Over his years in the kitchen, he has had some memorable St. Patrick’s Day dinners.
“I’m not certain if the American standard of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day is Irish in origin or not, but would say it’s blasphemy to consider anything else as a substitute for it on that day,” Lake said.
“Here in Chicago, with our large Irish population spearheaded by both father and son Mayor Daleys, we say everybody is Irish on St. Patty’s day. We even dye the river green.”
Many of his top memories of the day revolve around prepping and serving enormous amounts of the above.
“I love cabbage and fatty meat. None of that lean nonsense for me,” he said. “For this year, I recommend a recipe for a root vegetable gratin given to me by my friend and colleague James Beard award winner Chef Michel Nischan, keeper of the hearth and heritage recipes. The reasoning? Root veggies are common in Ireland, inexpensive, hearty and this recipe is over 200 years old.”
3 quarts - Heavy Cream
4 Sweet Potatoes
2 Celery Roots
2 Spanish (yellow) onions
Salt & Papper to taste
Lightly oil a hotel pan. Shingle in separate layers in this order: rutabaga, sweet potatoes, celery root, turnips and onions.
Ladle ½ of the reduced cream on top, spread evenly and repeat process for a 2nd layer, ending with salt and pepper and remaining reduced cream.
Top with a layer of sweet potatoes and rutabaga.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Uncover and take a pastry brush and brush top layer with some of the cream that has pooled in the corners.
Place back in the over for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and place under broiler to brown.
Serve warm or cool to room temperature, refrigerate.
To portion: with a sharp knife, divide hotel pan in thirds, lengthwise and widthwise, slice in ½ on angle.
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