Beer, cheese and potatoes come together in greatness that makes Ireland what it is today. Try not to lick your screen.
By Nicole Buckler
As St Patrick’s Day approaches at breakneck speed, we must make sure our Irish food game is strong. Gone are the days of bacon and cabbage and having your house smell like an old people’s home while making it. Now, for those who are of the type of sophistication equalling an unmanned Dáil Éireann, there is Potato Fondue. Who cares that a blizzard is fast approaching? We have spuds. And they are fancy.
So what’s so good about this St. Patrick’s Day recipe? Well, it combines potatoes, beer, pig, cheese and good times. And that’s our favourite recipe of all. Colourful, roasted potatoes will really impress the pants off your friends on St. Patrick’s Day. Just don’t let grandad take off his actual pants, he’ll never find them again.
Chef to the stars Mary Giuliani has unleashed a cookbook called The Cocktail Party: Eat Drink, Play, Recover. She sounds like my kind of woman. But she also busts out some recipes for us to try too while we are walking through a forest of oversized cocktails. One recipe that has garnered my strict attention is this Irish Potato Fondue recipe. It mixes all the goodness of rich Irish Stout with pig – and who doesn’t like a bit of pig on St Patrick’s Day? Yes throw in that savoury bacon and then you add in creamy cheddar. And why not? Warm cheese makes everything better. And I mean EVERYTHING. It’s stout. It’s pig. It’s cheese. In an orgy of taste. I need to lie down… the excitement levels around here are so high.
If you successfully make it without drinking all the stout and burning down your house, you will end up with a dippable delight that pairs perfectly with a rainbow of red, yellow and purple roasted potatoes. While these rainbow-style potatoes can be hard to track down, don’t be put off having a fight in Supervalu over them with house spouses harbouring the same recipe as you. Hitting someone with a punnet of strawberries is entirely valid in such competitive times.
Just don’t forget the skewers while you are at the supermarket. We aren’t Celtic savages living in a bog after all.
Here is the recipe. YOU ARE WELCOME.
Irish Potato Fondue
Prep time: 10
Cook time: 30
Serves 8-10 guests
1 cup of russet potatoes, cut into cubes
1 cup purple potatoes, cut into cubes
1 cup of fingerling potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup Guinness or your favourite Irish Stout
1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup single cream.
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. dry mustard powder
3 cups Irish Cheddar, shredded
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss cubed potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Place potatoes on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and crispy. Shake the tray several times to check on crispness.
In a medium saucepan, add beer, half and half, flour and mustard powder. Warm the liquid and begin adding the cheese while whisking until melted.
Remove from heat and add black pepper, salt and nutmeg.
Place back on hob and cook while stirring to get a smooth consistency. Add more beer if it is too thick or more cheese if too thin.
Transfer mixture to a fondue pot fitted with a votive candle.
Top with crumbled cooked bacon and stir. Serve with roasted potatoes. To keep the fondue at its ideal consistency, stir it intermittently.
Then eat. With friends. Or foes. It’s all good, because if you are eating with foes, remember, you still have the skewers.