In the Kitchen with Sigona's: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

We can’t let St. Patrick’s Day go by without offering a few traditional Irish recipes! Peter, our wine and beer specialist, has an Irish heritage and said without hesitation that we should include a recipe for Soda Bread. The next day, I had a copy of the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit on my desk with a note saying this recipe for Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Soda Bread is a must – so here it is!

Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Soda Bread

Recipe from Bon Appetit, March 2010
Makes 1 loaf
*Mrs. O’Callaghan makes this bread in a rectangular pan.

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled margarine or butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional, to take away from the sweetness of the bread)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray heavy baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk both flours, sugar, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend. Add margarine and cut in until margarine is reduced to pea-size pieces. Add buttermilk; stir until shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until dough comes together, about 10 turns. Shape dough into 9-inch round (the round should be about 1 inch high). Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Cut large X, 1/2 inch deep, in top of dough, almost all the way to the edges of the round.

Bake bread in center of oven until deep brown and bottom sounds hollow when firmly tapped (a bamboo skewer inserted into the center of the bread should emerge clean without any stickiness or moistness), about 55-60 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.

Corned Beef Dinner

We’ve included a recipe for Corned Beef to go with your Soda Bread. Everyone has their own recipe for Corned Beef, using a different brine mix or vegetables, but we like this one best. We’re recommending you find a recipe for your own brine/marinade or find a brisket at the butcher’s that has already been marinating. Feel free to tweak as you wish and have a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration! Serves 6.

  • Brined beef brisket (fresh, 4 to 5 pounds), fat trimmed off
    • (remember, we’re leaving the brisket brine part up to you – some recipes ask that the brisket has been in a brine for three or more days — most recommend 7 days — so plan ahead!)
  • 3 medium carrots , peeled and sliced in half and then quartered
  • 2 rutabagas, peeled and diced into chunks (about 2” pieces)
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced into chunks (about 1.5” pieces)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed and quartered
  • 1 green cabbage, cut into 6-8 wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (optional – we’re Sicilian…we have to put a little garlic in everything!)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 Bay leaf


Rinse brined brisket and pat dry. In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, add the beef, carrots, cloves, garlic (if desired) and bay leaf, and add cold water until beef is covered. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 ½ – 3 hours until beef is nearly tender (depends on the size of the brisket you use).

**See cook’s note**

When beef is cooked and tender (where it looks about like it could come apart easily) Remove the brisket and cover with foil to help keep it warm. Sometimes I heat the oven to about 200°F and pop the covered brisket in to keep it warm.

Skim any fat off the top of the broth and add in all remaining vegetables except the cabbage. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes and then gently add in the cabbage wedges. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Serve the corned beef in a shallow bowl alongside some horseradish and/or a grainy mustard. Don’t forget the Soda Bread!

**Cook’s Note: You can either use this time to enjoy a good Irish beer and relax, mix up a batch of dough for the Soda Bread, follow a rainbow to search for a pot o’ gold, find people who aren’t wearing green and give them a pinch (not too hard!) or, if you haven’t done so already, prepare the rest of the vegetables as noted above.

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