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Smoky Bacon & Whiskey Pie

As President Obama announced on St.Patrick’s day his intention in May to visit his ancestral village of Moneygall in Offaly, there have been whispers that he may also visit the home of this famous whiskey in the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, with Tullamore being the capital town of Offaly and the most populated urban centre of the county.  Although the distillery is no longer in Tullamore, at the Heritage Centre there are  tours which teach about the processes involved in whiskey production as well as the history of the town itself.  Also an exhibition centre, fabulous tea-rooms and of course, a tasting of the smooth, triple distilled whiskey on offer after the tour.  There is a lovely olde-world authentic atmosphere and charm in the building with the tea-rooms offering delicious simple home-cooked food with a mix of fresh healthy and of course traditional Irish fayre.  For more information and history on Tullamore Dew Whiskey, Irish Mist liqueur and the fantastic Heritage Centre  D.E.Williams  have a look here.

Give every man his ‘DEW’ D.E.W building by the Grand Canal Tullamore 1887 

The Dew Heritage Centre as it is today

Barrels of ‘Dew’

This recipe is a twist on the bacon, cabbage and spuds dinner a lot of us in Ireland and abroad grew up with and still enjoy. The real Irish ‘Mammy’ style dinner with no frills or fuss, just simple fresh ingredients. I had been playing with a notion to do something different with it for a while, and as I was cooking a meal for my folks too on St. Patrick’s Day, it was a good opportunity for feedback.  Although  this basically uses the same ingredients, I just added leek, onion and Tullamore Dew whiskey into a white creamy sauce with a champ (scallion mashed potato) topping.  I pre – cooked a smoked ham, which is also referred to as bacon sometimes in Ireland, and baked the whole pie in the oven to heat through and crisp up the topping. It turned out really delicious and more-ish, and I’ve already made more individual pies by family request and frozen them for midweek handy meals.  You could use leftover ham or bacon too from a ‘Mammy’ dinner the day before.  The whiskey is optional as is the cream (but soo-ho  delicious in it!) and you can just make, or buy basic white bechamel sauce for this, adding chives or parsley, or both!  We had a bottle of Tullamore Dew leftover from Christmas and it really worked fantastic with the smoked ham as the whiskey flavour was subtle.  If you like Gaelic Cream sauce with steak, then this may be the pie for you!

Most of the ingredients I used were locally sourced and seasonal excluding the ham but were all Irish ingredients.  I nickname it my local pie and intend going the whole hog (‘scuse the pun) and using bacon from my local area too.  The lovely Margaret and Alfie from Oldfarm rear free-range Saddleback pigs, also with home delivery and it is some of the best ham and pork we have ever tasted! The burgers and sausages being especially a huge favourite with my children.  Alas, when making this dish I hadn’t any of their goodies left in my freezer, but intend to try Oldfarm ham next time, although I already know how delicious the outcome will be!  You can find their website here or the blog ‘A Year in Redwood’ here.  Earwigging at a market at Christmas, I also heard of a new young farmer just a few kilometres away who is setting up farm with a few rare Tamworth pigs, a breed which were originally found and native to Ireland – so I’ll be doing a bit of  ‘digging’ around this week!   Ahem, ….onwards to the recipe!

Tullamore Dew Whiskey & Bacon  Pie

(serves 2 adults)

4 oz cooked savoy/sweetheart Cabbage

1 lb cooked smoked loin of bacon

1 medium onion

200ml milk

200ml single cream

3 fl oz Tullamore Dew Whiskey

1 medium leek

1 oz Irish butter

small bunch fresh parsley finely chopped or 1 tsp dried

salt & white pepper

For the Champ

6 large potatoes

5 scallions

2 oz Irish butter

100ml milk approx

salt & white pepperPeel and bring the potatoes to the boil without salt if unsure if the bacon or ham may be very salty.  Reduce the heat to medium and just before they are thoroughly cooked, drain, put back into the saucepan and cover with a tea-towel to keep warm.  The steam will continue to cook them gently.

Trim both ends of the leek and from root to tip clean thoroughly in running cold water.  Wash the cabbage leaves and peel the onion.

Slice all three ingredients finely.

In a saucepan melt 1 oz of butter over a medium heat and gently fry the onion and leek without colour for 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the cabbage for 2 minutes, then drain and gently squeeze excess water from it when cool enough to handle.

Add the whiskey to the onion and leek, turning up the heat for a minute to reduce slightly, then lower the heat to and add the milk.

Stir, add the cream and parsley and continue to cook for another few minutes until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and white pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C

Cut the pre-cooked bacon or ham into bitesize pieces.

Place the cooked cabbage and bacon in a dish or pie tin and stir over the sauce combining well.

Peel and slice finely the scallions and place in a small saucepan with the remaining butter and 100ml milk over a gentle heat until melted and the scallions are slightly cooked but still retaining a some green colour.

Mash the potatoes well, add a little white pepper and salt, then the scallions, milk and butter.  Stir well.

Pipe the champ over the pie, or just spoon it on and smooth over.

Drizzle with some melted butter or dot with little quarter teaspoonfuls of  butter on the top.

The pie can be frozen or refrigerated until ready to bake at this stage.

If baking straight away put in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 30 mins.

If you wish to bake it straight  from the fridge, give it 40 mins in the oven.



Sheelagh x

Also a big congratulations to all winners in the Irish Blog Awards, with food bloggers picking up 3 awards!!!

Here are the well deserved excellent winning blogs….

Nessa’s Family Kitchen

The Daily Spud 

GIY Ireland