Not Martha

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Last night I made Adelaide Bartow’s Irish Soda Bread from Cooking The Hard Way (via Tastespotting). We were out of butter so I sent Scott out for some and we ended up with this cheerfully appropriate Irish butter.

Last week I was watching the episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes corned beef. I was considering making that but when I re-read the recipe I found it needs to sit in the refrigerator for ten days. Oops. But I have to say, having Irish soda bread ready to eat when you wake up in the morning more than made up for it.

I made it in my Target Chefmate cast iron pot simply because Cooking The Hard Way showed hers in a dutch oven and I love any excuse to pull it down off the shelf, but you can simply use a casserole dish of some sort. The recipe calls for a pudding pan, anyone know what that is?

I have been considering getting the new-ish Target 6.5 quart cast iron Chefmate dutch oven to go with my smaller one. I’m interested to find that it appears to be exactly the same as the Tramontina pot that Cook’s Illustrated recommended a while back. Did Target decide to simply rebrand the pot for people still looking for the Chefmate name?

· comments [30] · 03-17-2008 · categories:food · holidays · recipes ·

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amie // Mar 17, 2008 at 7:49 am

    I have a silly question about your dutch oven: When you put it in the oven, do you take the black handle off? I keep taking mine off (I fear it will melt) but don’t know if it is necessary. Any thoughts? Thank you!

  • 2 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Amie – The tag I got says the handle is heat safe up to 350 degrees, but I have heard that it will crack or look funny after putting it in a too-hot oven (specifically after making the no-knead bread). Some people wrap the handle in foil and this seems to protect it well enough. Some people remove the handle, but I’m afraid I’ll end up dropping a very hot lid on my foot. Le Creuset sells a branded stainless steel knob just for this problem, but I’ve read reports that a simple cabinet knob from a hardware store works just as well.

    So far for no-knead bread I have been using an old Corningware dutch oven that I bought at a thrift store before getting my cast iron pot. I figure it will break at some point and I’ll start using my cast iron after that and I’m planning on buying a cabinet handle at that point.

  • 3 Marjorie // Mar 17, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for posting the link to the recipe. Our neighbors invited us for dinner tonight to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day and this will be the best thing for us to bring along to share! I am wondering what kind of pan I should bake it in though, as I don’t have a dutch oven or anything similar. Do you think a regular loaf pan would suffice? Maybe there is enough batter for 2 loaf pans? Thanks again! Great site.

  • 4 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Marjorie – The bread shown was about 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches at the highest point, so I think you could split it into two loaf pans if you want. Cooking The Hard Way showed a bread that was taller.

    However, the dough was thick enough that you might be able to plop it onto a cookie sheet and shape it into something roundish. I actually used a spoon to make the top surface have some texture since it looked too smooth and tame to me.

  • 5 rachel // Mar 17, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Homemade corned beef is really good! But a lot of work, and there is the need for a large, nonreactive container to store it in which is always an issue.

  • 6 WendyP // Mar 17, 2008 at 9:58 am

    The first time I used my nifty Chefmate dutch oven, for no-knead bread, the handle cracked into four pieces with a nice percussive “pop.” A cabinet knob wouldn’t be heat safe – if anyone has suggestions I’d appreciate them, otherwise I’ll spend as much on a Le Creuset knob as I spent on the whole dutch oven! :)

  • 7 Roadchick // Mar 17, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Corned beef cooked in a crockpot is crazy delicious. We had it this weekend and I will NEVER cook it any other way again.

    Not that that has anything at all to do with corning your own beef.


  • 8 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Rachel – Alton Brown did his in a very large (two gallon) zip plastic bag. Is this bad? As in, less plastic = good? I have a very large glass bowl I might use instead.

    Wendy – I’m so sorry to hear it! I don’t have any specific recommendations for the replacement but I’ve heard from people it isn’t too hard to find a stainless steel one at a place like Lowes or Home Depot.

  • 9 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Roadchick – Thank you for the tip, I have a crock pot and I’m not afraid to use it.

  • 10 Marjorie // Mar 17, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Thanks Megan, I did just that – plopped it on a cookie sheet and the shape took care of itself. It’s looking good!

  • 11 Kate // Mar 17, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for trying my recipe and passing it along! Your’s looks terrific.

    Marjorie- you can really bake this in just about anything. I used a very small dutch oven (i’m not sure what size but I think its the smallest Le Crueset makes), which is why mine was taller. My mom always bakes it in a casserole dish. The dough is stiff enough that you could just shape it into a round and bake it on a cookie sheet or baking stone. I’ve also seen it baked in a cast iron skillet (shaped into a mound, not spread out to fill the pan).

  • 12 Sarah // Mar 17, 2008 at 11:11 am

    What a great looking loaf of bread. How was the Irish butter?

    I make a great loaf sans the raisins/caraway seeds. I found a recipe in a cookbook called A Little Irish Cookbook and it consists only of flour, salt, baking soda, buttermilk and a little sugar (though the sugar is optional). I bake it on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and it turns out great.

    After baking, you immediately turn it onto a cotton towel and wrap it up to prevent it from cooking further. It goes great with soup! Blogged about it, of course.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day (or St Packer’s Day as my 4-year-old son is saying)!

  • 13 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Sarah – The Irish butter was very good, at cool/room temperature it was, how to say this, gummier than I’m used to. Which was a nice change, it made spreading very nice. It was delicious, and very yellow. I think I love it.

  • 14 Jessica // Mar 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Wow looks super yummy!

  • 15 mary-kate // Mar 17, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    just came across your website! i am irish (and living in ireland) that butter you used is the best of irish butter & cooking the soda bread in that pot is also great – my grannies used to cook the soda bread in cast iron pots that were placed on a triangle (iron?) trivet type thing with the hot coals of the fire underneath and on top of the lid (just beside the open turf fire) ah memories! and it’s very traditional to make a cross on a soda bread – like a big plus sign (and this helps when cutting the bread as you cut it into those quarters then cuts slices off each quarter)

    and corned beef and cabbage i never even heard of! it was always ham, cabbage and mashed potatoes! happy stpatrick’s day to ye ;)

  • 16 Minna // Mar 17, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Oh, Soda Bread – I haven’t had that since I was in…some little village in NI that I can’t even remember the name of, but it was delicious! Is that a good recipe there?

  • 17 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Mary-Kate – The television show I was watching about the corned beef mentioned that while everybody in the US thinks is a traditional Irish dish, it was actually eaten by Irish and Jewish immigrants in NYC. Apparently, the corning method of preserving the meat is something of an American thing, and it was adopted by those two groups of people. Would it be fair to call it an Irish American food maybe? In any case, I encourage you to try it, I would love to hear what you think.

    Minna – Yes, very good. I bought too few currants, about half the amount the recipe called for, but it still a nice amount. I pulled out the good stuff for this one, I used King Arthur flour and used the Irish butter so it was extra yummy.

  • 18 Jen W. // Mar 17, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I use my Great Aunt Susie’s recipe (although we’ve always called it scone, rhymes with gone, not cone). Anyway, although the ingredients vary, it starts with 4 cups of flour, and fits perfectly in one loaf pan.

  • 19 orchidophile // Mar 17, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Did Target decide to simply rebrand the pot for people still looking for the Chefmate name?

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Thanks for posting your entries regarding your Ribby Cardi. They were helpful! I’m tackling the Accordion pattern from Knitty.

  • 20 FAIRFAX // Mar 17, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    LOVE kerry-gold!!! I put it into an old pyrex dish with a lid. Don’t even put it in the fridge. YUMMY!

  • 21 rachel // Mar 17, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I find that after 10 days in a plastic bag, the meat sort of tastes like plastic. Ick.

  • 22 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Ah I see, that would be bad!

  • 23 Jenny // Mar 17, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for the green beer tip! I would have probably used green food coloring and been super frustrated.

  • 24 Jenny // Mar 17, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Oops that went on the wrong post. They look like they’re one!

  • 25 Susan // Mar 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Traditional Irish bread has neither seeds nor fruit in it…that’s an American addition.
    (I’m an O’Shaughnessy)

  • 26 Morgan // Mar 17, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    The bread looks amazing! Definitely adding it to my recipe list. Thanks!!

  • 27 megan // Mar 17, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Susan – I knew it! We ruin everything.

    Jenny – No trouble, let me know if you’d like me to see if I can move it up there.

  • 28 Stephanie // Mar 17, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I highly recommend corning your own beef someday! I chose Cooks Illustrated recipe (Home Corned Beef and Cabbage, New England Style) over Alton’s, it takes 5-7 days, but I started mine Thursday and it tasted divine! I will not be going back to the pre-corned that is for sure!

    Good work on the Soda Bread, ours was a great end to a perfect dinner, though I’m still so stuffed I don’t think I can walk!

  • 29 michelle @ TNS // Mar 21, 2008 at 6:30 am

    i love kerrygold butter, so milky and delicate and sweet. yum!

    if only i liked irish soda bread as well.

  • 30 Tiffany // Mar 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    We made our soda bread on our baking stone and it came out beautifully. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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