[dropcap]If[/dropcap] you don’t feel like fighting crowds, you can celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in your own home. OKC chef Scotty Irani gave us one of his favorite Irish recipes.

Photo courtesy of Scotty Irani.
Photo courtesy of Scotty Irani.

Irish Cheddar and Stout Potato Au Gratin

  • 2-2½ lbs Golden Yukon potatoes, washed and unpeeled
  • 2 cups sliced leeks, washed and dried
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter (more if needed)
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup Irish stout or porter
  • 6 oz Irish cheddar, shredded
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • To taste In the Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line” all purpose seasoning (or salt and pepper)
  • ½ cup fresh minced curly parsley

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Begin slicing your cleaned and dried potatoes, preferably unpeeled, to about the thickness of a quarter. Add to a bowl and toss the slices with 1/4 cup of flour. Set aside and pull out your favorite cast iron skillet or heavy bottom oven proof skillet, at least 12” diameter.

Add the three tablespoons of butter and begin melting. Then add the washed and dried sliced leeks to the pan and lightly sauté until tender. Remove from the pan. With the pan still heating, add a little more butter if needed, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Begin “shingling” in the sliced potatoes: just overlap each slice like roof shingles. For best results, go in a circle starting with the outside edge, coiling around until reaching the center of the pan. Be mindful to work rather quickly, as the heat is still on and you are slowly pan frying the first layer. Be careful to not burn that layer.

Sprinkle the first layer with salt and pepper, a good sprinkle of minced parsley, followed with a good layer of the shredded cheddar. Repeat the layering process with a new layer of potatoes, the seasonings, parsley and cheddar to follow. Continue until all the potatoes and parsley have been used. Reserve a good handful of the cheese for the gratin on top.

Whisk together the whole milk and stout in a bowl. Pour into the pan over the potatoes, careful to watch for steam and splattering. Top with the remaining cheese and place in the oven. Cook approximately 40-45 minutes or until the potato slices are tender and the top is a golden brown gratin. Remove from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Scotty Irani.
Photo courtesy of Scotty Irani.

Currant and Thyme Soda Bread

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 3/4 cups whole buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup dried currants (Chopped dried cranberry works well, too.)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Flour a cool work surface and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Next, add the two tablespoons of flour to the dried currants and toss.

Combine the flour, salt, soda and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine evenly. Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and begin “cutting in” with a pastry cutter, or “rub in” with your hands. Think of the biscuit method and cut the butter in to the size of large peas.

Combine the buttermilk and the large egg in a bowl. Beat in the egg to combine. Pour the buttermilk/egg mixture into the flour/butter mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon mix to moisten, then continue working with your hands. Add the fresh thyme and kneed the wet dough until all the dry ingredients are combined to a wet dough.

Turn out the dough onto your floured surface. Sprinkle in the coated dried currants and begin needing the dough. Kneed to a slightly sticky, smooth, loose ball of dough. Place the soda bread onto the parchment paper-lined pan. With a sharp knife, cut a cross through the center of the dough. Place the soda bread into the oven and bake 50-55 minutes, or until cake tester, through the center, comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve with sweet butter, topped with crunchy salt. Leftover soda bread (if any) makes delicious french toast, bread pudding, pan fried croutons or stuffing.

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