I bought Irish Pub Cooking a couple of years ago, thinking it would be neat to try some Irish cooking, and then promptly forgot about it. This past January I saw it on the bookshelf and started looking for alternatives to corned beef and cabbage for dinner on St. Patrick's Day.
The subtitle for Irish Pub Cooking urges the reader to "Pull up a stool, sup a pint, and tuck into some delicious pub food." What follows is a collection of real food rather than the snacks offered at the typical American bar and grill franchise. There are no hot wings, sliders or quesadillas featured in this book.
The Entrées chapter is where I found my alternative to corned beef and cabbage. Of course, they include a recipe for that traditional dish, and it looks quite good. But I found something which looked even more intriguing: Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings.
Somewhere Homer Simpson is drooling.
This recipe consists of beef dusted with flour and seasonings, and then stewed with stout and vegetables. We bought some Guinness Stout for this. The dumplings were made with something which I had never used before: suet. Suet is fat from beef; in particular, the fat which is found near the kidneys. It has a high melting point, which means that it will melt out of the dumplings after the flour has started to set up. The result is that the dumplings will have little air pockets in them after the suet melts and runs out. I called around to a few specialty stores trying to locate suet, and even searched the internet for alternatives. I ended up calling some friends who moved here from England to see if they could help me find some suet. Finally, as a last try, I called the butcher counter at the local Albertsons.
Here is our picture. We made a lot more to feed our family and guests. Carolyn would use less parsley in the future; that is what gave the dumplings - and everything else - the greenish color:
The book includes recipes for Irish Coffee and 'Black Velvet,' something made with Stout and white wine. Since I recently won a HUGE bottle of Crown Royal whiskey, I shall have to try making Irish coffee with it.