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The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

Cooking Blog

Visit our blog to read about Michelle Barry's adventures in cooking and eating Irish cuisine and to learn about new products and upcoming events. 


Filtering by Category: Chicken

Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Hotdish

john barry

It’s funny to me that when you have one baby, and you are left at home alone with said baby for a whole day, you fall into bed that night feeling exhausted from chasing your baby all over and feeding, changing and cleaning up after him or her. Somehow, when you have three small children and you are left home alone with just the baby, you feel like someone gave you the day off! You kick your feet up, watch Netflix, take a nap, read a book and fall into bed less tired than you’ve felt in YEARS. This must be what is meant by the expression “It’s all relative.”

So last Saturday, Paul took Emmett and Isla to meet up with some friends for the day and I stayed home with Eve. We had so much fun. I relaxed, watched TV (of the non-animated variety), read and just puttered around the house, happy to have some one-on-one time with my youngest. The only productive thing I did all day was cook.   

I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite cookbooks, the New Midwest Table by Amy Thielen and remembered the part where she talks about how her husband and his dad harvest wild rice that grows, yes, wild, in Minnesota where they live. Apparently, they line a canoe with plastic and use one big stick to pull the rice over the canoe and another to whack the rice off so that it falls in.  After harvesting a canoeful, 50 or more pounds of rice, they take it to a local parcher.  Once the rice is parched, it is ready to be cooked and eaten. I’ve decided that hand-harvesting wild rice in a canoe is something I definitely have to do once before I die. But not Saturday. Saturday was my day off. Still, I had wild rice on my mind so I decided to make this simple, homey dish adapted slightly from one in Ms. Thielen’s book.

When I poured it into the casserole dish I have to admit I was a little concerned that I overdid it.  There was a lot of food in there. That turned out not to be a problem at all. My brother-in-law came over on Sunday and helped us polish off a good portion of it and Paul opted to take some to work for lunch. In fact, we were lucky to have any leftover.  I’m pretty sure I will have to double the recipe once the kids get older.  

I wish you could see how delicious this thing looks when it comes out of the broiler all brown and bubbling and ready to serve.  I’m so mad at myself for forgetting to take a photo of that part. I really am terrible at remembering to take photos in general, but especially photos of food. I think I’m just too focused on the eating part. Anyway, by the time I remembered to take a photo, dinner was over, the casserole had been mostly demolished and the rest was packed away to send home with my brother-in-law and for Paul’s lunch the next day. Maybe they should make Instagrammable tupperware? I bet that could be the next big thing.

Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Hotdish

Serves 8-10

Adapted slightly from the New Midwest Table by Amy Thielen

2 chicken breasts (cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces)

2 cups cooked wild rice (start with about ¾ cup uncooked rice)

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

¾ cup chicken stock

1 ½ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

16 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped

2 stalked of celery, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 cup shredded cheese, divided (use whatever you like, gouda, mozzarella, or a blend)

Salt and pepper

1 sleeve Ritz crackers

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large saute pan and heat over medium high heat.

  3. Once the butter is melted add mushrooms, celery, garlic, thyme and shallot and season with salt.

  4. Cook until most of the liquid cooks out of the vegetables and the mushrooms begin to brown.

  5. Add the remaining butter and sprinkle flour over the mushroom mixture in the pan.

  6. Add milk, stock and cream, whisking to incorporate so that no lumps form.

  7. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes or until liquid has thickened and no longer has a raw flour taste.

  8. Add half of the cheese and the chives and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

  9. Add chopped chicken and cooked rice and stir until the rice and chicken are well incorporated into the mushroom mixture.

  10. Pour into a casserole pan and smooth out the top.

  11. At this point, you can refrigerate until you are ready to bake or cover with foil and place in your preheated oven for 40 minutes.

  12. Remove foil, crumble crackers in their sleeve until they are about the size and texture of large breadcrumbs.  

  13. Pour cracker crumbles in an even layer on top of casserole.

  14. Spread remaining shredded cheese over crackers.

  15. Change oven setting to broil and broil for 2-5 minutes watching closely to make sure the crackers do not burn.

  16. Serve.




Cheater Chicken Tikka Masala

john barry

Once upon a time in Ireland, white Irish Protestants were virtually the only minority segment of the the overwhelmingly white Irish Catholic population.  Now Ireland has the youngest population in the EU and its monocultural, monotheistic nature has given way to a newfound multicultural Ireland complete with religious and ethnic diversity including Polish, English, Lithuanian, Latvian, Nigerian, Romanian, Indian, Philippine, German, American, Chinese, Slovakian, French, Brazilian, Hungarian, Italian, Pakistani, Spanish, Czech, and South African communities.  This diversity of citizenry, naturally, has brought with it the food of all of all of these far flung nations. These days you can walk the streets of Dublin and see not only rows of pubs but also Chinese, Indian, Italian and other ethnic restaurants.  

In the 1980’s and 1990’s many Indians immigrated to Ireland to work as doctors and nurses to replace Irish medical professionals who emigrated elsewhere. As the Irish economy boomed during the Celtic Tiger era, more and more Indians immigrated to Ireland to work in all kinds of jobs. Now, the South Asian population is thought to make up 1 to 3 percent of the total population of Ireland. Interestingly, the establishment of Indian restaurants in Ireland pre-dates the most significant waves of Indian immigration to the country by over half a century.  

The first Indian restaurant in Ireland opened in 1908.  The venture, pre-dating London’s first Indian restaurant by three years, only lasted a year. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when more Indian restaurants began to spring up in England that another Indian restaurant opened in Ireland, the Golden Orient, which opened in 1956. In 1966 the Golden Orient was followed by the Taj Mahal, which remained open until the mid-1990’s. At first, these restaurants primarily served Indian students studying at Trinity and their adventurous Irish companions. By the late 1980’s the Indian population in Ireland was larger and more Irish people were familiar with Indian food. The restaurant was even mentioned in Larry Gogan’s “Just a minute” quiz on RTE Radio 2.  When asked “Where’s the Taj Mahal?” a contestant responded, “opposite the Dental Hospital”.

 Credit – Dublin City Photographic Collection

 Credit – Dublin City Photographic Collection

The origins of chicken tikka masala are uncertain. Did it come from India? Glasgow? England? Wherever it came from, there’s no question that it is an incredibly popular dish in England, Scotland and Ireland.  And it’s delicious.  It’s even delicious when you make a cheater version like this one.

The chicken in chicken tikka masala is really supposed to be marinated in a combination of lemon juice, spices, garlic, ginger and yogurt, then grilled or roasted before being married with a spiced, tomato-based cream sauce. I didn’t have it in me to marinate and grill the chicken or even stick around while the sauce cooked so I did this in my slow cooker while we took the kids to Chinatown.  It worked out just fine and was full of flavor.

The best part was not having to come up with a dinner plan on Monday night after work.

Cheater Chicken Tikka Masala

5 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon ground coriander seed

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter or ghee

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly mashed

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

1/2 cup heavy cream

Lemon to serve

Season chicken on both sides with salt.

Brown chicken pieces on all sides in slow cooker insert or in a saute pan on the stove over medium-high heat, about 6 minutes per side. Once chicken is brown on both sides, remove and set on a platter.

Add butter or ghee then onion, garlic, ginger and a little salt to cooker insert or saute pan and saute for about 10 minutes until brown and charred in spots.

Add spices and cook for 30 seconds more.

Add tomatoes, half of the cilantro and bring to a simmer scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. I do all of these steps in my slow cooker but if you are doing it in a pan, now is the time to transfer the contents of the pan to your slow cooker.

Add chicken pieces with their juices to the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours until the chicken is tender and comes off the bone easily.

Open lid and remove chicken pieces.

Add cream and taste and season sauce.

Puree the sauce with an immersion blender or in a blender (be careful!).

Taste and season again.

Pull chicken meat from the bones and add them back into the sauce, discarding the bones.

Garnish with the remaining fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and serve.  Or, allow to come to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for a quick weeknight dinner.





What I Would Do With a Day in Long Grove and the Best BBQ Chicken

john barry


The other night we were out to dinner with some friends and they mentioned wanting to come to Long Grove sometime to check out the town. Paul and I are always thinking and talking about Long Grove and the stores.  It’s so much a part of just being in this family that I don’t always experience Long Grove the way I should when I’m there.

We fall so easily into our routine of stopping by Paddy’s and the Boutique with the kids then heading straight to Grandpa’s.  I have to remind myself to take some time and hang out in Long Grove. A couple of weeks ago we were leaving Chocolate Fest and, in our attempt to avoid traffic, ended up driving around the residential areas of Long Grove. I never realized how beautiful it is.  I never took the time to really look. 

Next time I’m in Long Grove I plan on leaving myself a few hours to shop and just be a tourist. Here’s my short list of places that I want to check out.

The Olive Tap

The Olive Tap, which is right next to Paddy’s, is a place I’ve been shopping for years. They always have ten things I need and I love tasting all of the different oils and vinegars.

Broken Earth Winery

Long Grove has a winery.  I cannot believe I haven’t been there yet. Located in the Mill Pond Shops, they have wine, craft beer, cheese and charcuterie, live music and host special events. They have a shop, a tasting room, private event space and a really cute patio. Sounds like the perfect place to refuel after a morning of hitting the shops. 

Galena Canning Company

Ok. I just checked their website and it says that they have been open since 2014. See what I mean? I’ve looked in the windows of this store so many times but I’ve never been inside. It’s a treasure trove of sauces, dips, spreadables, seasonings and rubs, sauces and toppings. Just the place to stock my pantry.

Scout and Forge

Scout and Forge is a vintage store, full of beautifully restored pieces from jars and signs to lights and furniture. I love it! Have you ever watched the show “American Pickers”? Walking into Scout and Forge is like seeing the goods the guys on that show find, all shined up and restored.  Matt and Meg  breath new life into discarded American artifacts with a sound cleaning and conditioning, or by completely re-purposing something into a “new” unique, one-of-a-kind, quality piece. They get their hands dirty so you don’t have to.  Paul bought me a lantern from here for Christmas and it makes me so happy.

Besides planning my Long Grove itinerary, I’ve been cooking a bit, outdoors. The other night I made Kevin Gillespie's BBQ chicken, a family favorite.  I have never seen my kids eat so much protein in my life. You can find the recipe here. It’s so good.