A Birthday Dinner: Gaelic Steak and Crabmeat Sweeney’s

I am turning pages in an Irish cookbook my son Ben gave me in 1993 for my birthday, shortly after a short but very enjoyable stay in Ireland. Looking through it reminds me that Joe and Ben cooked my birthday dinner that year using recipes from the book. I marked the recipes with the occasion and date.  I used to do that all the time, and wish I had not stopped, because it is so much fun to go back and see who cooked what and when.  At one time I even tagged it with the family’s yay or nay.  Now, when I use one of those cookbooks and see a check mark I enjoy stopping for a while to revisit the occasion of making that food and enjoy memories of place and people who shared it.  Often, the pleasure is extended by making the recipes one more time.  That is why this weekend when I serve a birthday dinner to celebrate both Joe’s and Ben’s birthdays, we are going to enjoy Gaelic Steak and Crabmeat Sweeny’s!  Maybe I will add some Irish Soda Bread and Boxty Pancakes. These and other delicious dishes can be found in Grand Places Glorious Food, A guide to food and lodging in Ireland’s Finest Historic Properties by Margaret M. Johnson.   www.margaretmjohnson.com

                                                          Gaelic Steak

                                  2 sirloin steaks, about 6 ounces each

                                  1 cup peeled tomatoes

                                  1 onion, chopped

                                  1 dozen mushrooms, sliced

                                  2 ounces Irish whiskey

                                 ¾ cup cream

                                 4 Tablespoons butter

                                 Salt and Pepper

Sauté steaks in half the butter to desired doneness.  Add whiskey to pan and ignite.  Set aside.  In separate pan sauté onions in remaing butter until soft.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add cream, salt, and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 10 minutes until reduced.  Place steaks in sauce and warm for a few minutes.

This traditional Irish dish is offered at Ballyseede Castle Hotel, Tralee, County Kerry

                                            Crabmeat Sweeney’s

                                          1 pound white crabmeat

                                          2 cloves garlic, chopped

                                         1/3 cup butter

                                         1 Tablespoon Tobasco sauce

                                         1 Tablespoon light soy sauce

                                         Lemon or lime wedges

                                         Freshly ground black pepper

                                         Fresh Parsley

                                         Mixed lettuces

Heat the butter in a sauté pan and add garlic. Cook gently.  Add the crabmeat and cook briskly to drive off the moisture.  Add pepper, tobacco, soy sauce and taste.  Correct seasonings.  Tear lettuces and arrange on 4 plates.  Add cabmeat and garnish with lemon and/or lime wedges and parsley.  Serves 4 as a starter.

Served at Sweeney’s Oughterard House Hotel in the heart of Connemara, county Galway

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