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ACA Chefs Share their Favorite St. Patty's Day Recipes

February 29, 2008

On St. Patrick's Day, Monday, March 17, just about everyone is Irish. That's because few can resist those old-fashioned Emerald Isle comfort foods and beverages such as corned beef and cabbage, Irish Potato candy, ale and other victuals and potables that honor Ireland's patron saint.

So in order to help celebrate the day in grand style, chef educators from the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College agreed to share recipes that are both traditional and new-fangled.

ACA Chef Educator Jeff Phillips, who oversees the dinner operation of Careme's, the student-run gourmet restaurant at ACCC, came up with a tasty twist on good old corned beef and cabbage.

"It's brisket of beef marinated in Guinness Stout for four days," he revealed. "I developed this just by messing around. It's just a twist to the traditional pickled corned beef."

As for Irish potato candies, the ultra-sweet confection rolled in cinnamon, these aren't Irish, after all. In fact, they had their origins in Philadelphia about 100 years ago. While these were more prevalent along the East Coast for many years, their popularity has since spread across the country.

"This started as a marketing tool, as a way to sell candy between the two big candy holidays: Valentine's Day and Easter," explained ACA Chef Educator Tree McCann.

Like the stuff of any culinary legend, there are variations in the preparation and ingredients. While cinnamon and coconut are the mainstays in just about any Irish Potato candy recipe, some folks don't make them with real potatoes, while others do. McCann falls into the latter category.

"Some people put the potato in for authenticity," she said. "This does make them highly perishable; they have to be refrigerated and eaten within a day or two. But this does cut the sweetness."

You can learn all about these and other Irish treats such as classic scones, traditional barmbrack (yeast and raisin bread), Celtic shortbread and more during the Irish cooking workshop, 6 p.m., Thursday, March 13, at ACCC. The South Jersey Ceili Band will provide traditional Irish musical accompaniment. The cost is $60 per person and you must register in advance. Participants should bring an apron. For more information, call (609) 343-4829.

No matter how you slice it, your eyes (and stomach) will be smiling with these Irish-inspired delights.

Irish Potato Candy

1 large potato, peeled, cooked, mashed and cooled

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1 pound fine powdered sugar, sifted

½ pound of fondant*

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut


Add all ingredients, except cinnamon, to the potato. Adjust to your personal taste and chill thoroughly. Shape into little potato shapes. Roll in cinnamon and mark with end of a paring knife to form little potato eyes. Store in refrigerator. Remove half hour before serving.

*Fondant is cooked icing used for candy and cakes that can be purchased at better candy or gourmet food stores.


Brisket of Beef Marinated in Guinness Stout

3½-4 pound brisket*

Guinness Stout to cover

2 onions

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for browning

Roughly cut the vegetables. Marinate the beef in stout and vegetables in a large container or dish in refrigerator for four days. Remove beef and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear with a bit of oil in large Dutch oven until brown. Add vegetables and stout. Cover and roast until fork tender, 3-4 hours depending on size of the beef. Remove the brisket and let stand 20 minutes before slicing. (Note: Slice against the grain.) Allow the vegetables and liquid to cool while brisket is standing, then puree in a food processor or blender to make the sauce. Makes 6-8 servings.

*For a leaner cut, select either first cut or flat cut (also called ‘thin cut') brisket.