If you're Irish-American, tomorrow night you're probably planning to serve corned beef with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes (a dish also known as "New England Boiled Dinner") in honor of St. Patty's Day. My husband looks forward to this meal every year.
One thing he won't eat, however, is tradtional Irish Soda Bread, because of the raisins and carraway seeds. So I'm making "Heresy Soda Bread," a recipe that was given to me by an Irish friend of mine. It omits the raisins and carraway seeds and is absolutely delectable--moist, with a hint of sweetness. (This friend gave the recipe to me on the condition that I would never serve it to another mutual friend of ours, a woman by the name of Reilly--a purist who would have been appalled by it!)
HERESY SODA BREAD
3 cups flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt.
2 beaten eggs, 1 and 3/4 cup buttermilk, 2 Tbsp. melted butter
Stir until well mixed. (Add more buttermilk, up to 1/4 cup, if necessary.)
Grease well a loaf pan or bundt pan, or shape into a traditional Irish round loaf. Bake at 350 for about an hour**. Remove from pan immediately.
**I checked my bread after about a half hour, and it looked done; when I poked it with a knife, the knife came out clean, so I took it out. My oven tends to cook things more quickly, but you may want to check on your bread after a half hour or so.
An interesting note:
I just went on-line to read more about Irish Soda Bread, and to my surprise I learned (from an article featuring a man named O'Dwyer, from Tipperary County in Ireland, who now lives in Atlanta and has founded the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread) that TRUE Irish soda bread is very simple, like this recipe. It's made from flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. No raisins, currants, orange zest, and carraway seeds!! While those additions might make the bread tasty, they also make it inauthentic. I should retitle this recipe "Somewhat Traditional Irish Soda Bread," but I'm going to stick with the title that my friend gave it.