No corned beef on Friday in New Ulm diocese, but Irish treats abound

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Diocese is the one Roman Catholic diocese in Minnesota that is not issuing a dispensation from the lenten restriction on eating meat on Friday for St. Patrick’s Day.

According to the National Catholic Register, which contacted all 176 dioceses in the U.S. to see if they were lifting restrictions for St. Patrick’s Day, five of the state’s six dioceses will allow Catholics to eat corned beef and cabbage, if that is their custom, on Friday.

New Ulm Bishop Chad Zielinski decided to keep the no meat on Friday rule in place this week. Local Irish Catholics will have to be content with eating salmon, lobster and other seafood.

The diocese has issued no statement on the decision, but the St. Patrick’s Day committee said it will respect it.

“We are very, very sorry that he made that decision, but he must have had a reason,” said Tom Donnelly, one of the founders of the annual New Ulm St. Patrick’s Day parade. He said good Irishmen will abide by the decision. “We always do.”

Actually, corned beef is not commonly eaten in Ireland. It is a taste Irish Americans have picked up after immigrating to this land. In Ireland, much of the country is close to the seacoast where whitefish like cod and pollock, along with crab and lobster are caught. Salmon and trout swim in the many streams and rivers throughout the country.

For those who like a real tast of Ireland, here is a recipe for Irish Soda Bread, a common and easy loaf to make that doesn’t require yeast and long periods of rising.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups whole wheat flour (for a lighter loaf, use 2 cups whole wheat, two cups white)

3 Tbs honey

1 Tb baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

6 Tbs butter

1-1/2 cups raisins

1 T carraway seed

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°

Mix first five ingredients together. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter. Stir in raisins and carraway seed. Mix eggs in a separate bowl, and save 1 tablespoon for later.

Stir buttermilk in with eggs, and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well until it makes a sticky dough. Knead the dough enough to combine all the ingredients well, about 10 to 15 strokes.

Grease a round casserole, or shape dough into a round loaf on a buttered baking sheet, about 8 inches in diameter. Brush reserved eggs onto surface. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a cross into the top of the loaf, about 1/2 inch deep.

Place in the oven and bake 1 hour, 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting.


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