This Irish stout onion soup made with buttery toasted croutons is topped with plenty of hot, melted Irish cheddar. Read on for the recipe - and for several ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the Golden Triangle. Photo by: runningtothekitchen.com
March 6, 2019 10:25:27 AM
Ah, March -- bringer of St. Patrick's Day. The holiday is not overlooked in the Golden Triangle. More about that in a minute.
Falling on March 17 each year, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a grand celebration of Irish culture, with parades and festivities. The earliest parade was held in the 1760s in New York City by Irishmen serving there in the British military, according to history.com. Today, people of all ethnic backgrounds embrace the chance to "be Irish" for a day.
Those outside of Ireland often mistakenly assume the country's cuisine is all potatoes and mutton. Not so. Yes, staples of the Irish diet have traditionally been potatoes, grains and dairy products, but Irish food is known for the quality and freshness of ingredients. The country is surrounded by water teeming with seafood, including scallops, lobster and oysters. Irish beef is acclaimed. Famous Irish soups are thick and hearty. The country is also full of great cheesemakers that produce about 50 types of homemade farmhouse cheeses.
Bread is important on the tables of Ireland. Fresh, crusty brown soda bread made from whole-wheat flour and buttermilk is a national dish. A recipe is included today if you'd like to try your hand at it. Serve it alongside a bowl of hot Irish stout onion soup covered in deliciously gooey Irish cheddar cheese.
Paige Lawes relishes any opportunity to celebrate her Scots-Irish heritage. On Saturday, March 16, her Three Generations Tea Room on Starkville's North Jackson Street will host a luncheon and Lawes' presentation of The Mystical, Magical History of Ireland -- plus a screening of the movie "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." The 2006 film is set during the Irish War of Independence in the early 1920s, also called the Easter Rising.
"I think it's important that one knows where they came from and to celebrate the specialness of those cultures," said Lawes, noting how Irish immigrants began making a place for themselves in this country more than two centuries ago.
"And we brought our music and our fun and our laughter," she added.
With a nod to St. Patrick's Day, Three Generations' BYOB luncheon will likely include beef, roasted vegetables, soda bread and "something very Irish for dessert," Lawes said.
Cost of the event is $15. Seating is limited. Make reservations by contacting Lawes at 662-324-1507.
Irish-themed celebrations continue that night at Dave's Dark Horse Tavern on Martin Luther King Drive in Starkville. Music begins at 9 p.m., featuring the Bold O'Donaghues.
On Sunday, March 17, a "St. Patty's Pawty" from 1-6 p.m. at Zachary's on Fifth Street North in downtown Columbus benefits the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society. Admission is a (cash only) donation of $10 at the door. Raffle tickets are $5 (at 662tix.com/events/st-pattys-pawty/tickets). The "pawty" includes live music, a pet parade, food by Huck's Place and, yes, green beer.
Chef Brian Huckaby of Huck's is finalizing the menu.
"We plan to do some Irish-themed items, like corned beef po-boys and what we call our Creole cabbage, Guiness beer mustard and probably some banger sausages served with a horseradish potato," Huckaby said. Look, too, for some local favorites that might include crawfish and shrimp, or chicken and sausage gumbo or red beans and rice.
Farther afield, large-scale festivities include Hal's St. Paddy's Parade and Festival March 23 in Jackson, with Grand Marshal Robert St. John leading off what's been dubbed Mississippi's "green Mardi Gras."
On March 29-30, immerse yourself in CelticFest in Jackson. Music, dance, food and contests highlight this festival on the grounds of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson.
Here's to March and its breath of renewal. Refresh your appreciation for the Emerald Isle this month ... and may the luck o' the Irish be with you.
IRISH STOUT ONION SOUP
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 large sweet yellow onions, sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 1/2 cups beef broth, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
20 ounces gluten free Irish stout (Steadfast oatmeals cream stout was used)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the topping:
4 slices rye bread, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon butter
Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
3/4 cup grated white Irish cheddar
IRISH SODA BREAD
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup buttermilk
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.