4 cups mixed baby greens
6 tablespoons marinated, pitted olive wedges (black and green)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and top with ham, tomatoes and cheese, dividing equally. Bake for 5 minutes to warm ham and lightly melt cheese. Place dressing in a medium bowl; add greens and toss well to coat. Arrange sandwiches on 6 plates. Pile greens on top and sprinkle with olives, dividing ingredients equally. Makes 6 servings.
Mustard Dill Dressing
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon spicy brown or Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a small food processor, combine all ingredients; puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper. (If you have no small food processor, finely chop dill and garlic and whisk ingredients together.) Makes ¼ cup.
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into large chunks
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Kerrygold Irish Butter, plus additional melted butter if desired
1 cup chopped onion
6 cups finely shredded green cabbage (or one 10-ounce package)
1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Kerrygold Dubliner or Blarney Castle Cheese
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook potatoes in boiling water about 20 minutes or until very tender; drain well and mash with skins on, adding milk and salt. While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Add cabbage; cook and stir for 5 minutes more or until very soft. Stir cabbage mixture and cheese into hot potatoes and season with pepper. Mound onto serving plates and make a well in the center of each. Pour a little melted butter into each well, if desired. Makes 8 servings.
Disclosure: Kerrygold is my PR client; however, I have not been paid to write this feature. St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland are simply synonymous with Kerrygold.
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