Whether we’re hoping to champion a revival of Russian Naturalism or not, Stage Voices offers you more than the latest in theatre news, video, and writing—it also serves up the best recipes from current shows in any hemisphere. Today’s offering is soda bread inspired by Brian Friel’s play, extended at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York until January 29 (http://www.irishrep.org/dancingatlughnasa.html).
This probably isn’t the recipe that the character Maggie would make for her sisters, uncle, and nephew (we use parts whole wheat flour and honey and would eat it–according to principles of chronobiotic nutrition–in the late afternoon). For a more authentic version, watch the video above—our rendition also has a basis in Grandma Clark’s Soda Bread from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you find, like us, that you don’t go very far without thinking about theatre, here’s a chance to cogitate, inhabit, and, most importantly, celebrate, even when the curtain’s gone down.
DANCING AT LUGHNASA
IRISH SODA BREAD
6 tablespoons sweet butter (cut into thirds)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup honey
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
(1 1/2 cups raisins or currants; 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, if desired)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Soften 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (when melted, use a napkin and coat the bottom and sides of the skillet).
- Line the skillet (bottom and sides) with waxed paper (fit it as best you can and then snip the excess above the pan rim–leave yourself a flap or two to help pull the cake out of the pan when the baking is done).
- In a bowl, combine and mix the flours and baking soda and powder. If you are using fruit and seeds, stir them in now.
- Mix together the beaten eggs, buttermilk, honey, and the reserved melted butter. Stir in to moisten all dry ingredients but do not overmix (or the bread will become hard).
- Spoon the batter into the skillet and smooth. Top with pieces of the remaining butter. Cut a cross into the soda bread (all the way through—this will help it rise).
- Bake for approximately 60 minutes, until golden.
- Take out of the oven, eat after a few minutes or cool completely on a rack.
“Would you put some turf on that fire, Chrissie? I’m going to make some soda bread.”
© 2012 by Bob Shuman.