Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Patrick's Day: Irish Tacos

And it even folds!
My sister had the most radical thought ever for St. Patrick's Day. She suggested I actually make a meal (or a taco to be specific) instead of just assorted desserts to celebrate the day. At first, I scoffed at the idea, but then she won me over with the words potato pancake (which we will from here on out be referring to as a "tortilla"). It was then a simple matter of combining all Irish food stereotypes (as learned from typing "Irish food" in to wikipedia) to form the all-new Irish taco. In the end, Nancy and I wound up with the ultimate meat and potatoes dish to give the fantastic Car Bomb Cupcakes a run for their money.

Irish Tacos
Servings: 8 tacos
Time: 2 1/2 hours

Boxty (recipe follows)
Kale (recipe follows)
Irish Whiskey Rib Eye (recipe follows)
Whiskey Sauce (recipe follows)
Irish Cheddar, shredded

The simplest part to prepare.
  1. Follow the many recipes that come after this. 
  2. Top your "tortilla" with kale, rib eye, Irish cheddar and whiskey sauce.

After seeing this, you should realize the following 4 recipes are worth the effort.

Boxty (Potato "Tortillas")
Adapted from
Nancy's mad chopping skillz.
Servings: 8 "tortillas"
Time: 60 minutes

2 lbs white potatoes, peeled
3/4 cup whole milk, divided
1 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1 large egg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Mashed taters form the base of the "tortilla"
  1. Chop 3/4 of the potatoes into large dice, place in a medium saucepan, salt generously and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil  and simmer uncovered until tender (about 10 minutes).
  2. Finely chop and drain the remaining potatoes and toss with 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside. Alternatively, you could remember to pack your grater and save yourself a bunch of trouble.
  3. Drain the boiled potatoes then add at least 1/4 milk and mash until smooth.
  4. Add the thinly chopped potatoes to the mashed potatoes.
  5. Whisk the egg, remaining 1/2 cup milk, flour, pepper and 1 tsp salt together in a separate bowl. Add to the potatoes and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat then drop and spread the batter to about 1/4 inch thick. Cook until the bottoms become golden brown then flip and cook the remaining side.
  7. Keep warm in the oven at 200 F until the rest of the taco fixings are ready.
Yup, definitely looks like a tortilla and not at all like a pancake
The potato pancakes are the perfect holder for the intense whiskey flavor that follows. The starchy treat does wonders in helping absorb the flavor from the many wondrous juices of the remaining ingredients and even folds like a real authentic-like taco.


Nothing too fancy here. Just take a bunch of kale and cook it over medium heat in a large pot with some olive oil, salt and pepper until it is wilted.

Irish Whiskey Rib Eye
Servings: 8
Time: 2 hours (inactive for 90 minutes)

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Jameson's Irish whiskey
1-2 tsp worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp green onion, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
4 boneless rib eye steaks

  1. Marinade the steaks in the remaining ingredients in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  2. Remove from the marinade and cook in a frying pan over medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Only flip once to maintain the juices.
  3. Cut and fill your tacos with it.
With all that sweet whiskey flavor you could ask for
My manhood was at steak (pun time is fun time!) as the entire dish hinged around some well-cooked steak. I somehow managed to overcome our new stove and make perfectly cooked tender rib eyes that melded beautifully with the potatoes. We found ourselves eating pieces of the steak on its own because of the absurdly amazing sweet whiskey flavor. 

Whiskey Sauce
Servings: enough for 8 tacos
Time: 10 minutes

1/4 lb unsalted butter
2 tbsp chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp Jameson's whiskey
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Dash of Tabasco sauce

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in melted butter until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer to reduce for 2-5 minutes.
  3. Pour over your tacos and enjoy.
Nancy's fancy plating
Dousing our tacos in whiskey sauce may seem like overkill (deliciously alcoholic overkill), but it truly was the way to go. The added moisture, flavor and spiciness from the whiskey sauce helped boost the somewhat flavor deprived kale and kept the "tortilla" from being too dry.

Maybe it's just that we were starving after cooking all day without eating, or maybe it's the fact that food prepared in copious amounts of alcohol is always phenomenal (see the previously mentioned triply alcoholic Car Bomb Cupcakes, Bourbon Peaches Foster and Beer-Battered Fish Tacos), but these little pieces of Irish heaven had our mouths dancing a ridiculous drunken jig. 

One last dish remains from our St. Patrick's Day Extravaganza. Stay tuned for some Chocolate Mint Bark and the answer to the question you've all been wondering "How messy is Nancy in the kitchen?" The truth just might shock you.

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