We’re All Irish
Taste the rainbow with a County Kerry Hand Pie
BY TOM YATES
Cue the bagpipes and top off the Guinness, it’s St. Patrick’s Day in the kitchen. While some of us might celebrate the patron saint of Ireland with a one way ticket to boozeland, most folks might toast the day with iconic Irish fare. I’m on team both. Not only is St. Patrick’s Day a great day to kick back with green beer, pints of Guinness, or shots of Jameson, it’s also a day to celebrate and explore the food that evokes thoughts ofshamrocksandpotsofgold.Onthe other side of the rainbow, we’re all a wee bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
Although braised corned beef and cabbage is more Irish American than Irish, it remains the benchmark grub on St. Patrick’s Day. And while sleepy shepherd’s pies, bangers and mash, cottage pies, lamb stews, or Dublin coddles are calming comfort staples, Irish hand pies punch the ticket for serious on-the-go revelers who crave a drink in one hand and hearty food in the other.
Almost anything can be fashioned into hand pies. Similar to Cornish pasties (meat and vegetable filled hand pies), lesser known Dingle hand pies, from County Kerry, bring spiced mutton or lamb to the party.
County Kerry Dingle Hand Pies.
A simple stew.
I trimmed and cubed 2 pounds Double F boneless lamb shoulder into 1” pieces, seasoned the meat with salt and cracked black pepper, and dredged the meat in flour (shaking off the excess flour) before browning it in 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat. When deeply browned, I removed the meat to a side plate and tumbled 2 chopped parsnips, 3 chopped carrots, 2 sliced celery stalks, 1 medium diced onion, and 2 diced yukon gold potatoes into the sizzling fat. After showering the vegetables with salt, I added 1 tablespoon tomato paste and swirled it through the vegetables for even cooking. When the tomato paste caramelized around the softened vegetables, I added 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons flour, salt, and pepper. After the flour tightened the spiced vegetables, I added 4 cups warmed beef stock, 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, and 2 fresh bay leaves. I brought the stew to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, added the reserved lamb (along with the juices), covered the pot, and slipped it into a preheated 350 degree oven.
After 1 1/2 hours, I pulled the stew from the oven and let it cool completely before sliding into the refrigerator to chill.
Wrap it up.
Once thoroughly chilled, I removed the thin layer of fat and scooped 1/3 cup of the meat and vegetable filling onto 1/4”x 4” rounds of basic short crust pastry. After brushing the edges with egg wash, I folded the pastry into half moons, carefully sealed the seams, brushed the pies with egg wash, used kitchen shears to snip tiny vents into the dough, and slid the pies into a preheated 450 degree oven.
When the pies turned golden brown, about 25 minutes, I pulled them from the oven and let them rest before finishing with flaked sea salt and fresh parsley.
Sealed in crispy crust and kissed with subtle warm spice, the meltingly tender lamb swirled through the savory stew.
Grab and Go. Follow the rainbow. Dingle all the way.
This article also appears on page 11 of the March 2019 print edition of Ace Weekly.
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