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St. Patrick’s Day, the religious and cultural commemoration of Ireland’s patron saint, takes place on March 17th. Though most of us don’t celebrate the holiday in a serious manner, St. Patrick’s Day is an apt time to celebrate Irish culture and cuisine.
If you’re looking for a new recipe to try this March, consider drawing inspiration from Ireland and its many hearty dishes. Get started with one of these classic Irish staples!
Perhaps the most iconic Irish bake, soda bread is a popular staple of Irish cuisine. This quick bread gets its name from the fact that sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is used as a leavening agent instead of yeast. Though tasty on its own, other ingredients, such as raisins and caraway seeds, can also be added to the dough, making for loaves that are more sweet or savory.
Prep & Bake Time: 45-55 minutes, Makes: 1 loaf with 8 wedges/slices
500 ml buttermilk
250 g plain white flour
250 g plain wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
100 g oats
25 g butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tsp salt
1.) Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (gas 6, fan 180 degrees Celsius). Take a baking sheet and lightly dust it with flour. Mix the white flour, wholemeal flour, and oats together in a large bowl. Next, rub the butter into the mixture.
2.) Pour the buttermilk into the mixture, mixing the ingredients together quickly, using a table knife. Using your fingers, very, very gently bring the dough together. Shape it into a round, flat loaf measuring roughly 20 centimeters (8 inches) in diameter.
3.) Place the loaf on the baking sheet. Score a deep cross on the top of the loaf; this will allow the bread to cook through. Set the loaf in the oven and allow it to bake for roughly 30 minutes. If, when tapping the bottom of the loaf, the bread sounds hollow, it is done. If not, turn the loaf upside-down on the baking sheet. Allow it to cook for a few minutes more.
4.) When baked through, remove the loaf from the oven. Set it on a wire rack and place a clean kitchen towel over the loaf; this will keep the crust of the loaf from getting too hard.
5.) When cool, break the loaf into quarters. Cut each quarter in half, making eight wedges of bread. Grab a little butter or spread of your choice and enjoy!
A popular side dish or main course, colcannon combines two of the most popular ingredients in Irish cuisine -- potatoes and cabbage. This filling dish pairs perfectly with meaty main courses, though it can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone meal.
Prep & Cook Time: 35-40 minutes, Serves: 6
1 kg potatoes, well cleaned
1 small Savoy cabbage or head of kale, finely shredded
150 g back bacon (“Canadian bacon”), cut into small pieces
150 ml double cream (heavy cream)
100 g butter
1.) If any potatoes are particularly large, cut them in half. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan filled with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced.
2.) While the potatoes are cooking, heat a quarter of the butter (25 g) in a saucepan. Fry the bacon and cabbage for roughly five minutes. When finished, turn off the heat and set the bacon and cabbage aside.
3.) When the potatoes are finished, drain them in a colander. Peel them while they are still hot. Mash the potatoes until they are smooth.
4.) In a saucepan, heat the double cream with the remaining 75 g of butter. When the mixture is nearly boiling, take it and pour it in with the mashed potatoes. Add the bacon and cabbage to the potatoes and mix it all together. Taste the mixture and season it to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!
On a cold day, nothing could be more satisfying than a bowl of hot Irish stew! Filled with delicious lamb, bacon, and vegetables, this warm dish is sure to be enjoyed by the entire family.
Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook Time: 2 hours, Serves: 6
1 kg of stewing lamb, cut into chunks
200 g smoked bacon, cut into chunks
900 ml of lamb stock (or stock of your choice)
100 g pearled barley
6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
5 large carrots, cut into chunks
5 medium onions, sliced
3 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Butter to taste
Thyme to taste
1.) Heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (gas 3, fan 140 degrees Celsius).
2.) In a flameproof casserole dish, heat the sunflower oil. Once heated, cook the bacon for four minutes, or until crisp.
3.) Turn up the heat and cook the lamb for six minutes, or until browned. Remove meat from the pan.
4.) Place the carrots, onions, bay leaves, and thyme in the pan. Cook the vegetables for roughly five minutes, or until soft.
5.) When the vegetables are soft, place the meat back in the pan. Pour in the stock and add the barley. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
6.) Once simmering, stir in the chunks of potato. Cover the stew and then place it in the oven to braise.
7.) Allow the stew to braise in the oven, undisturbed, for roughly 90 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and the lamb is tender.
8.) When finished, remove the stew from the oven. Scatter the finely-sliced spring onions on top of the stew and butter the potatoes to taste. Serve the dish hot, or refrigerate the stew and enjoy it for the next few days.
Though potato pancakes are popular in many countries, the Irish boxty is a delicious treat all its own! Generally made from a mixture of shredded and mashed potatoes mixed with other ingredients, like flour and milk, this smooth potato pancake is especially delicious when paired with other toppings, such as sour cream, spring onions, cheddar cheese, or smoked salmon. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; the choice is yours!
Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 30 minutes, Serves: 2 (6 boxty)
150 g floury potatoes (such as Russet or Maris Piper potatoes)
3 large eggs
3 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
50 g self-raising flour
5 tbsp milk
2 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Small chunk of butter
1.) Place the potatoes in a large pan of salted water. Boil the potatoes until they are tender.
2.) Drain the potatoes well; return them to the pot and mash them. When mashed, leave them to cool.
3.) When the mash has cooled, place it in bowl with the flour and baking soda. Mix the ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and one egg. Stir in most of the spring onions, setting a few aside for serving. Pour the milk and egg mixture in with the potato mixture and whisk until smooth.
4.) Heat one teaspoon of sunflower oil and the butter in a non-stick frying pan. When sizzling, spoon half of the batter into the pan, forming three potato pancakes. Cook the pancakes for roughly one minute on each side, or until lightly browned and slightly firm. Flip the pancakes and cook them similarly on the other side. Set the pancakes aside, or keep them warm in the oven while preparing the following three pancakes.
5.) When finished, sprinkle the boxty with the remaining spring onions. For a full meal, use the frying pan to fry some bacon and eggs. Enjoy!
Drinking a glass of piping-hot Irish coffee is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Combining both alcohol and caffeine, this beverage is sure to leave you feeling fine!
Prep Time: 5 minutes, Serves: 2
Hot, strong coffee (enough to fill two glasses or mugs)
3-4 tablespoons of Irish whiskey
2 teaspoons of brown (demerara) sugar
2 heaping tablespoons of whipped creamOptional: spices, like nutmeg, to taste
1.) Warm two coffee glasses or mugs.
2.) Stir a teaspoon of brown sugar into each glass. If desired, add spices.3.) Fill each glass with hot coffee and stir well.
4.) Place the whipped cream on top of the coffee. Drink up!
From hearty, old-fashioned meals to invigorating spirits, Irish food is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied. Though St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated this month, Irish cuisine can be enjoyed any time of year. The next time you’re craving comfort food, consider trying out a new Irish recipe. If the luck of the Irish is with you, your culinary creation will be a success!
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