While I was making the Colcannon, I was watching one of my favorite chefs, Laura Calder (French Cooking at Home) on the Cooking Channel. Her recipe for Beer Bird calls for Cornish Hens. I decided on using the whole leg and thigh.
This chicken was so delicious that I decided to make it the star of this post…
Here is my version of her recipe:
3 pieces of whole leg and thigh
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
1/4 pound bacon strips, quartered
4 bay leaves
2 branches fresh rosemary, cut into pieces
4 branches of thyme (my addition)
1 tablespoon juniper berries
12 oz bottle of beer (I used Smethwick’s Irish ale)
To make the chicken:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and place in a single layer in a baking dish. Tuck in the garlic, bacon, and herbs. Scatter over the juniper berries. Pour the beer in the side of the dish.
Bake 15 minutes. Turn the pieces and bake another 15 minutes. Turn again and bake 15 minutes longer. By now the meat should be cooked and sticky with a slightly caramelized sauce.
Serve the chicken with the sauce.
There was an abundance of potatoes left over from St. Patrick’s at the Torres-McHugh home that had to be used.
I had purchased two books on Irish Cooking…the husband said that elegant Irish cooking is an oxymoron, but I disagree as these young Irish chefs are venturing out, studying in different countries and coming back to Ireland applying what they have learned and really changing Irish cooking for the better.
From The Complete Pub Cookbook:
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish often served at Halloween. In some families the cook will hide a lucky charms or coins in the mixture – these are said to bring good luck to the recipients or fortune.
The book’s version uses cabbage and scallions (which I also have plenty of), but kale and leeks can also be used.
4 potatoes, russets or Yukon gold, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons lightly salted butter
2/3 cup light cream
1/2 small green cabbage
6 scallions, finely chopped
salt/pepper to taste
Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for about
15-20 minutes. drain well and mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the butter and cream, and stir well. The mashed potatoes should be soft. Keep potatoes warm while cooking the cabbage.
Cut the cabbage in to quarters, remove tough core and shred the leaves finely. Cook the cabbage in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 – 2 minutes, until soft. Drain thoroughly.
Mix the potatoes and cabbage and stir in the scallions. Season well with salt/pepper.
Bain taitneamh as do bhéil – Bon Appetit!