Happy Cruel Winter Book Birthday!

Happy Book Birthday to Sheila Connolly. Her fifth County Cork Mystery, Cruel Winter, is cruelwinterout!

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan’s small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn’t sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan’s pub. But now she’s stranded in a bar full of patrons–and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder. Over the next few hours, the informal court in Sullivan’s reviews the facts and theories about the case–and comes to some surprising conclusions. But is it enough to convince the police to take a new look at an old case?

To celebrate, I (Edith) decided to make one of Sheila’s many Irish recipes from her other group blog, Mystery Lover’s Kitchen. She’s over there most Fridays sharing dishes, both savory and sweet, that she has concocted. I’ve adapted the following recipe slightly, but what follows isn’t too far from her Feb 7 post of three years ago. As you can see, I didn’t have Irish whiskey, but figured I couldn’t go too far wrong with using bourbon, instead.

Irish Chicken and Cabbage


1/2 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin on
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic,  minced
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
1 T dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
2 cups shredded cabbage
1-1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade/canned/from a bouillon cube)
Sheila’s twist—a tablespoon or two of Irish whiskey (Edith’s substitution—an equal amount of bourbon)



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or pie pan and dredge the chicken pieces in it, shaking off the excess.

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Tuck the garlic cloves, carrots, onions and rosemary around and between the chicken pieces. Lay the cabbage in an even layer on top and season with salt and pepper.

Mix the whiskey into the broth and pour the liquid over the chicken and vegetables. Cover the contents of the Dutch oven with its oven-proof lid, or with foil (press it against the contents to make a fairly close seal), then place the pot in the oven and cook for 75 (remember, the heat is low). Peek once or twice and baste the top with the pan juices.

irishchickTo serve, place a piece of chicken on the plate and spoon the vegetables and sauce over it. I urge you to check Sheila’s original recipe for pix of the entire process and for the few ingredients I left out (because, oops, I didn’t have them in the house).

I wanted to serve the dish with new potatoes steamed and then lightly sauteed in olive oil and herbs – except somebody in my house used the last potato and didn’t put them them on the shopping list. So instead I made quick whole-wheat soda biscuits. Which went almost better with the dish than the potatoes would have.

Readers: Who has read the County Cork series up to now and can’t wait to get your hands on this one?  [Me! Me!] Anybody been to Ireland and, if so, what was your favorite meal? Your favorite Irish pub near where you live?

26 Thoughts

  1. I love this series and could not wait to buy this, however Barnes and Noble is telling me the book is “unavailable at this time” on my Nook. Not sure what is going on!

    1. I ordered it for my Kindle, Jane, and they moved the release date out a week, so you’ll probably be able to get it next week. Maybe? I’ll get Sheila over here to reply, too. I also love the series.

  2. Congrats to Sheila! And sounds like a great recipe! (Need something warm and comforting during this snowy, snowy spring break!)

  3. Aw, thanks, everybody! I’ve asked my editor at Crooked Lane about what’s going on with the Amazon delay, and where’s the Nook? So far no answer.

    In case anyone is interested, it’s cloudy and cool in Cork today–no snow.

    Thanks, Edith, for reviving the recipe!

    Actually, my favorite Irish pub (after Connolly’s, of course) is Darkie Kelly’s on Fishamble Street in Dublin. It was once a brothel, run by Darkie (Dorcas), and during one remodeling they discovered a couple of bodies hidden in the walls. Former customers? I spent a lovely evening there with a liquor distributor who instructed me how to drink Irish whiskey. And to think I call this research!

  4. Has there ever been a book more aptly named for the weather on the day it came out? The recipe sounds delicious and the book will be too!

  5. I’m on my library list for this book…of course the library is closed today because of Stella…when did we start to name snowstorms? My favorite pub is The Irish Cottage…the food is terrific!

  6. Sounds yummy but what I quickly noticed was the Market Basket Broth. Go Market Basket! Was in Massachusetts a lot when then stores were going through the family situation. Grew up watching them expand from Dummer Street to Bridge St in Lowell. I was a little squirt back then.

  7. I absolutely love this series and can’t wait to read this newest installment.

  8. There is a nice Irish pub in New Orleans called The Irish House. We like to go there for Sunday brunch.

      1. Crooked Lane has really stepped up (as has Kensington) to give PRH’s orphaned authors a new home. They’re smart and they work hard, and they even involve their authors in discussions about marketing and promotion now and then–a pleasant change. I’m glad we connected (thanks, of course, to my agent Jessica Faust).

  9. I really enjoy this series and can’t wait to read this one too! There is an Irish pub in the little town nearby, but we don’t get much of a chance to frequent it. Had shepherd’s pie once, it was good!

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