Every year for St. Paddy's I cook up the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage meal. We love it so much that we eat nearly all of it and then say, "Why didn't we make twice as much so that we could have leftovers?" Well, since the holiday falls on Wednesday this week, and Chris leaves tomorrow morning for another work trip, we decided to celebrate early, and have the meal tonight. And there are TWO corned beef briskets in the pot this time! (I guess I am the one that will get all of the leftovers!)
Anyhow, I have never made Irish Soda Bread to accompany the meal. I have always wanted to, but for one reason or another I haven't tried it. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was making it, and so I decided to give it a try.
I trolled through a number of websites this morning looking for recipes and found that there is a conversation about what constitutes a "real" Irish Soda Bread, which essentially is nothing more than flour, baking soda and buttermilk. The different variations that have come about include egg, currants or raisins, sugar or honey, and a variety of spices. One site I was reading makes the point that in the old days, the bread was made with staples that were always on hand, and didn't include luxurious items, like cinnamon or dried fruit.
Now, while I am usually a stickler for doing things the old-fashioned-way, I actually picked a new-fangled recipe by Ina Garten, from the Food Network website. In addition to the "not-regarded-as-authentic" ingredients like eggs and sugar, hers also includes grated orange peel. You can find her recipe here.
So I made it this afternoon, and the result? Well, since I have never had "authentic" Irish Soda Bread, and thus I don't really know what it is supposed to taste like, I can say this. It is really, REALLY good.
Doesn't it look good? Thanks Ina! Oh, and if I don't get back here before Wednesday, Happy St. Paddy's!