I never liked St. Patrick’s Day, but when you live in the most Irish town in America and the annual parade marches right by your house, there’s no escape.
But last year, since our family now included parade-lovin’ little ones, I invited the rels down to Scituate, MA for a Hibernian-themed brunch around 11 a.m. – before our road was shut down by the parade police.
“Whaddaya boiling the whole meal,” asked my stand-up comedienne friend, Stephanie Peters, who, like me, would rather sleep through March 17.
Frankly, there was little boiling involved. I do like to run with a theme, so after spending much time on the Internet, my files and go-to cookbooks, I came up with a menu.
Fresh squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice
Salad of Honeydew melon and blackberries
Corned Beef Hash
Coffee and Strong Tea
The Baked Oatmeal recipe, which contains steel-cut and old-fashioned rolled oats, diced apple, dried apricots and crystallized ginger, is an old favorite from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book (The Countryman Press, 2006). The recipe calls for ¾ c. of brown sugar, but I think it’s too sweet, so I drop it down to ¼ c. and leave room for warm maple syrup. Big hit with the kids.
I figured I needed sausage on the menu, so I hunted down some Irish bangers and whipped up two stratas (I know that sounds Italian but it’s better than ‘Baked Eggs and Sausage.’)
Here’s the Sausage Strata recipe (serves 6):
8 oz. Irish sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
Unsalted butter for 8-inch baking dish
8 eggs, large
1 c. milk
Salt and pepper
6 to 8 pieces of challah, sliced ½-inch thick, crusts removed
1 ½ c. shredded Irish cheddar
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage, stirring occasionally, and breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add onion and stir until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and let cool to “barely warm.”
Butter the 8-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, ½ t. salt and ¼ t. pepper.
Arrange half the crust-less challah in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Scatter half the sausage and onion mixture and then half of the cheddar cheese over the bread. Repeat with remaining bread, sausage, onion and cheese, pressing firmly.
Pour the egg mixture over the layers and press firmly with a large spatula or back of spoon.
Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes or overnight. (If you do make this ahead, bring to room temperature before baking.)
When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.
The Corned Beef Hash recipe, submitted by James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Maws of Craigie on Main in Cambridge, MA was a find on finecooking.com. It is soooo not your mother’s hash! With its celery root, our local Macomber turnip, rutabaga and fresh thyme, the dish was such a crowd-pleaser, I’m going to have to make at least two more for this Sunday’s festivities.
A few notes: Don’t skip the celery (or celeriac). It adds a whole new level of taste. And if you’re going to bag buying a rutabaga, substitute carrots. It will give the hash more eye-appeal. Also, this is not a dish you can whip up in short order. The corned beef must be cooked and the chopping of vegetables – depending on your knife skills – can take half the morning!
Lastly, my fave Currant Scone recipe is from Boston pastry chef Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2010). Forget every dry, hard-as-brick scone you’ve ever bought. Chang’s are flaky, buttery and not too sweet. You’ll never go back. I know I haven’t.
You can find Flour’s famous Classic Current Scone recipe online here.
Add a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea or a strong mug of coffee, and you’ve got a St. Patrick’s Day brunch.
See, Stef? Little boiling necessary.
You can follow Laura on Twitter: @LauraRaposa