"It's been said that God created whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world. If so, then He also created haggis to keep the Scots from going into the restaurant business." ~ W. Caterson
I sometimes write restaurant reviews for Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor when an establishment warrants my two cents worth.
Or if I have way too much time on my hands.
On a recent evening when I had so much time on my hands I had to use a Brillo Pad to get it all off, I decided to write a review for one of my favorite Irish pubs. But before doing so, I scanned some reviews for this particular pub as well as some others just to see what folks were saying. I was amazed that several reviewers of Irish pubs had the néatóg to complain about the cuisine.
Listen. Going to an Irish pub for "the cuisine" is like going to Mardi Gras because you want to stock up on some great jewelry.
Nope, folks go to Irish pubs for the great atmosphere, the great company (even a stranger is welcomed), the great beer, and the great music. The food? If it’s not moving and it’s warm, you’ll find it adequate and it will surely stick to your ribs. If it were served in any other setting it would probably be forgettable.
But make no mistake, when the waitress sets that bowl of Irish stew or a plate of fish and chips on your table, and the Guinness begins to flow, and the fellah with the guitar up front explains the 'origin of this next song', and the whole room bursts into a rousing rendition of 'Whiskey in a Jar'...well, then you know you've entered another realm where the work-a-day world falls to the floor like tattered rags and joy reigns triumphant. This is especially true every St. Patrick's Day.
But if you want to stay in this St. Patty’s Day, you’ll find lots of recipes on-line for Irish Stew, Colcannon, Corned Beef and other Irish staples. Let me add to the canon this delicious recipe for Irish Cabbage Soup.
Now let's all pour a pint and be thankful that Scottish eating establishments are few and far between.
Warren (whose family made their way here from Counties Tyrone & Donegal, and the Isle of Skye)
IRISH CABBAGE SOUP
PREP: 5 minutes COOK: 1-1/2 hours
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 pound cabbage
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
4 red potatoes, cubed
6 thinly slice mushrooms
4 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 diagonal slice
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions and celery until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
2. Cut the cabbage lengthwise and remove the core. Slice into 3/8 inch shreds. Add the cabbage and parsley to the saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until the cabbage wilts.
3. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir well and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a small skillet and sauté mushrooms until their moisture is released. Add the peas and heat through.
5. After the soup has cooked for 20 minutes, add the kielbasa, peas and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.