We just had a quick bite tonight at Dargan’s, our favorite Irish pub in Santa Barbara, where they’re already gearing up for St. Paddy’s Day and today’s paper was filled with recipes for everything Irish. There was a recipe for lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish Coddle and a lengthy discourse on Guinness. Clearly, that day when everybody sports a shamrock and wishes they were Irish is just around the corner and with it another holiday to challenge a person’s low-carb commitment.
Actually, some Irish culinary traditions are pretty low-carb friendly–corned beef and cabbage, for instance. It’s that pile of the traditional Irish staple sitting next to the corned beef and cabbage that causes the problems for a low-carbing lover of St. Paddy’s Day. But substitute fauxtatoes for the potatoes by substituting Creamy Cauliflower Puree that I’ve posted about in another blog for the mash and you’re good to go.
Same with a meaty Irish stew. With a little low-carb sleight of hand you can pimp out the potatoes with a celery root substitute. When selecting a celery root, be sure it is moist and heavy for its size. If it is old and the least dried out it will be woody and awful when cooked.
Celery roots peel just like potatoes, but with considerably more effort. Once peeled, cut them up just as you would a potato, into a 1/2-inch dice. They are slightly tougher than a potato, but if you meet excessive resistance in the cutting (and your knife is not dull) it can indicate that the root is old. Old roots are woody and fibrous. And so will be the dish made from them. It’s like eating wood splinters when this happens, so select with care for freshness. You could also use cauliflower, cut into individual florets, in the stew, but in this application, it’s less potato-like.
Here’s my low-carb adapted crock pot version, just in time to celebrate the big day.
Luck o’ the Irish Stew
2 pounds lamb or beef, cut for stew into 1-inch chunks
1 large celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and sliced
2 large orange or red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces beef or chicken broth
8 ounces Guinness (or substitute another 8 ounces broth)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (chopped just before serving)
1. In a 6-quart crock pot, combine the meat, celery root, onion, peppers, celery, Guinness and/or broth, and all seasonings, except parsley.
2. Stir well, cover, and cook on low about 7 to 8 hours, until meat is fork tender.
3. Just before serving, sprinkle on the fresh parsley to brighten the flavor.
Serve with a nice chewy Guinness (only about 15 grams of carb) or an icy cold pint of hard cider (Strongbow weighs in at only 12 grams per serving) and you’ve got a feast any leprechaun could love.
May the Luck o’ the Irish be with you this St. Paddy’s Day!