Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salute to Seafood at Ashford Castle

Anyone can stay at a castle but only a lucky few will be able to participate in Seafood Appreciation Week Feb.28-March 6, 2011 at Ireland's impressive Ashford Castle. Located near the seafood-filled western coastline, Ashford was voted "Top Resort in Europe" by readers of Conde Nast Traveler this year.

Special two-day packages are available March 1 and 2 and March 4 and 5 during which Executive Chef Stefan Matz will guide participants through an oyster farm, a smokehouse, lobster fishing and a gala seafood dinner.

Here's the schedule.

Arrival: Welcome glass of Champagne
7.00pm: Dinner at leisure in the George V Dining Room

DAY 2:
Full day tour of Connemara, escorted by a chef from Ashford Castle
10:00am: Depart for Cleggan
11:30am: Visit an oyster farm
12:30pm: Depart for Ballyconneely
1:00pm: Guided tour of the Connemara Smokehouse at the Bunowen Pier
1:30pm: Lunch sampling of Graham Roberts' specialty products
3:00pm: Lobster fishing aboard a small local fishing trawler at the pier
5:30pm: Return to Ashford Castle
7:00pm: Gala 5-course seafood dinner in the George V dining room

8:00am: Breakfast followed by a fond farewell

Rates start at €385 per person (approximately $535) and include breakfast each morning. For more information, visit: www.ashford.ie

Not all of us have access to fresh Irish seafood so Chef Matz shared his recipe for another special, Beef and Guinness Stew.

Beef & Guinness Stew  
Serves 2

Guinness Sauce
4 1/4 cups Guinness Extra Stout
1 1/3 cup chicken stock
1 medium shallot, diced
2 tsp. flour
2 tsp. butter, room temperature
Combine 4 cups Guinness and 2/3 cups chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce mixture down by 1/3.  Meanwhile, sauté the shallot until transparent and golden brown (about 5-7 minutes).  Add Guinness reduction and 2/3 cup chicken stock, and bring to a boil.  Combine 2 teaspoons flour and 2 teaspoons room-temperature butter and add to mixture.  Boil until sauce has a creamy consistency.

Sautéed Beef Fillet
10 1/2 oz. beef filet, trimmed and cut into small cubes
2 TBS oil
salt and pepper
broccoli and carrots, blanched
potatoes, steamed
Sauté beef in oil in a very hot frying pan.  Season with salt and pepper. When the beef has a nice color and is cooked to liking, allow to rest for two minutes.
Add beef and 1/4 cup Guinness Extra Stout to the Guinness sauce. Reheat, but do not bring to a boil. Season to taste.  Present in a bowl and garnish with blanched broccoli, carrots and steamed potatoes.

Last but not least, says Chef, "serve with a glass of Guinness and a fresh oyster.  Enjoy!"

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