Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brown Soda Bread and Irish Stew

After trying my hand at Indian flatbreads, I decided it was time for me to graduate to something a little bit more complicated. I found a recipe for soda bread in the March issue of Cooking Light, and I thought it sounded like it may fit the bill. I had been really wanting to make something Irish for St. Patrick's Day this year. It's funny; I've got a lot of Irish in my blood, but up until a week ago I had never made any type of Irish cuisine. I set out to change that.

To my slight disappointment, though, I realized when I actually read through the soda bread recipe that it was going to be easy to make! I was bummed. I had been looking to do something that would challenge me a little more than the flatbread had, but this was not it. My disappointment didn't last very long, though. I was still getting to bake bread, which was going to be fun, no matter what. It turns out that this bread is a quick bread. It contains all kinds of nice, healthy ingredients, such as whole wheat flour, wheat bran, and steel-cut oats. The oats in particular are something I've had on hand for a while but haven't been able to use yet. Now was my chance!

After a quick mix of ingredients, a transfer into a loaf pan, and a trip to the oven to bake for 65 minutes, it was all done. It smelled wonderful, and it tasted even better. The kids and I were snacking on it while I made dinner that night, and it was pretty addictive. Now that I've finally made a quick bread, I want to do it again sometime soon. It's such little effort, for such great reward. I could get used to having homemade bread around all the time.

The main dish that evening was Pork and Guinness Stew. I know, another recipe using beer. I've really been stepping outside my comfort zone lately. Ordinarily this wouldn't be something I'd make, but when I read through the recipe it just sounded yummy to me, and a good way to dip my toe into the world of Irish cuisine. I substituted pork for the beef in the original dish, and threw in a sweet potato while omitting a parsnip (we just don't like them around here). The result was a very delicious, very hearty meal that was well worth the length of time it took to bubble away on the stove. I have to say, we've been very happy with our monthly Cooking Light magazines; nearly everything we cook from them truly make us forget we are eating so healthy!

The recipe for the Brown Soda Bread can be found here.
The recipe for the Beef (or in our case, pork) and Guinness Stew can be found here.

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