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Kitchen Index Irish Kitchen Library

Limerick Ham

Traditionally, Limerick ham was smoked using a special recipe in which juniper berries and branches were added to the fire to produce the distinctive flavour. In the following recipe adapted from a variety of sources, the flavour is captured by scoring the ham and imbedding a mixture of berries and gin into the cuts.

One fully-cooked cured ham*
1/4 cup juniper berries; if using dried berries, soak until soft
1 1/2 cups French-style mustard
1 cup gin
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Score the ham to a depth of 1/2 inch on all sides
Rub the softened berries into the cuts
Blend the gin, brown sugar and mustard and coat the ham with this mixture on all sides
Cover with foil and bake until heated through (about ten minutes per pound)
Remove foil and bake until skin is crisp
From time to time baste with the liquid from bottom of pan.

*Not a salted, country-style ham; while any smoked ham will work with this recipe, Irish cured ham is available. An 8-lb joint can be ordered on line, but please note that this ham requires cooking: Food Ireland

Order juniper berries on line; we found several places that sell them:
Seasoned Pioneers, UK
Suttons Bay Trading
Chefs Shop
World Pantry

Juniper berries
Irish Ham
Food Ireland

That pork has always been a favorite on the Irish table can be measured in the number of recipes we have for "the other white meat." This week's offering brings our total of pork entrées to about nine or so - more than any other pound of flesh in our index. Bridget's dad would have approved!

Pork with Cider Cream Sauce
Adapted from a recipe by Paul Lewis, Chef of The Old Schoolhouse in Dublin

6 oz mushrooms, sliced
Salt, pepper and chopped parsley
2 oz flour
2 fl oz cream
1 lg. onion, chopped
330 cl cider (about 12 fluid ounces)
1 1/2 lb pork fillet
3 oz butter

1. Cut meat into 12 pieces; place each piece between 2 sheets of wax paper and pound with a rolling pin until about 1/4in thick.
2. Coat with flour. Melt butter in a pan and fry the pork pieces for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm.
3. Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan; cook until tender, but not brown. Add the remaining flour and cook for another minute; remove pan from heat
4. Gradually stir in the cider, return pan to stove-top and cook for about a minute. Add in the cooked pork and seasoning then stir in the cream.
Heat but do not boil. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.

The Old Schoolhouse Restaurant
The Old Schoolhouse dates from 1834. it was built as an infant school for the Old Boro School on the main street. It remained as a school until the early 20th century, then it was used as a children's home. Some time later it became a residence for local parishioners.

In 1982 the Sinclair family converted the building into a restaurant and opened for business in September of the same year. Head Chef Paul Lewis has been at The Old Schoolhouse for over 10 years. As a member of Eurotoques (the European Community of Chefs) he embraces the charter of only using the freshest and best ingredients available to compile his extensive menu. Paul is also one of the Five Chefs of Fingal.

If you go:
Church Road, Coolbanagher, Swords, Co. Dublin
Phone (01) 840 2846
Fax (01) 840 5060

For more authentic Irish recipes from Ireland's best restaurants, please click
The Definitive Guide to Dining in Ireland

Preparation Time: 22 minutes
Baking Time: 2 Hours
Cooking Tip: The sauce and the Glace can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated.

7-pound shank or rump-end, fully cooked bone-in smoked ham.
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons snipped chives or green part of scallions
1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a shallow roasting pan rack with foil. Set a sturdy, flat metal rack in pan.
2. Cut rind off ham and trim off excess fat, if any. Place ham on rack, sut end down. Cover loosely with foil and bake 1 1/4 hours.
3. Meanwhile whisk Glaze ingredients in one small bowl and Sauce ingredients in another small bowl until blended.
4. Remove foil from ham and spread evenly with Glaze. Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part {not touching the bone} registers 140 degrees F. Let ham rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the Sauce.
Serves 12 with leftovers.

Glazed Asparagus & Carrots with Pecans
A lemon glaze tops a springtime combination of fresh asparagus and carrots.

1 cup water
3 large (2 cups) carrots, sliced diagonally 1/4-inch
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup Butter
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

1. Place 1 cup water in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Bring to a full boil; add carrots and asparagus. Cover; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until carrots and asparagus are crisply tender (7 to 9 minutes). Drain. Set aside; keep warm.
2. Melt butter in same skillet. Stir together cornstarch, 3 tablespoons water and lemon juice in small bowl; stir into butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens (2 to 3 minutes). Stir in lemon peel.
To serve, spoon sauce over warm carrots and asparagus. Sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 6 servings

1 cup butter, softened
1 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 & cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
æ teaspoon baking soda
1 º cups buttermilk

Butter Icing:
1 cup softened butter
5 cups icing sugar alternately with 1/3 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Fluffy Icing:
1 cup white corn syrup
2 egg whites
º teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Grease sides of three 9-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla extract.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 additions of buttermilk.
4. Divide among the three prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake in the center of the oven at 350 degrees F. (180 C) oven for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
5. Run knife around edges and turn the cake out onto the rack and peel off the paper. Turn right side up, let cool on racks. While cakes are cooling, mix up the frostings.

Butter Icing
This easy all purpose icing covers the cake with delicious flavors. In a bowl, beat 1 cup softened butter till fluffy; then beat in 5 cups icing sugar alternately with 1/3 cup of milk; making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of milk. Then beat in 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

Fluffy Icing
This light-textured, not too sweet icing is ideal for matching feather-light angel food cake. It works well on cupcakes as well. Freeze any leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
In a saucepan, bring corn syrup to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, in a bowl set over simmering water, beat egg whites with cream of tarter until frothy. Beat in corn syrup in a thin steady stream; beat for about 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form.  Remove from heat; beat in vanilla.

Cake Assembly
For the basket handle, we painted one we removed from an inexpensive Easter basket.

1. Spread Butter Icing over top of two cake layers.  Place 1 of the layers on a flat serving plate and stack remaining layers on top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until icing is firm.
2. Remove 1 cup of Fluffy Icing, set aside.
3. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. While the icing is still soft, make a "basket weave" on the sides of the cake. Pull a skewer vertically from the bottom to the top at æ-inch intervals. Pull the skewer horizontally at æ-inch intervals from 1 line to the next, stopping at each line and lifting at end of the stroke.
4. Using a piping bag fitted with a º-inch plain tip, pipe the reserved icing into beads around the top and bottom edges.
5. Decorate with cookies (if you wish) propping them up with small marshmallows. Or "fill the top of the basket" with assorted Easter candies. Makes 12 servings.

Variation: One year we made Easter "grass" with shredded coconut and placed it on top of the basket cake and then placed colored eggs on top of it.  Combine 3 drops of green food coloring with æ teaspoons of water. Stir it into 1 1/2 cups of sweetened coconut flakes until evenly tinted, but you must use it immediately


Thu, Jul 9, 2015

"...the freshest of food and
the oldest of drink"
- Irish Proverb

The New Irish Table
by Margaret Johnson

Margaret Johnson’s love of Ireland permeates page after glorious page of mouthwatering Irish dishes, from Smoked Salmon Chowder to Raspberry Buttermilk Tarts. Lavish color photographs of the food, the landscapes, and the people are woven through the text, making The New Irish Table the next best thing to sitting down to dinner in Ireland itself.
Click here for New Irish Table.


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March 4, 2011
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