Those Irish Eyes … (… Potato eyes, that is!)

Our cool northern climate is similar to conditions in Ireland where so many potatoes (with Irish 

eyes) grow plentifully.

Yukon Gold potatoes, along with the humble cabbage, are the ingredients for a simple, satisfying and cheap soup. Accompanied with a brown soda bread, you have the makings of a St. Patrick’s Day lunch or supper.

Soda bread and our northern bannock are very similar in their ingredients, although bannock is usually fried while the Irish variety is baked.

A cross, inscribed before baking on the top of soda bread, is a tradition in keeping with the March 17 feast of St. Patrick.

Soda Bread


1½ cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1½ cups buttermilk

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

¼ cup additional all-purpose flour


  • In a large bowl, mix together the flours, oats, baking soda and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and maple syrup.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing until a soft dough is formed.
  • Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and knead gently a few times adding about ¼ cup additional flour as dough will be a bit wet.
  • Work quickly, and gently pat dough into a circle.
  • Prepare a baking sheet or pizza pan by covering with parchment paper or foil. Lightly flour the paper or foil.
  • Place the round loaf onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of flour over top the loaf.
  • With a sharp serrated knife, make a large cross on the top of the loaf.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until loaf is golden brown.
  • Let cool on a rack, but serve while warm.

Yield = one round loaf

Potato and Cabbage Soup

Potatoes and cabbage are common vegetables in Ireland. So, too, in the Yukon where Mayo and Dawson cabbages can grow to immense sizes.

Here is a small recipe suitable for singles or seniors. Double or triple if you, like I, grew up in a large, Irish-Catholic family and require a larger quantity.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 leek or 2 green onions, thinly sliced (white part only)

¼ cup white onion, chopped

½ small head of green cabbage, thinly sliced to make 3 cups

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper


  • In a heavy soup pot, heat oil and sauté garlic and leek and onions.
  • Add in cabbage and potatoes and cook for about five minutes, stirring to coat.
  • Add in stock and bay leaf and simmer, partially covered for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove bay leaf.
  • Note: If you use a commercial stock, you will not need the additional salt.

Yield = 3 to 4 servings

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