Show off your Notre Dame pride with an Irish-inspired tailgate

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By: Victoria Jacobsen
vjacobsen@flavor574.com

John Cope/Flickr

Between the bagpipe players, shamrocks galore and children in leprechaun outfits, tailgating outside of Notre Dame stadium can feel a lot like St. Patrick’s Day. So why not bring a taste of the Emerald Isle to your own set up? Add a traditional dish here, a dash of Guinness there, and you might even win over the non-Notre Dame fans in the crowd.

Irish Coffee French Toast Casserole
A full day of tailgating and game watching should not be attempted on an empty stomach. Start the day off right with this delicious recipe from Frugal Foodie Mama.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 14-oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of strongly brewed coffee
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 shot of Irish whiskey
  • About 8 slices of day-old French or Italian bread

Directions

  1. Spray a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in the coconut milk until well incorporated.
  3. Add in coffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, Bailey’s, vanilla, and whiskey and continue whisking.
  4. Slice your day-old bread into 8 thick slices. Arrange the bread slices in a double layer in your prepared baking pan.
  5. Pour mixture over top of the layered bread slices. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press the bread slices down into the liquid to make sure each layer is absorbing it.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake french toast casserole for 40-45 minutes. It should be somewhat set in the middle and the edges should be crispy and golden when done. 

Irish Chili
This recipe from Food.com is far from traditional, but it includes Guinness Stout and takes less than an hour to prepare. Need I say more?

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. hamburger (not lean, recipe requires some fat)
  • 1 tbsp. jarred chopped garlic
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 3 whole cooked tomatoes, skins removed and cut into large pieces (you can use canned)
  • 12 ox. Guinness stout (1 bottle)
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • ¾ tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. whole green peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

Directions

  1. Brown the hamburger in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion and stir until the onion pieces are translucent.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and the tomatoes. Stir well.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and heat everything up over medium heat, then cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. If you wish, you can top with shredded cheese, chopped green onions or olives, sour cream or celery sauteed in oil.

Irish Soda Bread
This soda bread recipe from Allrecipes.com pairs perfectly with Irish Chili (and tastes great on its own). If you’d like to make a bolder-tasting loaf, mix in caraway seeds along with flour and sugar, or knead raisins into the dough.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 4 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup margarine, softened
  • 1¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes (check loaf beginning at about 30 after putting loaf into the oven.) Continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Colcannon
Looking for a side that isn’t coleslaw or baked beans? Try colcannon. Many Irish families celebrate Halloween by hiding coins and charms in colcannon (each charm was said to predict the next year’s fortune for whoever bit into it.) But it’s also a popular side enjoyed all year long. There’s even a song about it. If you want to bring this taste of Ireland to your All-American tailgate, try this recipe from Irish Central.

Ingredient

  • 4 lbs. potatoes, or about 7-8 large potatoes (‘old’ potatoes or russet potatoes are best, waxy potatoes won’t do)
  • 1 head of green cabbage or Kale
  • 1 cup ( 7 fl. oz.) milk (or cream)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) butter, divided into three parts
  • 4-5 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley or chives

Directions

  1. Peel potatoes and put them in a pot to boil.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, remove the core from the cabbage, slice the leaves thinly, and put into a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water from the kettle and keep at a slow rolling boil until the cabbage is just wilted and has turned a darker green. This can take anything from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the cabbage. Test it and don’t let it overcook – if anything it should be slightly undercooked.
  3. When the cabbage is cooked, drain it well, squeeze to get any excess moisture out, then return to the saucepan. Add one third of the butter and cover. Leave it covered and in a warm place, but not on a burner, with the butter melting gently into it while you continue.
  4. When the potatoes are soft, drain the water and return the potatoes to the saucepan. With the drained potatoes in, set the burner to low, leaving the lid off so that any excess moisture can evaporate. When they are perfectly dry, add the milk to the saucepan, along with a third of the butter and the chopped scallions. Allow the milk to warm but not boil – it is about right when the butter has fully melted and the pot is starting to steam.
  5. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes thoroughly into the butter/milk mixture. Do NOT pass through a ricer or beat in a mixer.
  6. Mix the cabbage thoroughly through the mashed potatos.
  7. Before serving, season with a little salt and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives. Make a well in the centre of the mound of potato and put the last third of the butter in there to melt.
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