Happy St. Patrick's Day! My last year's holiday feast is pictured above. I still prepare the Irish American tradition of a boiled Corned Beef and Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots blend, and Irish Soda Bread. The past two years I've also included a Shepard's Pie at our holiday feast, because my entire family is now able to dine together, since my husband and I moved to Colorado from New York City. We have a full table again!
Last year my Shepard's Pie was topped with sweet potatoes for a change up.
This year I went back to regular potato topping with grated Dubliner brand Irish cheddar cheese on top. Both versions are fabulous! I make Shepard's Pie quite a bit all year long, and also change up the mix from ground beef, ground lamb, to ground turkey -- we like all mixes equally well. It is a complete and delicious meal! If you don't already have your own favorite recipe for Shepard's Pie, I promise to share my recipe the next time I prepare it.
My grandchildren have just a drop of Irish in their heritage. They are also part Italian, Ukrainian, German, English, Scottish, Dutch ......and who knows what! True Americans! The baby loved the soda bread this year and the boys loved playing with their Daddy's vintage Star Wars toys more than eating. Both boys have been ill with a croupy cough the past week, so I babysat the little grandson a few days so my daughter-in-law could still teach her pre-school classes. The other days of the week I babysat my granddaughter. I'm a busy grandmother all week long, but I love to help out whenever I can.
I gave my Irish Soda Bread recipe a few years ago on this post. Even though I am cooking it at the high altitude, now that I live at 6,200 feet, it came out delicious as always without any alterations -- a big relief!
This year I added an extra Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread to our holiday dinner so that my daughter-in-law and younger grandson, who both must eat gluten free, could also enjoy it. It was another relief as it came out wonderful! I'm sharing the recipe so that all who need to eat gluten free can enjoy it this St. Patrick's Day, and all year round.
Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
2 cups all purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix--I used King Arthur Flour Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
I cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a cookie sheet with butter, oil, shortening or non stick GF spray
In a bowl mix well GF flour mix, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, caraway seeds, raisins
In electric mixer bowl add butter, sugar and whip until blended. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing slowly, alternating with buttermilk, until both are all added, ending with the flour mix.
Remove dough from mixing bowl to a well gluten free floured surface and knead gently a few times until the mixture comes together as a ball. Place the ball on the greased cookie sheet. With a knife, cut a cross into the dough across the top. Place in 450 F oven for five minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees F for another 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown in color and sounds hollow when you tap on it. Remove from oven and pan to a cooling rack and cool. Wrap in aluminum foil and keep refrigerated, if not serving right away. You can re-heat in a low oven before serving.
The loaf rose beautifully, and held its shape well when cut into slices. My son said that the taste was almost exactly the same as my regular soda bread! Success! Leftover slices are wonderful toasted and served with butter and jam.
Of course St. Patrick's Day means more than food, or parades or wearing green or any of the other traditions that have evolved around the holiday. It is really about blessed Saint Patrick himself. We honor him as the saint who converted many of Ireland's pagans to Christianity through his mission in the early part of the Fifth Century. I visited his grave in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, a few years ago, as you can see in the photo above. I also visited the St. Patrick Centre in Downpatrick that told the story of his life in beautiful exhibits. You can click here to read the post I did for both sights.
One of the exhibits in the Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.
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