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Spring & Ireland come together for this soup

Delitiouse cream soup of celery

I’ve had quite a few people asking so just a quick correction from my last recipe – yes it is supposed to be “cornmeal” and not cornstarch in the Foccacia.

Well it’s okay to make a mistake once in your career, so there it is!

There’s no mistake, however, in enjoying this great Irish recipe during the week we celebrate St. Patrick – and it does not require green food colouring.

The Irish are of course known for potatoes as they can grow on rough terrain and are also inexpensive, but they didn’t know what a potato was until the 16th century, when they were brought back over from the “New World.”

The springtime is a time where one would wander through the woods looking for fresh green goodies to eat, and one of the greatest treats is the young spring leeks (we call them ramps, which can be found in any rural areas right here in Waterloo Region).

The idea of this soup is to start with a leek and potato base, and then to add whichever fresh greens and herbs that you happen to find that day.

Kilkenny beer has been brewed in Ireland since the 1400s, named for the patron saint of the shipwrecked. Not sure what that has to do with this soup except that perhaps if you’re shipwrecked then you’re stuck and dry land and need to forage for your dinner.

Irish Forager’s Soup

  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 1 can “Kilkenny” beer
  • 1.5-2 L chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 lb watercress
  • Salt, white pepper, nutmeg
  • Fresh dill
  • 1 cup cream
  • 8 oz Irish bacon

Dice vegetables and sweat in butter until starting to soften.

Add beer and stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, and add potatoes (peeled and diced).

Simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Add greens, cream, and season well.

Sear and render bacon in a separate frying pan – drain.

Puree soup and add bacon at the end.

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