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St. Patrick's Day in Los Angeles

May the road rise up to meet you...
May the road rise up to meet you...

“Top o’ the mornin' to ya, little lassies.”

That’s what I said to my daughters this morning (all named after Irish locales). They rolled their eyes at me even though, deep down, I know they take some pride in being Irish, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Instead of uniforms, they were asked to participate in the wearin’ o’ the green at their school today. I sent them off with homemade loaves of Irish soda bread for their classmates and teachers to enjoy. (And you can get the recipe here.)

Los Angeles hardly ranks up there with New York, Boston and Chicago as a city that knows how to celebrate today, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try, and succeed. After school, consider taking the kids to the Los Angeles Farmers’ Market for their celebration. It takes place from noon until 10pm, and promises strolling Celtic musicians, live Irish bands, and some special St. Patrick’s Day foods from various merchants. Downtown, the Nokia/LA Live venue is sponsoring their own festival from 11am-3pm and includes Ken O’Malley and The Twilight Lords, a fantastic Irish band that played at my wedding years ago before they became famous. The event continues tonight at 7pm with a beer garden, Irish food and celebrity guests.

Here’s what I’m making for the family tonight (I’ve also included a link to an easier version of this recipe below):

Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen, published by Kyle Cathie.
Beef with Stout
Use your favourite stout for this recipe. In Cork we use Beamish or Murphy, but even Cork people have divided allegiances!
Serves 6-8
2 lbs (900g) lean stewing beef, eg. Chuck
seasoned flour
3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil
2 thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry English Mustard
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato puree
1 strip of dried orange peel
a bouquet garni made up of 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of fresh thyme, 4 parsley stalks.
4 fl oz (125ml) Beamish, Murphy or Guinness
¾ pint (425ml) beef stock
8 ozs (225g) mushrooms
½ oz (15g) butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the meat into 1½ inch (4cm) cubes and toss in seasoned flour. Heat some oil in a hot pan and fry the meat in batches until it is brown on all sides. Transfer the meat into a casserole and add a little more oil to the pan. Fry the thinly-sliced onions until nicely browned; deglaze with the stout. Transfer to the casserole, add the stock, sugar, mustard, tomato puree, orange rind and bouquet garni. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer at 300° for 2 to 2-2½ hours or until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile wash and slice the mushrooms. Saute in a very little melted butter in a hot pan. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside. When the stew is cooked, add the mushrooms and simmer for 2-3 minutes, taste and correct the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Note: This stew reheats well. You may need to add more sugar to the recipe if you find it a little bitter.

Easier version of this recipe here.

Grab your orange and green crayons/markers and let the kids color all afternoon with these printable coloring pages.

Looking for a movie to watch?  Consider: Finian's Rainbow (directed by Francis Ford Coppola!), The Secret of Roan Inish, Circle of Friends, The Quiet Man, Into the West, Waking Ned Devine, or The Commitments.


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