Baled Potato Soup
Reuben Strudel
Irish Whiskey Cake

        Corned beef is a long-standing American St. Patrick’s Day tradition. In Ireland, the St. Patrick’s Day meal would most likely be ham and cabbage. Corned beef is a beef brisket or round roast cured in brine which leaves the beef bright red and flavorful. The meat remains pink when cooked, and because the beef is a tough cut of meat, requires longer cooking to render it tender. Reuben Strudel offers a tasty twist on tradition and contains a savory filling of corned beef and Swiss cheese that is wrapped in a blanket of flaky pastry and baked to a golden crisp. Begin your St. Patrick’s Day meal with delicious Baked Potato Soup and end your meal with yummy Irish Whiskey Cake. The whiskey provides an authentic taste of Ireland and marries well with the caraway and lemon. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Baked Potato Soup
4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, chopped and divided
12 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled, divided
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
8 ounces sour cream

Wash potatoes and prick several times with a fork; bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until done. Let cool. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp and set aside. Discard skins. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour; stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons green onions, 1/2 cup bacon, and 1 cup cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sour cream. Add extra milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon, and cheese. Serves 8 to10.

Reuben Strudel
1 pound thinly sliced corned beef
1 (20 ounce) package sauerkraut, drained
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, pressed
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
10 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Cut corned beef into 1/2-inch strips; set aside. Combine sauerkraut, caraway seeds, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir together melted butter and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard; set aside. Unfold phyllo, and cover with a damp towel to prevent pastry from drying out. Stack 10 sheets on a flat surface covered with wax paper, brushing every other sheet with butter-mustard mixture. Spoon the sauerkraut mixture lengthwise down the phyllo stack, spreading to within 2 inches of the edges. Top with the corned beef and the Swiss cheese. Fold in short edges 2 inches. Roll up, starting at long edge of pastry nearest the filling. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut 1/4-inch deep diagonal slits, 1 inch apart, across top. Coat strudel with remaining butter-mustard mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cut diagonally into 3 to 4-inch pieces. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Irish Whiskey Cake
1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup Irish whiskey
4 large eggs
1 cup finely chopped slivered almonds
1 tablespoon caraway seed (or 1/2 cup dried currants)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, whiskey, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer until batter is thick and well blended. Fold in the almonds, currants, and lemon zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool for 30 minutes more. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and whiskey in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Slide the cake onto a serving platter and pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides and into the center. Let the glaze set before slicing the cake. Store, covered, at room temperature. Serves 12.