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Grilling with a Kick…and a Side of Spuds

Ribeye steak.

Recipes | By Margaret M. Johnson

Move over hot dogs, hamburgers, shrimp, and kabobs. All delicious for your average BBQ or cook-out, but if you’re looking for some recipes with panache — and a touch of Irish spirits — to add to your grilling agenda, you might want to try one of these. Choose your meat, but do not forget the potato cakes, easily made ahead and cooked while the meats are grilling!

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Ask your butcher to butterfly (bone and flatten) a leg of lamb for you, or use the marinade for another cut of lamb, such as chops or cutlets.

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup Irish whiskey

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

One 6-to-7 pound leg of lamb, butterflied

1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, whiskey, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt, sugar, paprika, rosemary, oregano, and pepper. Place lamb in a shallow dish and pour marinade over, reserving 1/4 cup for basting. Turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Turn lamb 2 to 3 times during marinating to coat evenly.

2. Remove lamb from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. (Discard marinade).

3. Light a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Transfer lamb to an oiled cooking rack and grill for 12 to 14 minutes, or until thermometer inserted into center registers 125 to 128°F for medium-rare. Baste once or twice with reserved marinade.

4. Remove lamb from grill and let sit, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 135°F while meat stands.) Cut across grain into slices.



For the steak sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

8 large white mushrooms, chopped

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

3/4 cup beef stock

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Sea salt

Ground pepper

Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

For the steak

Two 10-ounce rib eye steaks

Olive oil

Sea salt

Ground pepper

1. Make sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter and oil. Add garlic, shallot, and mushrooms; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in honey and mustard; cook for 1 minute. Add whiskey and stock; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Whisk in cream; cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

2. Make steaks. Light a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Season meat on both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill to desired doneness (130°F for rare, 140°F for medium, 150°F for well-done). To serve, put a steak on each plate and spoon sauce over. Serve with potato cakes.



1 small cabbage, cored, quartered, and shredded

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 small leek (white and green parts), washed and sliced

1/2 cup milk


Ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons canola oil, for frying

1. In separate medium saucepans, cook cabbage and potatoes in salted boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain cabbage and chop; drain potatoes and mash. Combine in a large bowl with butter.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine leeks and milk. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until leeks are tender. Stir into potato mixture and season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer potato mixture to a work surface and pat it into a 1/2-inch-thick round. With an offset spatula or your fingers, smooth top. Refrigerate for 10 to15 minutes, or until potatoes are cold. With a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 4 rounds.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Cook the potato cakes for 3–4 minutes on each side, or until browned and heated through. Keep warm.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page also includes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed copy of her new cookbook “Teatime in Ireland” (Buy One Get One Free SUMMER SPECIAL), visit