Ham it up this St Patrick’s Day
The Dunbrody House’s star chef, Kevin Dundon, shares his favourite recipes
AS WE are getting an extra bank holiday, I am sharing two great recipes which are easily prepared to celebrate what makes Ireland a beautiful country to live in. First is the traditional bacon with parsley sauce. It is regarded by some in America and around the world as the most traditional Irish dish there is. Although I like the traditional recipe, this version using a glaze of honey, mustard, marmalade and cider works wonderfully with the bacon. Loin of bacon is most often used for back rashers, but it also makes a wonderful joint or can be cut into bacon chops. Most bacon now doesn’t need to be soaked overnight but it is probably worth checking with your butcher. The parsley sauce is a traditional sauce which can be compared to bechamel sauce. What I like to do is to add some of the bacon cooking liquor to bring the saltiness and bacon flavour right into the sauce. Try it with a side of any greens if you’re not fond of cabbage, it’s delicious. If you are lucky enough to have any bacon leftover, make a favourite of mine — the BLT. However, if you prefer a fry, why not try my brunch option with some leftover potatoes. Sauté them with the bacon and any add-ons such as sausages or black and white pudding. If you serve the breakfast in the same pan, add the eggs once the rest of the ingredients are cooked. Finally, add a cube or two of butter once the eggs are cooked to enhance the flavour, you won’t be disappointed. Happy cooking,
Glazed Loin of Irish Bacon with Parsley Sauce
Ingredients (serves 6):
■ Glazed loin of bacon:
■ 900g loin of bacon
■ 2 carrots
■ 1 onion
■ 2 tbsp chopped parsley
■ 1 tbsp mustard
■ 4 tbsp honey
■ 100ml cider
■ 4 tbsp marmalade
■ For the roast potatoes:
■ 6 rooster potatoes, cut into chunks
■ 50g sunflower oil
■ Salt and pepper, to season
■ For the parsley sauce:
■ 25g butter
■ 25g flour
■ 300ml milk
■ 100ml bacon cooking water, optional
■ 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. Place the loin of bacon in a large pan with the carrots, onion, and parsley. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour until completely tender. Keep some cooking water for the parsley sauce.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
3. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes or until part-boiled.
4. Drain the water, shake the potatoes in the pan to fluff them and transfer on a roasting tin with some oil. Toss the potatoes in the fat and season well. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes until well-coloured. Keep aside warm.
5. Prepare the glaze in a pan with the honey, mustard, marmalade and cider, heat gently until dissolved. Remove the loin of bacon from the water.
6. Place the loin of bacon in a small roasting tin and brush all over with the glaze, pouring any remainder around the loin. Roast for 25-30 minutes until completely heated through and coloured, basting occasionally.
7. Prepare the parsley sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the flour and mix until combined. Cook on a low heat for 1 minute to take the taste of the raw flour away.
8. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to stir until it comes to the boil again. Cook on a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and add cooking water from the bacon and parsley. Check the seasoning and keep warm and covered until required.
9. Remove the bacon from the oven and leave in a warm place for a few minutes.
10. To serve, carve the bacon into slices, and serve with the roast potatoes, some greens and warm parsley sauce.
St Patrick’s Breakfast Brunch
Ingredients (serves 2):
■ 1 tbsp olive oil
■ 6 slices dry cured bacon
■ 2 potatoes, cooked and cooled
■ 1 onion, sliced
■ 2 tbsp butter
■ 2 eggs
■ Pinch salt and pepper
■ 1 sprig of fresh parsley
1 Heat a large frying pan, over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
2 Place the bacon in the pan, and cook until crispy.
3 Add the onions and potatoes and cook on a low heat until caramelised or for about 2-3 minutes.
4 Add the butter and when it begins to foam, add the eggs.
5 Cook for 3-4 minutes until cooked to your liking.
6 Season with a little salt and pepper.
7 Remove from the heat and serve immediately in the frying pan with a garnish of parsley.
8 Serve with buttery toast and a mug of tea.
TOP TIP: Mushrooms, sausages, pudding, tomatoes and beans can be added to make this a full Irish Breakfast, served with some buttery toast, perfect for bringing the whole family together this St Patrick’s Day.
TOP TIP: DRY CURED VERSUS SOAKED
Ireland and bacon comes as one. If you love either streaky or the back bacon rashers, you need to look for dry cured bacon versus the basic salty soaked rashers.
The process involves rubbing a dry cure mix of sea salt and sugar into the meat. Then it is cured naturally for three weeks and turned regularly with more salt and sugar mix reapplied.
One of my favourites is O’Neill’s bacon produced in Enniscorthy in Wexford by Pat O’Neill’s family and available in most supermarkets. Check out oneillsbacon.ie.
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