Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Bacon and a Traditional Irish Breakfast

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I came home for the weekend to celebrate with my whole family this year, so we woke up early to make a big traditional Irish breakfast. My brother used to work at a great Irish pub in Chicago, so he gets credit for most of this meal. He put together a menu of Irish bacon, Irish sausage, fried eggs, British-style baked beans in tomato sauce, sauteed tomatoes, and Guinness brown bread with Kerrygold butter.

Oh, and don't forget the Irish coffee - made the real way with some good whiskey! Yesterday, my brother Conor and I brined a pork shoulder overnight in preparation for boiling this morning. I rarely eat red meat, so this was a big treat. After boiling the pork shoulder for three hours we sliced and seared it for a nice golden crust and that great greasy flavor.

Conor also baked up Guinness brown bread last night which we ate with some Irish butter. I had never had Kerrygold butter before, but my brother explained the difference is a higher fat content. How are Europeans skinner than us again? If I ate this kind of breakfast each morning I would be doing a lot less baking, that's for sure. Now I need to prepare myself for tonight's dinner of corn beef, cabbage, potatoes, soda bread, grasshopper pie and green velvet cupcakes. (Spoiler alert! I'll be posting this later today...)

Irish Bacon
Makes: 10 servings  Prep: 40 minutes  Total: 24 hours

1 6-pound pork shoulder
3 cups kosher salt
3 heads fresh garlic
1 tbs ground pepper
1/2 tbs butter

Fill a dutch oven with water 5-6 inches below the rim. Pour in kosher salt and stir for several minutes until fully dissolved. Rinse pork shoulder, place in dutch oven, cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, boil pork in salt water for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, dump out salt water and replace with warm water. Bring to boil again for 1 minute, add pepper and garlic, and simmer on low heat for 3 hours.
Pour out water and place pork shoulder on a large cutting board. Slice pork across its natural break into thin strips. Melt 1/2 tbs butter in a large skillet and fry sliced pork one minute each side on medium-high heat. Let drain on paper towels before serving.

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