There’s nothing better than hearty foods to chase away winter chills, and as a young man in Northern Ireland, Colum Egan relished the warming effect of his Mother’s homemade soup.
Today, as the master distiller of Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim-the world’s oldest Irish whiskey-Egan still enjoys “heating his bones” with a big bowl of soup.
“I think soup was bred into me by my mother. She says that there is both eating and drinking in it,” says Egan.
Another of Egan’s favorite dishes is salmon. “I love the thought of eating wild salmon from the very river that is the source of water for our Irish whiskey.”
Chefs around the globe have long turned to spirits to add levels of complexity and flavor to their favorite recipes, so it should come as no surprise that Irish whiskey has a place in modern recipes that will delight the palate long after St. Patrick’s Day.
But for those seeking tradition, Egan shares his favorite recipe for Irish coffee. Pour 11/2 ounces of Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey into a warm glass. Fill with strong black coffee and top with whipped cream.
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in warm water and finely chopped)
1 cup warm water
2 leeks-finely sliced
1 clove garlic-chopped
8 ozs. fresh wild mushrooms -chopped
4 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup double cream
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh thyme to garnish
3 capfuls Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
In large saucepan, saut leeks, shallots and garlic in butter and oil until soft, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes).
Add wild mushrooms and stir over a medium heat until they begin to soften. Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Add the porcini, soaking liquid, thyme and salt and pepper. Lower the heat, half cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour about 3/4 of the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth. Combine with remaining soup, add heavy cream and heat through. Check the consistency, adding more stock or water if the soup is too thick. Add 3 caps of Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey. Season to taste. Serve hot, garnished with sprigs of fresh thyme.
Peppered River Bush Salmon With Bushmills Whiskey Cream Sauce
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 Tablespoon white peppercorns, crushed
2 6-oz. salmon steaks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground sea salt
1 Tablespoon Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus extra to garnish
Combine crushed peppercorns. Cover salmon steaks with mustard and press peppercorns into the cut sides of the salmon to form thin coating. Season with salt.
Melt butter in a hot pan. Add salmon steaks. Reduce the heat to medium and cook on one side, until browned, about 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high, turn over salmon. Add whiskey. Cook rapidly until the whiskey has been reduced. Add the cream and stir quickly, scraping up any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
Cook until the sauce starts to thicken (1-2 minutes), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped chives and serve immediately, garnished with the extra chives.