St. Paddy's On A Shoestring

The Chef on a Shoestring comes directly from Ireland to share a bit of St. Patrick's Day cheer, and to prepare a delicious stick-to-your ribs meal. The Saturday Early Show gave Kevin Dundon a $40 budget to prepare three courses for four people.

Dundon is the chef proprietor of Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, located in Ireland's sunny Southeast. Kevin and his wife Catherine opened Dunbrody five years ago; the property is now considered to be one of Ireland's premier hotels and restaurants.

Full Coverage: St. Patrick's Day

Born and raised in Ireland, Dundon trained at the Dublin College of Catering. He went on to travel the world, climbing the kitchen ladder in Switzerland, France, the Caribbean, and Canada. After several years of gallivanting about and mastering his trade, Dundon returned to Ireland to be executive chef at Dublin's tony Shelbourne Hotel, considered by many the most prestigious chef's job in the country.

Dunbrody Country House Hotel is an 1830s Georgian manor. Right from the start, the intimate, elegant hotel did well, and food and travel writers sang its praises. Fodor's Guide to Ireland characterized Dundon's food as "serious and ambitious"; others described Dundon himself as "a seriously talented chef, with a very individual style that is unlike any other cook in Ireland."

Writing in Condé Nast Traveler, Mark McCrum noted that "Kevin's food…is state of the art, and he uses plenty of fresh fish from the nearby Wexford coast. Indeed after five months touring the country, eating everything from amuse-gueules in Dublin to bangers in Ballinsloe, I would rate Kevin as one of Ireland's best chefs."

Dundon also runs a cooking school on his grounds. The school has been designed to cater to all levels of cooks, from budding enthusiasts to the experienced gourmet with an emphasis on uncomplicated recipes using fresh ingredients.

In May 2005, Dundon opened a new Irish Gastro-Pub in Disneyland, Orlando, called Raglan Road and in 2006 he produced a color coffee table cookbook titled "Full on Irish."

For more about Ireland, go to www.DiscoverIreland.com.

Here is the menu for Saturday:
Wild Mushroom Chowder
Mini Shepherd's Pie
Bailey's Crème Brulee

FOOD FACTS
Wild Mushrooms: These are more exotic (and more expensive) than the more common white button mushroom. They have unusual shapes and textures, and their flavor is much more intense. Examples include oyster, shiitake, morel, enoki, chanterelle and others.

Shepherd's Pie: A dish of cooked ground or diced meat (traditionally lamb or mutton) mixed with gravy and vegetables, and topped with mashed potatoes. The pie is then baked until the potato "crust" browns. Shepherd's pie was originally created as an economical way to use up Sunday dinner leftovers.

Crème Brulee: This chilled custard is sprinkled with sugar and quickly caramelized right before serving. Chef Dundon is adding Irish flair to the dessert with a dash of Bailey's.

RECIPES

WILD MUSHROOM CHOWDER

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
9 T butter, diced (at room temperature)
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/4 lb wild mushrooms, chopped (such as chantarelle, oyster and shitake)
2 fl oz white wine
4 cups vegetable stock or water
5 fl oz (1/4 pint) cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
  1. Heat a heavy-based pan and add the olive oil and about 2 T of the butter. Once the butter is foaming, add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook slowly for 4 to 5 minutes until tender but not colored. Take out and reserve some of the mushroom mixture to garnish the chowder.
  2. Add the wine to the pan and cook until reduced by half, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the vegetable stock or water, stirring to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until slightly reduced and all the flavors have had a chance to combine.
  4. Stir the cream into the pan and leave to simmer for another few minutes, then transfer to a food processor and whiz to a puree.
  5. To serve, remove the soup from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Season to taste and ladle into warmed serving bowls, then garnish with the reserved mushrooms.
MINI SHEPHERDS PIE
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 shallot
1 tsp sugar
1 lb potatoes, well scrubbed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 oz lean ground lamb
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp milk
1 oz butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme leaves, to garnish

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the shallot in half and then cut into slices lengthways, leaving the root intact. Arrange the slices on a non-stick baking sheet and sprinkle over with the sugar. Bake for 5 minutes until lightly golden and caramelized. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
  2. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a pan and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain in a colander and peel the potatoes while they are still hot.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, leek, carrot and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until just beginning to soften but not color. Stir the lamb into the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until browned, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato paste and cook gently for another 10 minutes until completely tender. Season to taste and keep warm or reheat as needed.
  4. Push the cooked peeled potatoes through a potato ricer or sieve using a spatula. Quickly heat the milk in a pan. Beat the butter into the warm mashed potato and then add enough milk to make a smooth puree. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, spoon the lamb mixture into 2 1/2 in ring molds set on warmed serving plates. Carefully remove the moulds. Using two dessert spoons, shape the potato puree into quenelles and arrange three on top of each serving (or use a piping bag). Top with the caramelized shallot slices. Garnish with fresh thyme.
CREME BRULEE WITH BAILEY'S

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 3/4cups cream
4 T brown sugar
3 1/2 T Bailey's

Method:
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fully combined.
  3. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Strain it and whisk the cream into the beaten yolks. Add the Bailey's to taste.
  4. Cook the custard in the oven in a water bath until set, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  6. Shortly before serving, sprinkle the tops of the custards with additional brown sugar. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the top of each custard. Or, set the sugar-topped custards under the oven broiler to brown the sugar.
  • Ellen Crean

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