In Ireland, land of my grandfather's birth
Many a good thing comes out of the earth
Roots like potatoes as sure as you'd think
Or the barley that goes in the Guinness we drink
And drinking it's fine but there's more we can do
There's pint and a half of it cooked in this stew
Since I have a meeting on Wednesday night, I spent part of the weekend making up a proper Irish stew for St. Patrick's day. The bulk of the time, as always, was cutting up vegetables, and having never worked with rutabaga before, I was unprepared for the amount of effort required to render it into bite-sized chunks. Searing the stew beef was relatively easy, but judging from the dimensions I came across, it is obvious that the definition of "cube" is pretty subjective. Using the tongs to stand un-cooperative rectangles of meat on their narrow end in some flesh-derived Jenga variant while flinching as bits of grease pop like corn is not nearly as a good a time as you might think, but in the end everything got prepped and into the fridge in good order.
This morning it all got tossed into the crock pot along with two and a half cups of Guinness, some garlic, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and the like. Regrettably, draught Guinness is sold in cans of 440 mL and are not re-sealable, which is why my daughter entered the kitchen this morning to find me finishing a bowl of Corn Pops and then chasing it with the better part of a pint of the black stuff.
"What's that you're drinking daddy?" Fenya inquired.
"Guinness," says I.
She nodded as she headed to the cupboard for a bowl. "Nice."
By suppertime it was done to a turn, although the broth was a bit thin, so Audrey helped me extract some so she could make a roux, and after we seasoned that up we had a real winner on our hands.
Best of all, there was plenty left over, so on Tuesday night, before St. Paddy's Day, we will eat our Irish stew in front of the television and watch "The Quiet Man", possibly the best movie ever made about Ireland, and certainly my favourite.
This Wednesday, I hope you all have the opportunity to share a bowl of simple food served hot with your loved ones, or a chance to hear a sentimental song from the old sod, or to listen as someone with a brogue in their voice makes you laugh (or cry as the case may be). It's said that on St. Patrick's Day, there are only two kinds of people: the Irish, and those that wish they were. I can't say that's true, but I'm very glad for that part of my heritage, and only too happy to share the best parts of it with you.
May the hinges on our friendship never grow rusty!