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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a Return to Ireland

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some delicious recipes from A Return to Ireland: A Culinary Journey from America to Ireland by renowned Irish chef Judith McLoughlin.

"Judith's inspirational food and storytelling is very much part of this phenomenon that is calling the Irish diaspora home to Ireland to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors."—Dr. Tim Campbell, director of the St. Patrick's Center

Featuring over 100 recipes and gorgeous photos of Irish landscapes, A Return to Ireland will bring you on a culinary journey from the Irish-American immigrant recipes to the flavors of modern Ireland.

Padraig’s Roasted Potato Cups Serves 4 Potato Cups Ingredients 1¼ pound baby potatoes (red and gold varieties) 2 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt and pepper Mushroom Filling Ingredients 1½ tablespoons olive oil 5 tablespoons shallots (finely chopped) 8 ounces portobello mushrooms (finely chopped) 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) 1½ ounces aged Irish cheddar cheese (1 tablespoon grated/the remaining shaved) Salt and pepper to season Garnish Finishing Ingredients 1 tablespoon truffle oil (to drizzle) Chives (cut in to ½-inch pieces for a garnish)

Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 2. Cut each potato in half. Using a melon baller, scoop out a hole in the center in the cut side of each potato half. Use a knife to slice a small piece of the skin side of each potato so they will stand straight when plating and serving. 3. Brush potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake on a roasting pan, cut side down, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. 4. To make the mushroom filling, sauté the finely chopped mushrooms and shallots in olive oil until the mushrooms are a deep brown and the shallots have caramelized. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of finely grated aged cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Use a small teaspoon to fill each warm potato cup. Before serving drizzle a little truffle oil and top each potato with a piece of chive and shaving of aged Irish cheddar cheese.

Crispy Shallot Topped Greens with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves 4-6

Salad Greens Ingredients

2½ ounces (5 cups) organic spring greens

Dressing Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

5 slices uncured applewood smoked bacon (finely chopped)

8 tablespoons (½ cup) olive oil

3 garlic cloves (finely sliced)

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

Fried Shallots Ingredients

2 shallots (finely sliced)

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup vegetable oil

Kosher salt and pepper


1. Heat the oil in skillet and crisp bacon. Remove bacon from the pan and set on plate lined with a paper towel. Drain bacon fat from skillet leaving 1 tablespoon for a little flavor.

2. Add the slivered garlic and cook for 1 minute to soften but not brown. Remove from heat and add vinegar (being careful as pan may splutter some). Gently shake the saucepan to mix. Use as whisk to mix the mustard, sugar. Add ground black pepper. Finally whisk in the olive oil and gently heat on low.

3. Toss the sliced shallots in flour. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or fryer to 360°F. Add the shallots in small batches so they do not stick together cooking for 10–12 minutes until they are crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Season the shallots with a little salt and pepper.

4. To serve, toss the greens in the warm vinaigrette with the bacon.

5. Serve right away and top each salad serving with a small handful of fried shallots and enjoy!

Aged Gaelic Steaks with an Irish Whiskey Cream Sauce

Serves 4

Steak Ingredients

4 New York steaks or 2 porterhouse cut steaks (aged and cut 1-inch thick)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Sauce Ingredients

1 tablespoon of salted butter

1 shallot (finely chopped)

¼ cup of Irish whiskey

¼ cup chicken stock

¾ cup of heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon fresh parsley (finely chopped)


1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and oil on medium high heat in a large skillet and season the room temperature steaks liberally with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. When the butter is foaming, add the steaks one at a time to the pan and turn them after 20–30 seconds to sear both sides (do not overcrowd to get a nice sear if not using a large size skillet). Lower the heat to medium heat (3–4 minutes for rare, 4–5 minutes for medium rare, 4–5 minutes for medium, 5–6 minutes for well done) turning each steak halfway.

2. Wrap the steaks in aluminum foil and transfer the steaks to a low temperature oven or covered in a warming drawer.

3. To make the Irish whiskey sauces, add the butter to the pan with the shallots and cook for about a minute scraping the flavorful brown bits. Deglaze the pan adding the Irish whiskey and chicken stock and reduce slightly on a low simmer. Add the cream to the pan cooking to reduce and gently simmer until the cream begins to thicken.

4. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh chopped parsley.

5. To serve, pour the sauce over the pan seared steaks.

About the Author

Judith McLoughlin is an Irish chef and owner of a gourmet food business in Georgia called The Shamrock and Peach. Specializing in Irish cuisine, Judith has created her own unique food fusion by blending the techniques of her homeland with the newfound flavors of the South. Growing up in County Armagh in Northern Ireland and setting down roots in the South, over the past decade Judith has become one of the most recognized Irish faces and brands in Atlanta, throughout the American South and abroad. She regularly contributes to food columns in national newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and leads numerous discovery tours from the U.S. to Ireland each year. Before A Return to Ireland, she published a cookbook entitled The Shamrock and Peach.

Written by Judith McLoughlin

978-1-57826-935-8, $30.00 hardcover

978-1-57826-936-5, $12.99 eBook

Published by Hatherleigh Press.

Distributed through Penguin Random House.

Available wherever books are sold.


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