Saturday, June 22, 2019

Folklorama: Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread

Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread
As I mentioned a few days ago, some countries will be represented by more than one pavilion during Folklorama 50.
For example there will be two Irish pavilions: the Irish Pavilion and the Celtic Ireland Pavilion.

This isn’t something new.

Sometimes one pavilion was an offshoot of an older one.
Sometimes there was a bit of history between the two sponsors and they didn’t want to combine forces.
Sometimes something happened that was shrouded in mystery.
Whatever.


I don’t know why, but in 1980 there also were two Irish pavilions.
One was a slightly more polished production.
Maybe it was older, maybe it had more people to do the work, maybe it had a bit more money behind it.
Whatever the reason, there were two places where one could hear Cead Mile Failte!

Some folks would spend the whole week visiting one pavilion.
Others would alternate between the two that were about the same country.
Then, again, sometimes people just went to pavilions that were close to home.
The events started at dinnertime and the next day was often a work day.


The Emerald Isle Pavilion at Windsor Park Collegiate was sponsored by the Winnipeg Irish Association.
Their writeup in the program was quite specific about the artifacts on display: Waterford crystal, Belleek pottery and china, hand woven tablecloths of pure Irish linen, and Aran woollens.
The McConnell Dancers performed, while the Four Coachmen and the Irish Tavern Singers provided folk music and rousing Irish songs.

They posted a recipe for Irish Stew.
Along with the stew, they were serving meat pies and sausage rolls, in addition to soda bread, for a full meal.
Potato Bread with cheese provided a lighter snack.
There was a wide range of beverages, from domestic beer and liquor to Harp Lager, Guinness Stout, and Irish Whiskey for those who wanted the full experience. 
There also were soft drinks and coffee for non-drinkers.


The other Celtic spot was the Irish Pavilion.
It was held in the Bertrand Arena, and sponsored by the Irish Association of Manitoba.
They also served Irish Stew, along with Irish Soda Bread, Irish coffee and Harp Lager.
The Shannon Dancers provided the entertainment, while the Blarney Stone (no, not the real one) and other artifacts were on display.
They had a bigger picture in their half page and weren’t into writing a big piece.


Hints:

When you’re cutting the lamb be guided by your preference and tolerance for fat. 
Any fat still on the meat will end up being absorbed by the potatoes.

After the bread is baked, it can be wrapped in a clean tea-cloth to keep the crust soft.


                        Irish Stew 

Cut into serving pieces, removing skin and fat
5 pounds lamb

Thinly slice
2 pounds potatoes
5 medium onions

Put the meat in a heavy saucepan, then put in half of the potatoes and onions.
Season with 
salt and pepper
Add
4 Cups cold water
Bring water to a boil.
Skim and simmer for 1 hour.
Arrange the remaining potato and onion slices in layers over the stew.
Cover  and simmer for 1 hour.
Serve in a hot dish with potatoes and onions around the meat.
Pour the gravy on top and serve the remainder in a gravy boat.
Garnish with parsley.


                        Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 350ยบ  F
Dust a baking sheet with flour

Sieve into a bowl
4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon creme of tartar
Add
4 teaspoons sugar
Mix well.
Add
2 Cups buttermilk
Using a fork, mix to a soft dough, adding more buttermilk if necessary.

Bring dough together with the fingers and turn out on to a board dusted with flour.
Knead lightly until smooth and form into a ball.
Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.
Cut a deep cross on top.
Bake for 40-50 minutes.
Remove from baking sheet and tap the base.
It should sound hollow; if not, return to oven for 15 minutes.

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