Luck of the Irish


Green clover leafs in the forest

To some, March is synonymous with Kelly green, shamrocks and a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  St. Patrick’s Day is often an extravagant celebration of everything unhealthy.  Green beer, green bagels, corned beef and potatoes is the image that is often conjured when thinking of the “ideal” menu around St. Patrick’s Day.

Well, think again.  Jody Eddy, an upcoming presenter this August at The Lodge at Woodloch has an entire book to convince you otherwise, Recipes and Stories from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.  Ireland is known for extremely local, farm fresh foods that are simple, wholesome, light, and delicious.


“Corned beef? We haven’t cooked that in over 200 years!” is a statement you often hear when asking a local about our presumed dietary staple of the Irish. The Lodge at Woodloch loves to discover something that shakes a stereotype.  We thought that sharing a new recipe might help readjust this faulty thinking with the sights, smells, and tastes of true Irish cooking…

Crispy Duck Breasts with Caramelized Celeriac and Red Onion Jam
Serves 4
Preparation time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
250 ml high quality red wine
75 grams packed brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 duck breasts, fat-cap intact
Crunchy sea salt

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions over medium low heat until they are very tender and completely translucent, about ten to twelve minutes. Add the vinegar, wine, sugar and thyme and increase heat to medium high to bring to a vigorous boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer in a slow, lazy way until thick and syrupy, about one hour. Stir a few times during this process to evenly distribute the cooking liquid. Once the desired consistency is achieved, season with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature. If not serving immediately, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. In a bowl, toss together the celeriac and remaining olive oil until the cubes glisten. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on a foil-lined sheet pan. Roast until the edges start to turn golden brown and the surfaces lose their gleaming patina and transform to matte, about twenty five to thirty minutes. Turn once during the roasting process for even browning.

While the celeriac is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until a deep golden brown. Remove the garlic slices with a spatula or slotted spoon and either use for a garnish or discard. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and using a very sharp paring knife, score the duck fat in even lines about 1-cm apart from top to bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the duck, fat-side down until the fatcap is golden brown and caramelized, about six minutes. Turn over and cook for three more minutes. At this stage, the duck will be medium-rare but cook for a few minutes longer if you prefer it to be medium. Remove the duck and let rest on a rack, fat-side down. Flip after a few minutes to enable even distribution of the juices. Slice the breasts and serve atop the celeriac with a side of red onion jam, a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt and a generous glass of red wine. Drizzle the cooking juices over the entire plate as a final decadent flourish.


Just in case you just can’t help yourself and you need a healthier twist on some of the comfort foods of the season, try:

Healthy Shamrock Shake

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

Roasted Cabbage with Lemon