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Corned Beef, Whiskey, and a Celtic Culinary Tiger

Corned Beef, Whiskey, and a Celtic Culinary Tiger


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For some, St. Patrick's Day means wearing green, getting wasted, and maybe eating corned beef and cabbage. But there's so much more to St. Patrick's Day and to contemporary Irish cuisine. To find out more about its culinary traditions we turned to one of America's most renowned Irish-born chefs, Cathal (the 't' is silent) Armstrong.

In the Tasting Room at Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria, which he co-owns with his wife Meshelle, the chef will be serving a celebratory seven-course "Irish Feast" for $125 per person. Read more about the Feast, his favorite whiskey, and why you should continue to look for more great food from Ireland.

Which stereotypes does your annual Irish Feast eschew?
Corned beef [laughs]. No corned beef. Yeah, it seems that the history of corned beef is a little muddled. It was probably invented, they think, in Boston, where Irish settlers met with Jewish settlers. Because there was — we never saw corned beef. There is, the canned, process thing that in the dark times you had in your sandwich, but never in a meal the way you have it here. It was much more typical to see boiling bacon rather than corned beef.

Do you like corned beef?
When it’s made well it’s good. But most often, it’s the processed product. I’ve made it at the restaurant and I’ll tell you, when you buy good brisket and cure it properly it is really delicious.

What can we look forward to on your menu?
The big thing about St. Patrick’s Day is the context. In Ireland it’s a very big religious holiday that is much more similar to Thanksgiving celebrations rather than the big drunken street festival you tend to find in America. Traditionally, we would go to church and spend the day with family. There’s a parade in the city like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Generally, St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent, and Ireland has such a strong Catholic population, and this is the one day during Lent when you break the vow of appetite. So a huge percentage of Irish people will give up alcohol and sweets during Lent, and it was the one day during Lent that it was okay to break your vow. We would always have a family-style meal.

What would you eat?
It’s a springtime meal, so there would be a lot of lamb. Salmon too, it’s a pretty well regarded celebratory dish. A lot of families would serve salmon. Another dish is roast beef — that appeals to everyone. We always had lamb on St. Patrick’s Day. Usually it was roast leg of lamb. We were a big family and my grandparents would come over and we’d make a roast leg of lamb and with that you had a decent-sized meal — you wouldn’t really be serving a small cut.

When did you start the annual feast?
The first St. Patrick’s Day at Restaurant Eve we did a celebration with a tasting menu. Basically it had dishes with ingredients that are indigenous to Ireland. We’ve continued doing that.

What about this year's feast?
This year we got a wild salmon from Ireland. Wild-caught Atlantic salmon is very hard to find. But I spent some time working on it and I was eventually able to find some. We’ll make a white pudding, the Irish style of boudin blanc, which is coarser. Traditional boudin blanc is emulsified with cream, but the Irish style has more pork folded into it, so it does not have that creamy texture. Then we’ll have braised cabbage, and for the meat course we’ll have a little rack of lamb. The lamb will be spiced — because another dish we serve at this time of year is called spiced beef.

Can you talk about the spice, or is it a trade secret?
Black pepper, allspice, clove – those wintery spices, and a little bit of brown sugar. Then we’re doing Cashel Blue, which is made near the town of Cashel. It’s the first farmhouse Irish cheese to make it to the mass market. I was actually just there a few weeks ago. They’re wonderful – in 1983 when they started, the mom was making six wheels a day in the house. Now, they’re making 200 tons a year. It’s just a really excellent, excellent cheese. Full-flavored enough for blue cheese lovers, but mild enough if it’s your first blue that it’s definitely smooth. I don’t know yet what the dessert will be, but it will have Irish whiskey in it [laughs]. Probably a Basque cake – a custardy cake with Irish whisky.

Do you have a favorite whiskey?
My favorite… I would have to say I have two favorites. My first favorite if we don’t include cost, is Middleton. But Middleton is super-duper expensive. If cost is no matter, then Redbreast. It’s really, really delicious and it’s half the price.

Have you done the same menu for the feast each year?
We change it every year, it has really evolved over the years from being originally a meal where what we did was an interpretation of classic Irish dishes, where now we’re almost making a modern Irish cuisine with ingredients that are indigenous. These wouldn’t be the kind of dishes that you’d see anywhere else because these are definitely our dishes, but with strong Irish influences. We had a funny story that happened, you can print it or not print it.

What happened?
In one of the first years we made the feast, it was the only menu that was available. So we had one party that called and made one reservation for five for the tasting room, and they were told it was the special tasting menu, and they said, “Yes, yes.”And they had a reservation for the St. Patrick’s Day menu with a party of six. And then they sit down and they say, “We don’t eat black pudding.”And we said, “But when you made the reservation we told you that it was a tasting menu and that these were the things that were going to be served, and now you’re telling me you don’t eat this food, and unfortunately this is the only menu that we’ve prepared.”

What did you do?
[Laughs] We ended up at a little bit of an impasse. How did we negotiate a new menu? Well, it was a challenge, and not fun. One of those things when you have that conversation that tells them what they’re getting into and they say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” but they're not really listening to you.

What about Irish food don't people know that you wish they did?
Well, I think most people when you say Irish food have the idea that it would be impossible for an elegant cuisine to come from Ireland. That’s what happens when the only Irish cuisine you know is overcooked, mushy everything. But the thing about Ireland is that agriculturally it’s very wealthy. It’s the same latitude as Newfoundland, but unlike in Newfoundland, with Ireland, the Gulf Stream from Florida comes across the Atlantic and keeps the climate moderate. You know the way the seas freeze around Newfoundland, well with Ireland it doesn’t. That’s one of the reasons it's known as the Emerald Island because of the temperate climate. From a food perspective you can farm outdoors year round. So say for example, with tomatoes in the best years you can get decent tomatoes, but there’s a broad palette of food available year round. Just thinking about my father’s micro garden for example — he has great apples, pears, cherries, plums, leeks, cabbage, potatoes, rhubarb, radishes, beets, asparagus – and these are just things that my Dad grew. That’s one aspect.


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

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© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil next 3 ingredients in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Step 2

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

How would you rate Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze?

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices


Watch the video: Giant Prawns with Whiskey and Curry (May 2022).