Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Soda Bread with Corned Beef

As promised, I'm providing a St Patricks Day recipe before the actual holiday!

Soda bread is one of my favorite things. It has a wonderful crust and a tasty, delicious interior. It goes well with butter or dipped in a stew. It's incredibly easy to make and I don't have the inevitable screw up that using yeast brings with it (yeast and I are not friends).

Traditional Irish soda bread has very few ingredients--flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. If you want more information on the history of soda bread or a traditional recipe visit http://www.sodabread.us/. History is fun.

That said, mine is not a traditional soda bread. This is for two main reasons: my bread contains additional ingredients to those above and that corned beef is not traditionally Irish, it's traditionally Irish-American.
Many soda bread recipes call for an additional of raisins which add a wonderful sweet and tangy pop to the bread. I wanted to change things up a bit and had some leftover corned beef from dinner and thus:

Soda Bread with Corned Beef


4 Cups all-purpose flour plus some for dusting
4 Tbsp room temperature butter (unsalted)
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup cooked corned beef chopped into raisin sized pieces
1 egg
1 3/4 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the butter into the flour using two knives or a pastry cutter until the butter is incorporated and the flour's consistency is like a meal. Mix in sald, baking soda, and caraway seeds. Add in corned beef.

Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add in a lightly beaten egg and the buttermilk. Mix with a non-stick rubber spatula (way easier to clean than a wooden spoon!). Use floured hands to gently mix in unincorporated flour. Do not knead heavily.

Form the dough into a round loaf and place on a floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut the dough about an inch and half deep in an "x" across the top. This helps the inside bake and also give the bread it's signature look.

Bake about 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the crust looks like it is getting too dark, tent the loaf with foil.

Let cool about 10 minutes on the pan and then on a baking sheet. Serve warm, toasted, room temperature--it's all good. It doesn't keep very long, so plan on eating it all with a day or two.

warm from the oven... quickly devoured
I really enjoyed the corned beef in the bread. It gave a nice salty chewyness to bites. The caraway also inhances the flavor and pairs well with the corned beef. This went particularly well with the leftover cabbage and potatoes from the night before. I'm not ashamed to say that Nathan and I ate the entire loaf in one day--it was that good.

If want raisins instead of corned beef, remove the corned beef and caraway and replace with one cup of raisins.

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