Irish Soda Bread
While I am an Italian girl through and through, my step-family is Irish to the core and since I've moved to Portland, I've been lucky enough to share meals with them to celebrate the holiday. My Aunt Liz is very protective of the Flannery family recipes, but I thought it would be fun to share a little history on Irish Soda bread and tried and true recipes from other sources with you here.
Irish Soda Bread
Man, this stuff is seriously delicious. If you've never tried it, you are missing out! Like so many other aspects of the holiday, the origins and "authentic" soda-bread have been debated pretty seriously in certain circles. From what I've read, the true Irish soda bread was a food made by poor families and contained the most basic of ingredients: flour, bread soda, buttermilk and salt. The American version is a bit more decadent, with caraway seeds, sugar and raisins. It's sweet and crumbly, compared to the more dense and bread-like Irish version. My aunt loves the holiday so much, she actually makes two loaves of each every year.
I also learned that it's tradition to bake a coin into the bread for good luck and cut a cross into the top of each loaf before baking, which was said to release any evil spirits. Martha Stewart offers up a tasty recipe for the American version while Epicurious has the tried and true traditional recipe. If you're in the gluten free boat, check out this wonderful GF recipe from A Food Centric Life (pictured above). Whichever style you prefer, it's a great complement to any St. Patty's Day meal- especially with a nice cold beer.
Here's a video snippit from Martha for inspiration. May the luck of the Irish be with you!