Thursday, March 15, 2012

Luck of the Irish Soda Bread

Saturday marks the holiday known to many as St. Patrick's Day. The day celebrated by those descended from Ireland - and those that only wish they were. The day where green beer flows freely and bottles of Jameson are passed hand-in-hand. While the drinking and debauchery aren't the highlight for me, I virtually count down the days to the traditional Irish dinner my mom makes every year. 

Her wholesome - but inevitably, characteristically bland - Irish meal is on par with the epic holiday feasts like Thanksgiving dinner, Easter brunch and the best Fourth of July picnic I can dream up. That being said, my dad and I always joke that the only reason we enjoy it so much is because it only happens once a year. As good as it is, I'm not so sure I'd want to be eating corned beef and cabbage once a week, all year long. But for me, it's about celebrating a tiny piece of my heritage outside of an attribution to little magical men and pints of flat keg beer.

While I love every part of the meal, each for its own reason, my absolute favorite part is the Irish Soda Bread. According to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, my definition of soda bread is quite far from the real thing. But whether we bake ours according to the authentic recipe from the motherland or an Americanized version fueled by traditions of the Chicago-based Kelly family, it's a tradition nonetheless. And I feel compelled to share the beloved recipe - in all it's simple deliciousness - with the readers of Chicago Foodies. 

Although I'll be dining at my parents house on Saturday night, I whipped up a batch of soda bread for some of my hungry coworkers to enjoy. Authenticity aside, this is a darn good quickbread that I would highly recommended trying. Who knows, it might soon become a tradition for you and yours as well.

Erin go bragh!

Grandma Kelly's Irish Soda Bread

1 cup raisins  (place these in boiling water for 5 minutes so that they will soften...then drain)
3/4 sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
16 oz sour cream

Grease and flour a bundt pan or an angel food pan. Mix all dry ingredients together. Blend sour cream and eggs together until they are mixed well. Now add dry ingredients and mix just till combined. The batter will be very thick - just be patient. Now add raisins. Bake @ 375 for 1 hour. Serve warm with butter. YUM!

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