Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (December 15, 2005)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #242,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #27 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > Irish #63 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > English, Scottish & Welsh #23384 in Books > Teens
`The Irish Pub Cookbook' is the fourth Irish themed cookbook I have reviewed from Irish-American Margaret M. Johnson of New York. All four, including `The New Irish Table', `Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles, and Fools', and `The Irish Heritage Cookbook' are of similar trade paperback format from Chronicle Books. They are also similar in that all seem to be collections of recipes from various culinary professionals in Ireland. They all also seem to repeat a lot of sidebar material, although I have yet to see any repeated recipes.To state a perfectly obvious fact, you probably only want to buy this book if you happen to want to cook recipes prepared at Irish pubs. That is, if you already own a fairly sizable collection of cookbooks, many of the recipes in this book will simply be variations on recipes you already have in either a standard book on Irish cooking or in books on Brasserie or Trattoria cooking. This premise, however, is no little recommendation. My personal experience of pub food in England, to which most of these recipes bear a strong resemblance, is that English speaking pubs offer a quality of food at least as good as their much more widely advertised French Brasserie and Italian Trattoria cousins. Like the famous Italian and French `bar food' recipes, these also have the virtue of being very fast to prepare. Either they cook very quickly or they can be cooked up ahead and reheated very quickly. The best model for Americans of pub / brasserie / trattoria food would be the kind of thing you will find at Chili's, Bennigan's, or Appleby's, except that my experience with the three European versions is that they tend to deal in less greasy and less cliched dishes.
My wife's mother was born and raised in Dublin so anything Irish is well received in our home. We love to cook everything from around the globe, and it was a treat to get this beautiful book as a gift for Christmas. Jamie Oliver has an amazing recipe for Steak & Guinness pie that we make frequently. It's a lovely dark stew that's then baked in a puff pastry crust. Delicious. We were excited to try one of the Irish stews from this book in hope that it would compare.Tonight I cooked the Hargadon's Irish pub stew recipe from the book. I was a little concerned as it basically had no seasoning... just salt and pepper to taste. It was lamb, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery, onions and barley. That's it unless you count water as an ingredient. And the ingredient list only lists 3 onions, 5 potatoes, etc. Large, small, who knows? And two cups of barley. Dry, wet, other? No other direction.The recipe started off calling for two pounds of lamb with enough water to cover, bringing to a boil and then adding two cups of barley and cooking for 30 minutes. Two cups of barley is enough to absorb 5 times that amount of water. So after 30 minutes I was instructed to add 5 potatoes, 3 onions, 2 parsnips, 4 large carrots and 4 stalks of celery. I had an unseasoned lamb and barley porridge with about 3 quarts of vegetables to mix in and cook for two hours. I had to add so much water to get it thin enough to even stir in the vegetables I ended up almost filling my 6 quart pot to the top. No amount of seasoning could save this dish. Bland and more bland with gelatinous bits of barley dominating every bite. If you ever try this recipe, skip the barley.The funny thing is the picture on cover of the book is this recipe. No barley in sight.
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