One Dish Meals

Irish Skillet

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Irish Skillet

I know that some of you are busy roasting your Thanksgiving turkeys, but here in Ontario the aroma of roasting gobblers is but a faint memory tickling our brains and we have settled in to preparing comfort foods before the festive Christmas gourmet goodies are given priority on our tables.

One new comfort dish that I discovered completely by accident these last few weeks was this Irish Skillet dinner. Aside from the fact that it all cooks in one dish, there were a number of things that drew me in.

A. It uses cabbage! I love cooked cabbage.

B. It asks for apple juice. Yes! My eyes perked up at that idea. I can feature our fresh cider.

C. It’s naturally gluten-free, if you’re careful about which beef broth and Worcestershire sauce you use (French’s Worcestershire sauce does not contain gluten). 

D. And finally, it’s Irish! Lots of warm fuzzies here. Because it’s Irish, it gives me license to look at my photos from a couple of years ago when we visited the Emerald Isle. I will share some of them with you as we go along. Here are a few to get started. Ireland possesses a wild rugged beauty and the people match the landscape. 

 

I mumbled something to my daughter-in-law through my mouthful of the hash about the fact that it’s not exactly the prettiest dish in the world, and she replied that Irish food is not really known for its ascetic beauty, but for its taste. We both agreed that it was not lacking in the taste department whatsoever. I thought of various regional Irish dishes and this pretty much holds true for most of the foods. It tastes amazing, but it ain’t so much for looks. Sorry, Dad! I know you believed that food first should appeal to the eyes before it enters the stomach, and most of the time I agree with you. Here are some food pictures.

 

I made Irish soda bread to accompany the meal, of course, and it brought back fun memories of the Dublin giant who taught us how to make the bread, tossing the eggs to us as we were ready. Not a single one broke, believe it or not. He also taught us how to dance an Irish reel. He was definitely a highlight of that part of our organized tour. He also informed us that he’s single, for those of us who might be interested in that tidbit. Which I wasn’t, naturally.

 

The stories and recipes are provided by yours truly, sponsored by Martin’s family Fruit Farm. 

People often ask what the difference is between apple cider and apple juice. In our country, fresh apple cider is simply apples crushed and squeezed to produce a fresh tasting nectar. Apple juice, on the other hand, has been boiled and canned, sometimes made with a concentrate and water, and doesn’t have that fresh apple taste. One half bushel of apples will produce 1 1/2 gallon of cider. A variety of sweet and tart apples makes the best cider.

Fresh Apple Cider

 

Irish Skillet

Ingredients

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For the Sauce: 

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

For the Skillet:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound frozen hash browns or raw potatoes, chopped in 1″ pieces
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet, and brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Add the oil, chopped bacon and frozen or fresh potatoes. (I used frozen hash browns, but next time I will use fresh chopped unpeeled potatoes. I think it would look nicer and be less mushy.) Cook uncovered over medium heat until the bacon and potatoes are starting to brown. Stir periodically to keep from sticking. Add the cabbage and the sauce and cook another 5 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve with Irish soda bread for the real deal.