Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A St Paddy's Day Feast: Irish Bangers & Colcannon

With visions of Savannah dancing in my head, I came across this fabulous recipe from Chef Michael Semancik of 700 Drayton at The Mansion on Forsyth Park, where we plan on dining during an upcoming trip to 'the belle of the south' in a few months. With an enviable reputation for low country cuisine, I hadn't realized that Savannah takes St Patrick's Day very seriously, with a grand parade that marches through town starting and ending at gorgeous Forsyth Park, where the acclaimed restaurant overlooks. “I think we’re probably the closest to the parade route,” explains Chef Michael Semancik. “It basically starts behind us with the setup and kind of wraps around the hotel. He prepares for an Irish breakfast of Guinness-Braised Bangers and Bacon which starts at 6:30am and finishes up with a thematic dinner that will feature an Irish Boil with Corned Beef and Cabbage in addition to a luscious Lamb and Guinness Stew. 

Irish Bangers with Cocannon & Guinness Gravy
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy Chef Michael Semancik, 700 Drayton, Savannah

1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1/4 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
4 green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 lb Irish or English bangers
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 bottle Guinness
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sour cream
Milk to taste

Bring some water to boil, add the potatoes and simmer until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large pan over medium heat until it renders, about 3-5 minutes. Season with pepper, add the butter and cook until it foams, about a minute. Add the cabbage, mix to coat and let cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the green onions, cook for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side, and set them aside.

Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Sprinkle in the flour and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the Guinness, mustard and Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar along with the sausage and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sausage and continue to simmer to reduce by half about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the butter, sour cream and milk into the colcannon until you get your favorite mashed potatoes consistency. Divide the colcannon between 4 plates, top with sausages and cover in gravy.

Lamb & Guiness Stew
Serves 8-10
Recipe courtesy Chef Michael Semancik, 700 Drayton, Savannah

1/2 lb smoked sliced bacon, diced
6 lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup water
4 cups homemade beef stock or use canned
2 tsp sugar
4 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
3 lb potatoes, peeled, quartered, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dark lager, Guinness or New Castle recommended
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Using a large frying pan, sauté the bacon. Reserve the fat and the bacon.

In a large mixing bowl, place the lamb, salt, pepper and flour. Toss to coat the meat evenly.

Reheat the frying pan. In batches, toss the meat in the flour to coat evenly, then brown in the reserved bacon fat. If you run out of fat, use a little oil. Transfer the browned meat to a 10-quart stove top casserole, leaving about 1/4 cup of fat in the frying pan. Add the garlic and yellow onion to the pan and sauté until the onion begins to colour a bit. Deglaze the frying pan with 1/2 cup of water and add the garlic-onion mixture to the casserole, along with the reserved bacon pieces, beef stock and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.

Add the carrots, onions, potatoes, rosemary, bay leaf and lager to the pot and simmer, covered, for about another 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Check for salt and pepper before serving. Top with the parsley garnish before serving.