This past weekend, and going into the beginning of this week, was a big one for celebrations. It started off with Pi day on Saturday where math nerds and food lovers alike came together to celebrate equations and tasty creations.
For me, it continued over the weekend by enjoying this beautiful and warm weather and finally being able to grill after months of early darkness and chilly weather. It is going to culminate with an Irish jig and song by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday.
While these days St. Patrick’s Day is a social celebration represented by leprechauns and pots of gold and wearing green to prevent getting pinched, it does have a historical and cultural heritage that dates back to the death of Saint Patrick who was the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Many people still celebrate the traditions of this day staying true to the historical and religious aspects of the event rather than just the social ones.
As with any celebration, food is a big part of St. Patrick’s Day in representing it’s people and the cause of the celebration. Some common dishes are stew, cabbage, and corn beef. This week I wanted to focus on a dish that was a common and easy to one to make.
Irish Soda Bread was a staple in most households, especially the poorer families that could not afford the luxury of items like meat. It is made with the most basic of ingredients that could be found in most households and made enough to feed a family and last for a while. Depending on the region one lived in, the shape of the bread varied.
The bread has a little bit of a sweet taste but I wouldn’t call it dessert bread. Served warm and with butter, I find this to be a bread that you would eat as maybe an afternoon snack with tea. I went ahead and stuck with the original flavor and recipe, but next time I think I may substitute craisins for the raisins and add some lemon zest and juice to give it a nice springtime flavor.
Without further ado…
Irish Soda Bread:
½ cup white sugar
4 cups all purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
3 cups raisins
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ cup buttermilk (or 1 ¼ cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar; set for five minutes)
1 cup sour cream
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cast iron skillet.
2). In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and raisins. In a small bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture until the flour is just moistened. With the dough hook of a stand mixture, knead the dough until all ingredients are incorporated. Dough should be sticky. Place the dough into the prepared pan. Cut 3 slits in the top of the bread and dust with the remaining tablespoon of flour.
3). Bake in preheated oven for 65-75 minutes. Let cool and turn bread onto a wire rack.
Whether or not your family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day I hope you give this bread a try. Don’t forget to carry your shamrock and look for the lucky charm on Tuesday. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!