In honor of the twin events of Saint Bridget’s Day (February 1st) and the release of my second County Cork Mystery, Scandal in Skibbereen (February 4th) this past week, I went hunting for an Irish recipe.
I know what you’re thinking: potatoes and cabbage, boiled, with maybe some butter thrown in. But there’s so much more! Irish cooking has improved immeasurably in the past decade, from country pub to Dublin white tablecloth venues, and now it’s much more interesting.
I found one promising possibility in Margaret M. Johnson’s delightful Irish Pub Cookbook. But of course I had to tinker with it. You know, I hated it when my mother departed from a recipe—I used to whine, “why can’t you just make it like the book says, the first time?” Of course, her idea of tinkering was adding a dash of vermouth. So why do I find myself doing it now? Yup, changing things. No vermouth, though.
The first thing that struck me in reading the recipe was that it called for 5- to 6- ounce bone-in chicken breasts. I do prefer the bone-in type, especially if the dish cooks for a bit, because they’re more flavorful. What stopped me cold was the “5 to 6 ounce” measure. We buy chicken at our local supermarket and hunt for the smallest breasts possible. I weighed one when I made this dish and it turned out to be 13 ounces. More twice the Irish size. That’s ridiculous. Why can’t we find reasonable-size chickens here?
Anyway, this is a tasty, healthy dish with an Irish flavor. It’s not quick, but the slow cooking give you a tender and juicy piece of chicken.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin on
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 Tblsp parsley, minced
1 Tblsp fresh rosemary
2 cups shredded cabbage
1-1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade/canned/from a bouillon cube)
And my own little twist—a tablespoon or two of Irish whiskey
|Huge, aren't they?|
Tuck the garlic cloves, carrots, onions and bay leaves around and between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the parsley and rosemary. Lay the cabbage in an even layer on top and season with salt and pepper.
|Hmm, the bottle seems|
to be empty
To serve, place a piece of chicken on the plate and spoon the vegetables and sauce over it.
And raise a glass to Saint Bridget! (Oh, all right, Saint Patrick if you must, but he’ll get his turn later.)
sé mo leabhar nua.
That means, "this is my new book" in Irish. It's great reading for a miserable winter day--the crumbling manor house, a lost painting, old family secrets, and the final reveal in the drawing room over tea.
And! There are pictures of places that appear in the book here on Pinterest.