Irish Soda Bread

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This is my favorite bread to make when I decide I want bread at the last minute. You can mix the ingredients together in five minutes and have it ready to eat in under an hour. When you slather it with butter freshly out of the oven it tastes just as good as any yeast bread that you could make.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (225 g) whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. caraway/fennel/anise seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cup (350 – 375 mL) buttermilk or thinned yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
 Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine AP flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, seeds, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl. Melt the butter and add to the flour. Add the buttermilk and then mix the ingredients together until they are just combined. Do not overmix. Shape into a boule and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle flour over the top of the boule and use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting the bread to prevent it from becoming gummy. Serve with butter and Guinness.
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Dill Pickle Soup

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I make a lot of dill pickles, but they don’t always turn out perfectly – sometimes they aren’t as crisp as I’d like when grown out of season, and so I have to find ways to repurpose them! While I do love a good bloody mary, pickle soup is another fantastic solution for ways to use any pickles! Make this soup on a cold winter night, it contains lots of flavor and hearty vegetables to warm you up.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 small russet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Quart sized jar brined dill pickles and their juice
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Spices including dill, Old Bay, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and salt to taste
  • grated cheese, celery leaves, and green onions for garnish

Instructions

Roughly chop the onion.  In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine the onions and butter. Cook over medium heat until the onions are starting to become translucent, about five minutes. Peel, rinse, and chop the potatoes. Peel and mince the garlic, then add the potatoes and garlic to the pot. Stir for about two minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and potatoes are just starting to soften.

Pour in the stock, as well as approximately 2 cups of pickle juice. If you are using a full quart of brine pickles, pour in all of the juice in the jar. Bring to a low boil and cook until the potatoes are soft. Turn off the heat, and using an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Turn the heat back on to low and bring the soup to a simmer. Now, whisk in the sour cream.

While the potatoes cook, dice the carrots, celery, and pickle spears to whatever size you’d like to eat. Add these to the soup after it has been pureed.

Taste the broth and add spices to your liking – if you are using brine pickles it’s unlikely you’ll need any more salt! I added 1/2 tsp Old Bay, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, and a few shakes of black pepper.

Garnish with celery leaves, green onion slices, and cheddar cheese (optional) and serve with a big wedge of good bread!