St. Patrick's Day is coming--only 13 more days! Americans seem to love St. Patrick’s day – dressing in green, watching parades, and drinking green beer. However, few actually know the reason behind the annual March 17th holiday. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Ireland for over 1,000 years, originally as a religious feast day to commemorate the death of St. Patrick – the patron saint of Ireland. No one is sure of the exact date of the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America, but the tradition began when Irish soldiers serving in America introduced the country to the holiday during the revolutionary war. As more and more Irish people immigrated to America over the centuries following the Revolutionary War, the popularity of St. Patrick’s Day grew. Today, St. Patrick’s Day has become an opportunity not only to celebrate St. Patrick himself, but also to promote and remember the very unique culture of Ireland throughout the world.
One of the very important traditions of St. Patrick’s Day is eating and drinking! Irish cuisine is very distinct and reflective of the natural resources of the Irish landscape and the customs of the people that live there. If you are planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, why not do it properly? Your menu can help celebrate Ireland as much as your green decorations and Celtic music. Below are five different recipes that offer a fresh look at traditional, authentic Irish cuisine. They are perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day party -- easy to make and easy to eat!
Soda Bread Grilled Cheese Bites
This recipe uses traditional Irish soda bread and Irish cheddar cheese. Soda bread became a staple in many Irish homes in the 19th century. When baking soda was invented, Irish people began to use it instead of yeast to leaven their bread, because it was cheaper and easier to come by than yeast. What resulted was a slightly sour, dense and crusty bread. Below is a recipe for grilled cheese using this delicious Irish bread.
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1.5 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter/ melted
8 slices Irish Cheddar Cheese
½ cup butter, divided
Colcannon Potato Skins
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made from Potatoes and Kale – two of Ireland’s most plentiful crops. It is warm and hearty, perfect for Ireland’s cold climate. Historically, Colcannon was made on Halloween, and adults would hide a coin inside the mash for children to find. This recipe is a play on the traditional party snack – potato skins – using Colcannon for the stuffing.
7 russet potatoes
1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and cut in chiffonade
1 leek, light green and white parts only, diced
1 cup of milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ tablespoon nutmeg
6 ounces bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
Salt, to taste
Stuffed Cabbage Bites
Corned beef and cabbage became an extremely popular dish with Irish immigrants in America during the mid-19th century. Many found that fresh meat was too expensive to buy and eat on a regular basis; therefore, Irish families bought meat when they could afford it and brined it into corned beef, so it could be fresh to eat alongside a green vegetable (usually cabbage) on special occasions (the most important being – St. Patrick’s Day!). This recipe is an updated take on that traditionally Irish-American combination.
12 Savoy Cabbage Leaves, washed
½ cup Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
¼ cup parsley
4 slices rye bread
1 pound corned beef
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 carrots, julienned
Chocolate Stout Brownies
If there is one food or drink that comes to mind when people think of Ireland, it is Guinness! Guinness is a dark stout beer that has been brewed in Dublin since the mid-18th century. It is a warm and hearty beer, perfect for Ireland’s cold climate, and it fits well into the day-to-day culture of Ireland – where the drinking age is 18 and pubs are a staple of the social scene. This recipe uses the famous Irish beer in a sweet treat.
1 cup flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups stout (Guinness) at room temperature (do not use foam)
Iced Irish Coffee
Beer is not the only traditional Irish alcoholic drink – Ireland is also famous for its whiskey. Whiskey has been produced in Ireland since before the 1500s. Whiskey is a staple at pubs and at social gatherings throughout Ireland, and it is beloved for its mild flavor and warming qualities. Below is a recipe for a whiskey-coffee beverage – perfect to quench your thirst or for dessert after a St. Patrick’s Day meal.
8 cups of ice cubes
1 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
8 cups of fresh brewed coffee, chilled
3 cups Irish Whiskey
1 cup chocolate syrup
Your Turn: What's your favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?
Categories: Food & Recipes