Cooking with Clodagh McKenna
St. Patrick’s Day may be known for green-colored beer and shamrocks, but it’s also an opportunity to indulge in some authentic Irish cuisine. We asked chef Clodagh McKenna — dubbed “Ireland’s answer to Rachael Ray” — what we should cook up this Sunday. Her pick? “Definitely a stew,” she says, like her bacon and cabbage recipe (“something to warm your cockles”) or her Guinness and beef stew (see below) from her new book, “Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries.”
Guinness and beef stew
“The longer and the lower temperature that you cook this stew, the better the flavor,” McKenna says.
2 tablespoons butter
14 bacon slices, chopped
10½ oz. shallots, left whole
2 ¼ lb. stewing beef, cubed
14 oz. mixed wild mushrooms
1 quart Guinness
1 bouquet garni
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
2 Put the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the bacon, followed by the shallots. Cook until golden brown and transfer to a large baking dish.
3 Add the beef to the frying pan. Season it with salt and pepper, then cook until it’s browned all over. Transfer to the baking dish.
4 Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for two minutes. Season to taste and transfer to the baking dish.
5 Return the frying pan to the stove over medium heat and use a whisk to scrape off all the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan (this is where the flavor is). Pour in the Guinness and continue to whisk for another minute to deglaze the pan. Pour the Guinness and pan juices over the beef and vegetables in the baking dish. Add the bouquet garni, cover the baking dish and cook in the oven for two hours.
6 Check the seasoning, remove the bouquet garni and serve with roasted potatoes.
McKenna mixes authentic Irish flavors with other global tastes to create her signature fusion dishes.
“I grew up in Cork, in the south of Ireland. I used to spend my summers in France, and then I left to New York when I was 19. After that, I came back to Ireland and trained as a chef and then moved to the north of Italy for three and a half years. In the book, there’s quite a lot of cuisines: There’s British cuisine, there’s Irish [and] there’s French and Italian. I see recipes and I try to make them my own. The book is like a little companion of foods that I want to eat throughout the year.”