Bootin’ the Gluten

Inspiration is different for everyone and tends to come at the most unexpected of times. I draw the majority of my ideas for recipes and stories from my travels.

Whether I am squeezed into an overstuffed U-Haul going state to state, or traveling abroad, it is the twists on the classics and the unique or rare ingredients that make me long for more.

If you have ever travelled with anyone who has an allergy, then you know, that it is no small feat to find restaurants that will accommodate them.

More than not, I find myself reading the menu and longing for the foods that I cannot have. This past week, I was traveling throughout Ireland, and caught myself looking over Guinness stews, fish and chips, and bread puddings, jealous that I was unable to experience what is so traditionally Irish. On our first night at the oldest pub in Dublin, our bartender could not understand why I was not sharing a pint with the others.

I told him I was unable to have gluten and he yelled with excitement “A celiac!” Without asking my permission, he poured me a pint of their cider called “Bulmers” and began talking about my options for food. Much to my surprise, they were extremely accommodating and I experienced my first real Irish meal at a historic pub in downtown Dublin. People were so willing to help.

I have had true Irish brown bread, gluten free of course, with breakfast each morning, spread with a pat of the best Irish butter, and I am ready to go for the day.

They have separate fryers preparing only the freshest fish and chips, dipped in their house gluten free batter. And whole sections in their supermarkets, devoted to muesli, flour blends and biscuits, all gluten free.

For those of you that are familiar with Irish cuisine, you know that it is very simple. Menus include potatoes many ways, cabbage, salmon, kippers, bangers and more. Although the ingredients are simple, it is the freshness, which makes the dish so special.

After traveling through Ireland, I have gained an understanding and love for truly simply often very plain food. For this months column I chose to stay true to the Irish culinary culture and prepare a traditional meal that I enjoyed while visiting.

It is not in depth, it uses all known ingredients, and above all, leaves you wanting more. Boiled cabbage, boiled bacon, baked potatoes and a rich parsley sauce, compose this dish, creating a hearty and tasty dinner for all.

Boiled Irish bacon and cabbage

2 pound slab pork loin, or pork butt (whichever you can find)

1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped

1 pound baby potatoes, washed very well

Brine for Irish Bacon:

2 quarts water

1 1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 bunch parsley, rinsed

15 bay leaves

2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns

20 cloves garlic, crushed

2 quarts crushed ice

Parsley Sauce:

5 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons gluten free AP flour blend

1 cup warm milk

1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder

1 cup parsley, chopped

For brine:

In a large pot, bring your water, salt, sugar, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the salt and sugar has dissolved.

Once dissolved, add the ice cubes. Once the mixture has cooled completely, find a dish or bowl large enough to hold your meat, and pour the cooled brine mixture over your meat.

Allow it to sit in the refrigerator over night so the flavors can impart on the meat.

Parsley sauce:

In a medium saucepan, once your butter has melted, whisk in your gluten free flour. Continue whisking until fully incorporated allowing the mixture to cook slightly and remove the raw taste, being careful not to burn it.

After about 3 minutes, slowly whisk in the warmed milk and dried mustard powder. Bring to a light boil or until the sauce begins to thicken. Once it has reached desired consistency, pull off the heat and stir in your chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

For potatoes:

In a medium pot filled with cool water, bring the washed potatoes to a boil. Boil for 10-12 minutes or until they are soft all the way through. Remove from the water and toss with butter and a pinch of salt to taste.

For bacon and cabbage:

In a large Dutch oven, place the brined bacon and cover it with water. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour, or until cooked through.

Remove the bacon and place it to the side to cool. While the bacon is cooling, add your chopped cabbage to the pot and bring the liquid back to a boil for about 7 minutes.

Remove the cabbage from the liquid and serve underneath or on the side to accompany your bacon. Drizzle the parsley sauce over the meat and potatoes and enjoy!

Green was first diagnosed with gluten intolerances as a teenager. Soon after, she developed a blog to share her struggles and successes of adapting to a gluten-free life. Over the years, her passion for wellness has turned into a profession.

A 2012 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York, she is continually networking with other gluten-free experts and expanding her knowledge.

Her goal is to make gluten-free an option for everyone, not just those in need.

Green may be reached at Her column is published on the second Wednesday of each month.