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An Irish Christmas Day Menu
to serve 6

Irish Soda Bread
Consomme with Celery
Roast Turkey with Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing
Creamed Brussels Sprouts
Mincemeat Pie

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or more

Combine the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.
Mix thoroughly. Add the buttermilk, working with your hands to make
a dough firm enough to hold its shape. Add more buttermilk if
necessary. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for 2 to 3
minutes. The texture should be smooth and velvety. Form into a
round loaf. Place on a well buttered baking sheet. Cut a cross into
the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake in a preheated 375
deg F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The loaf is done when it is browned
and has a hollow sound when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Consomme with Celery

4 pounds meaty beef shanks
2 onions, quartered
1 carrot, quartered
3-1/2 quarts water

2 cups water
2 celery ribs
1-1/2 tsp salt
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp thyme

1 5 to 7-pound stewing hem, halved
neck, heart and gizzard of hen, chopped

3 Tbsp butter 1-1/2 cups chopped celery ribs and leaves
1/2 cup chopped leek
1/2 cup minced celery leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Have your butcher saw the beef shanks into 1-inch pieces. Spread
the shanks, onion and carrot in a large baking pan. Brown in a
preheated 450 deg F oven for 20 minutes, turning once. Transfer
the meat and vegetables to a kettle, adding the 3-1/2 quarts of
water. Pour the 2 cups water into the baking pan; bring to a boil,
scraping up any bits of meat or vegetables clinging to the bottom.
Pour the liquid into the kettle. Add the celery, salt, parsley,
bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, skimming away any froth that
rises to the surface. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 3 hours. Add
boiling water, if necessary, to keep ingredients covered. Add the
hen, neck, heart and gizzard to the beef stock. Add boiling water
to cover. Skim away any froth that rises to the surface. Simmer
uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours or until the liquid is reduced to 2
quarts. Remove the hen. Strain the stock and let cool. Chill until
the fat congeals (solidifies) on the surface. Scrape away the fat.
Bring the stock to a simmer. Melt the butter in a kettle. Add the
chopped celery and leek. Cover and let the vegetables steam for
20 minutes. Add the beef stock and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Strain. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the consomme with minced
celery leaves.

Roast Turkey with Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing

1 20 to 12-pound turkey
salt and pepper

Wash the turkey under cold water. Pat dry. Lightly salt and
pepper inside and outside of the bird. Set aside.

For the Stuffing:

1-1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts
1 cup beef bouillon
1 celery
2 sprigs parsley
1/2 bay leaf

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 chopped onion
the turkey liver, minced
1/2 cup port or Madeira wine
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork fat
2 eggs beaten
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
pinch of pepper
pinch of allspice

1 cup butter, melted

Set the chestnuts in a pan and cover with cold water. Boil for 1
minute. Remove from heat. Remove 3 chestnuts at a time from the
hot water. Peel and remove the inner skins. Place the chestnuts in
a saucepan. Add the bouillon and water to cover the nuts by 1-1/2
inches. Add the celery, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer, uncovered,
for 45 to 60 minutes or until the chestnuts are cooked through.
Drain. Heat the butter in a skillet. Add the onion. Cook for 8 to
10 minutes until soft. Transfer the onion to a mixing bowl. Put
the turkey liver into the skillet. Saute until just browned. Add
to the onion. Pour the wine into the skillet. Boil until the wine
is reduced to 1/4 cup. Add to the onion. Add the pork, veal, pork
fat, eggs, salt, thyme, pepper and allspice to the onion. Stir with
a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Stuff the turkey neck
and body cavities loosely with alternate layers of the meat mixture
an chestnuts. Close the cavities with skewers and lace with kitchen
string. Brush the turkey generously with the melted butter. Fold
the cheesecloth in half crosswise, forming a square. Dip the
cheesecloth into the remaining melted butter and lay over the turkey
breast. Set the turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast
in a preheated 325 deg F oven, basting occasionally. A 10 to 12
pound bird will take about 4 to 4-1/2 hours to roast. To test for
doneness, pierce a thigh with a fork. Juices should run clear

For the Gravy:

(the turkey stock)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
the turkey giblets, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup port wine

Prepare the gravy while the turkey is roasting. Heat heat oil in
a large saucepan. Stir in the giblets. Brown on all sides and
transfer to a side dish. Put the onion and carrots in the pan.
Cover and cook slowly for 5 minutes. Uncover and brown lightly for
5 minutes. Add the browned giblets, wine, chicken stock, bay leaf
and thyme. Add water to cover ingredients by 1 inch. Simmer,
partially covered, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Strain the stock. Skim
the fat from the surface. Blend the cornstarch and port wine in
a bowl. Stir into the stock. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until
thickened. Set aside. Transfer the turkey to a heated platter when
it is done. Remove the strings and skewers, cover loosely and let
stand 20 to 30 minutes. Scoop the stuffing into a warm dish when
ready to serve. Spoon excess fat from the roasting pan. Pour the
turkey stock into the roasting pan. Stir over moderately high heat,
scraping up the turkey bits from the bottom. Skim any fat from
the surface of the gravy. Pour into a warm sauceboat and serve with
the turkey and stuffing.

Creamed Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 quarts Brussels sprouts
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp butter, melted

3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter

Cut a cross in the base of each sprout. Drop into boiling salted
water. Boil slowly, uncovered, for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain. Lay the
sprouts in one layer on a towel to cool.

Butter a shallow baking dish. Arrange the sprouts in two layers in
the dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and melted butter.
Set over moderate heat, cover and cook until the sprouts begin to
sizzle. Transfer to a preheated 350 deg F oven for 10 minutes.

Bring the cream to a boil. Pout boiling cream into the dish and
continue to bake for 10 minutes more. Dot the sprouts with butter
and serve.

Mincemeat Pie

1 large apple
2 cups raisins
2 cups currants
1 cup sultana raisins
1/2 cup candied fruit peel
1/2 cup almonds

grated rind form 1 orange
grated rind from 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 pound chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 Tbsp chilled shortening
3 Tbsp, or more, cold water

Core the apple but do not peel. Mince the apple, raisins, currants,
candied peel and almonds. Combine in a large mixing bowl. Combine
the orange and lemon rind, sugar and spices in a small bowl. Stir
with a fork to blend thoroughly. Sprinkle over the minced fruit
and almonds. Blend with a fork. Combine the juices and whiskey.
Pour over the minced fruit mixture. Pour the butter over the
ingredients and blend. Pour the filling into a glass jar, cover
tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter and
shortening. Mix with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles
coarse meal. Add the water to the dough, a little at a time, while
gathering the dough into a ball. Wrap with waxed paper and
refrigerate for 2 hours. Assembling the pie: Roll out the dough
1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and line a 9-inch pie
pan allowing a 1-inch overhang. Cover and chill. Roll the remaining
dough into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick and 12 inches long. Cut the
dough into 1/2 inch wide strips. Fill the shell with the mincemeat.
Lay the strips of dough over the pie in a lattice pattern. Turn up
the edges and crimp decoratively. Bake in a preheated 425 deg F
oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 deg F and bake for 30
minutes until golden.


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