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Chef’s Corner: Luck of the Irish

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- ‘Tis the time of year for shamrocks, leprechauns and green beer. If you’re looking for a recipe that will give you a taste of the old country, here's how to whip a stew seeped in history and tradition. Recipes follow report.

Kathy Mulvaney has spent her entire life in a bar. She says, “I remember being real small, learning how to pour a pint when I could barely reach the taps.”

Mulvaney moved to the states from Ireland when she was 16. Today she’s the proud owner of the Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub. She says pubs are a major part of Irish life. “You get married, you go to the bar. You die, you go to the bar," she says.

Another tradition is the food, like Irish stew and shepherd's pie. Mulvaney says, “Stew is one of the oldest recipes that you can find from old times in Ireland because they had these ingredients readily available at all times.” Those ingredients are basic -- beef, carrots, potatoes and onions.

When cooking Irish stew, Mulvaney says not to cut up the vegetables too small because it’s nice to see them in the stew, as well as taste the flavor. Then dump the beef, onions and carrots in a large pot with just enough water to cover everything. Next, season. Mulvaney uses salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and some celery salt.

Bring the stew to a boil, then let it simmer for two hours. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes. Again, Mulvaney says, “You don’t want to chop them too small or they’ll fall apart in the stew.” Add the potatoes during the last 25 minutes. Also, don’t forget the secret ingredient, Guinness, but if you’re planning on serving it right away because it doesn’t store well.

One of Mulvaney's favorite dishes is shepherd's pie -- beef or lamb stew topped with mashed potatoes. “I use a pastry bag because it’s quicker and easier,” she says. Put it in the broiler for 20 minutes, and your Irish feast is ready.

For Mulvaney and her patrons, it’s a reminder of the old country. “A lot of, especially the single lads, when they’re done working they like to come in and have a pie, it makes them feel like they’re at home,” she says.

Kathy Mulvaney's Recipes:

         Irish Stew
         Colcannon
         Soda Bread
         Cottage Pie


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