by Chef Dez
There are a number of novelty consumables that consistently reappear in the marketplace during the days leading up to March 17. These will most undoubtedly include items such as green tinted food and beverages. Although this may be an amusing way to recognize St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, a culinary adventure of Irish cuisine would be more fitting and nostalgic.
Why not make a classic Irish dish to celebrate St. Patrick`s Day instead?
Classic Irish food is usually inexpensive fare, and this recipe pretty much follows that same path. This rustic casserole is made up of potatoes and sausages, and baked to perfection with a combination of chicken broth, cream, and Guinness beer.
I always question a recipe when it calls for water to be added. Why not add wine, broth, juice, or even beer? How much flavour does water have? Zero. If you want a dish to taste wonderful, and full of flavour, could you not add something that has more distinction than water? I always address this topic to my culinary students, and preach creativity and improvisation when it comes to preparing a meal. Guinness beer is a very clever way to add flavour intricacy to a dish.
This recipe is easy to prepare, has great flavour, and it definitely will help to make the dinner table a celebratory venue in recognition of St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy and happy cooking…
Recipe created by Chef Dez
12 large pork, beef or Italian sausages
4 extra-large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
8 bacon strips, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Guinness beer
Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Heat large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until browned on all sides, approximately 8 to 12 minutes. Set sausages aside and discard the fat from the pan.
While the sausages are cooking, preheat oven to 350F degrees, and arrange potato slices into a large casserole dish, or preferably a large ceramic-coated cast iron pot.
Return the pan to the stove and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the bacon, onions, garlic, salt, sugar, sage and season with pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and slightly browned, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Spread this onion/bacon mixture evenly over the potato slices.
Pour the broth, cream, and beer over the entire dish.
Place the sausages on top. Cover and cook for one hour in the preheated oven.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve “family style”, by dishing it out at the table.
Serves 6 to 8 people.
– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4