American Irish Soda Bread

My Irish ancestors, the McGinns, who lived in County Cork would no doubt hang me for even naming this bread like the soda bread that they used to make. It’s so not Irish Soda Bread-but American Soda Bread just sounds all wrong doesn’t it?

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While they’d hang me, they’d probably cut me down the minute they tasted the bread–as it’s delicious. It’s not dry and crumbly like most. It’s more of a light cake or treat bread. It also doesn’t have raisins which is my doing-I hate them in breads.

Make it-it’s so easy and so so so yummy!

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American Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

For bread:

  • 12.75 ozs self rising flour (I used King Arthur Brand)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4.25 ozs granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tbsp caraway seeds (or more or less per taste)
  • 1 large egg
  • 14ozs light buttermilk
  • 2 ozs unsalted butter, melted
  • feel free to add currants, dried cranberries or raisins.

For topping:

  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp sparkling sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375f. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda, sugar and seeds. Whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
  3. In another bowl add the egg and buttermilk and whisk until completely combined.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, working quickly and gently. Do not overmix. Add the butter and continue to stir gently but thoroughly to incorporate all ingredients. The dough will first seem very wet from the butter but when you continue to stir it will come together beautifully.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out and drag your finger around the inside of the pan to make a moat.
  6. Drizzle the milk over the top of the dough (the  moat will keep it from going down into the pan) and sprinkle the sugar evenly all over.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes.  When it’s done an instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read 200-210F. The top will be golden brown and a knife inserted will come out clean.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, allow it to cool for 5 minutes then run a knife around the outside to loosen any suck areas. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Yield: 1 loaf. Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s recipe.

Note: I served this with whipped honey butter. Soften 1/2 stick of butter, put it in a mixing bowl, squirt honey in to taste and go to it with your electric mixer until fluffy and light.  Use as much or as little honey as you’d like. And let your dog taste it to make sure it’s perfect.

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Roasted Chicken Stock-Stove Top

So after making this outstanding roast chicken I had put the carcass and gizzards in the freezer to make stock another time.  It worked so well-I just let them defrost on a baking sheet for about an hour.

This stock is delicious. It’s got that deep chicken flavor that amazing chicken soups have-so many layers of tasty.  Roasting the carcass and gizzards makes a huge difference in the end product. It really brings out the great flavors in what’s left on the bones. Don’t skip that step. This photo really shows the deep color well.

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Roasted Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • Carcass, gizzards, and neck from one 5-6lb roast chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pat of butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped large
  • 2 celery stalks cut into 1/2 inch lengths
  • 1 large carrot cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 9-11 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic cut into a few pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 glurg of apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Place carcass and chicken pieces on a roasting pan lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes.
  4. While chicken is roasting sautee the onion, celery and carrot slowly to brown them in a large dutch oven. When they’re brown but still very firm add the broth and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the garlic and all of the chicken pieces to the vegetables. Pour water over all until it covers the chicken completely plus a bit more. Add the bay leaf and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Cook for 3 hours, skimming any foam that appears and adding water as needed to cover the chicken.
  7. Discard the carcass and pour through a strainer into a large bowl to remove any pieces. Press the vegetables to remove all of the liquid. Discard carcass and left over vegetable pieces.
  8. Allow to cool then place the bowl in the fridge overnight. In the morning skim off the fat that has collected on the top. It’s very easy to use a fine screen spider for this.
  9. Pour, through the same spider, into jars or bags for freezing.

This recipe makes 1 28oz jar and 1 quart sized zip lock bag.

This is the roasted carcass and bits. Those extra roasted pieces make a big difference in flavor!

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Perfect Roast Chicken

Winter is one of those times of year when I love to have something cooking for a while that fills the house with an amazing cozy aroma. Chili, stew, soups-they all fit the bill. So does a fabulous roasting chicken.  I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a serious mental aversion to touching cooked chicken on the bone-except for buffalo wings for some reason-so if I roast a chicken husband has to be home to help me out.  I don’t think he minds 😉 he gets to pick off as many bits as he likes. But I digress. I do not have an aversion to touching raw chicken. So……

Anyway, here’s the recipe for what really is the Perfect Roast Chicken. Crisp skin. Juicy meat. Look at that beauty!

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Perfect Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 roasting chicken (5-6lbs)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 large lemon, cut in half
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 2-3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thick
  • 4 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425f.
  2. Remove the giblets, neck etc.. and put aside.  Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Check out your chicken for any feathers, large pieces of fat etc.. and remove.
  3. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Really load it up. Then put the thyme, lemon and garlic inside.
  4. Brush the butter all over the chicken. Liberally salt and pepper the outside then tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the body.
  5. Toss the veggies with olive oil and spread around the bottom of the pan.  Rest your chicken right on top of them.
  6. Roast for 40 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook until an instant read thermometer stuck into the thickest part reads 165. It will be about 90 minutes.
  7. Place the chicken and veggies on a tray and let them rest, covered with foil, for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

You’ll want to keep the giblets, neck and carcass for stock. Just throw them all in a ziplock and put them in the freezer. Here is the recipe for the stock!! It’s delicious!

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Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.