THE GREAT IR­ISH COOK-OFF

Pasatiempo - - AMUSE-BOUCHE -

Two new cook­books — or cook­ery books, as the Ir­ish would say — are tack­ling that coun­try’s cui­sine in markedly dif­fer­ent ways. An Ir­ish Coun­try Ta­ble by Ir­ish-Cana­dian writer Patrick Tay­lor (Forge) is based on the au­thor’s best­selling series of cozy nov­els about a doc­tor’s ap­pren­tice in the North­ern Ire­land town of Bally­buck­lebo. Along with 10 short, at­mo­spheric sto­ries told by house­keeper Kinky Kincaid, the book gath­ers mostly tra­di­tional recipes that range from home­spun (beef and Guin­ness stew) to el­e­gant (Strang­ford sea scal­lops mar­i­nated with mango, av­o­cado, and chili salsa). Some of the more in­trigu­ing fare in­cludes barm­brack, a sweet honey-glazed bread made at Hal­loween with brewed black tea and whiskey. There are also mus­sels in Guin­ness and a one-pot meal called Dublin Cod­dle, which was often made on Thurs­day evenings to use up all the week’s meat prod­ucts be­fore Fri­day. The dish comes with a lit­er­ary pedi­gree: It’s said to have been a fa­vorite of Jonathan Swift’s, and James Joyce also makes ref­er­ence to it in sev­eral works. Cooked in a lid­ded pan, it’s hearty if not heart-healthy, com­bin­ing pork sausages, ba­con, but­ter, onions, pota­toes, and chicken stock.

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