Sunday, March 15, 2009

Peppered Irish Soda Bread with Bacon

Bacon topped Irish soda bread, a traditional St. Patrick's Day recipe, gets a little infusion of freshly cracked black pepper.

Irish Soda Bread

I have been cooking up a storm of my own getting some Irish dishes ready to post for y'all for the St. Patrick's holiday. I bet you can't tell by the picture of that pale woman you've seen that I've actually got Irish roots! Once upon a time I actually had some pretty blond hair but it's gotten progressively darker as I've gotten older and shrunk away from the sun worshiper that I once was back in the day.

So I'm Catholic, and I'm part Irish and I live in the south. Surprise! 

Believe it or not I actually have some Czech roots mixed up in there somewhere too from my Mama's side of the family, but that's another post for another day.

Let's start off our Irish feast with some Irish Soda Bread which is pretty much an essential St. Patrick's Day dish. We need to have some bread to accompany the rest of the recipes coming up afterall!

Irish Soda Bread is traditionally made of flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. The introduction of inexpensive bread soda back in the early 1800s, when mixed with buttermilk, meant that virtually anybody could make bread now, usually in a cast iron pot right in the coals of a fireplace since most folks did not have ovens back then. Outside of those basic 4 ingredients, anything else added is considered a variation from the authentic bread though I don't know why people get all up in arms about recipes being authentic anyway. I always say make 'em your own - yes, even my recipes!

Being the rebel that I am, here I use some black pepper and then bake my bread right in the drippings of the same cast iron that I rendered some bacon in and then, I'm topping it with the bacon I cooked to impart bacon flavor top and bottom. Oh my y'all.. I hope you'll give it a try, not only for St. Patrick's Day, but for any day! I've seen loads of recipes that also include raisins or currants and some that add caraway seeds, so feel free to add those if you like, but I wanted to keep mine strictly savory.

It is also a tradition to cut two slashes in the form of a cross on top of the bread before it goes into the oven. This is primarily to get the heat down into the thickest part of the bread to help with cooking it, but as we Catholics are known to do, there is of course symbolism there also. The cross both blesses the bread by "crossing" it and it is said, releases any demons or evil.

It's really a nice bread, just a tad bit dense but not too heavy, easy to make and simply delicious. Here's how I make it.

For more of my favorite St. Patrick's Day recipes, visit my board on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

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Posted by on March 15, 2009
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