Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish meal at home
“What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there is no cure for.” – Irish Saying
For many, March 17 would be just another day if not for one thing: St. Patrick’s Day! Observed as a religious holiday in Ireland for more than 1,000 years, St. Patrick’s Day was originally celebrated in America in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Since then, this day has become synonymous with shamrocks, green attire and Irish fare.
If you are interested in finding your Irish side, there’s no better way than by preparing a traditional Irish meal. You can find all of the ingredients at your local grocery store, and with clever usage of coupons, this meal will hit the spot without breaking your wallet.
Irish Onion Soup
Start things off with a piping hot bowl of Irish onion soup.
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
2 large red onions, peeled and sliced
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 cups homemade beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 cup Guinness or Murphy’s Irish stout
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Kerrygold Swiss or Blarney cheese for topping
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not browned. Add the bay leaves, basil, thyme, brown sugar, stock or broth and stout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the broiler. Arrange eight 1-cup flameproof crocks on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the crocks and sprinkle with the cheese.
Place under the broiler 4 inches from the heat source and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Remove from the oven. Using oven mitts to protect your hands, place a crock in the center of each of 8 serving plates, and serve immediately.
What’s an Irish meal without a little soda bread?
3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
9 ounces buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients together several times in a big bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour three-quarters of the buttermilk and begin to stir. Add more liquid sparingly if you need it –– dough should be raggy, soft and dryish. Blend ingredients.
Then knead dough, only for around half a minute. Shape the bread into a circular flat piece and put on a baking sheet that is lightly dusted with flour. With a sharp knife cut a cross across the top.
Place in oven. Bake at 450 degrees for the first 10 minutes, then lower to 400.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
St. Patty’s Day wouldn’t be complete without corned beef and cabbage.
5 pounds corned beef brisket
2 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
8 medium potatoes, pared
1 medium cabbage, cut in wedges
Handful of parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic
10 whole black peppers
8 medium carrots, pared
8 medium yellow onions, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
Wipe corned beef with damp paper towels. Place in a large pan and cover with water. Add garlic, cloves, black peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Skim surface. Cover pan and simmer 3 ½ hours, or until corned beef is fork-tender. Add carrots, potatoes, and onions during last 25 minutes. Add cabbage wedges during last 15 minutes. Cook vegetables just till tender. Slice across the grain. Arrange slices on platter with cabbage. Brush potatoes with butter, sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Potato Apple Cake
Potatoes in cake? You heard that right! Enjoy with a mug of Irish coffee.
Makes 6 servings
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch pie plate.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. Add butter, sugar and ginger and mix well. Stir in the flour to make a soft dough. On a lightly floured board, form the dough into a ball and divide in half. Roll half into an 8-inch-diameter circle and fit into the prepared pie plate. Arrange the apple slices by overlapping them in 2 concentric circles over the dough. Moisten the edges with cold water.
Roll out the remaining dough into an 8-inch circle and place it on top of the apples. Press the edges together and flute them to make a standing edge. With a sharp knife, make 4 slits on top to allow steam to escape. Bake 25 minutes or until crust is browned.
Remove from oven and cut a 2-inch circle in the top pastry to make a lid. Remove this carefully, add the butter and brown sugar, and replace the lid. Return to the oven and continue to bake for 5 minutes until the butter and sugar have melted. Slice and serve immediately with whipped cream or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
St. Patty’s Day only comes once a year, so you might as well make the most of it. St. Patrick may be the patron saint of Ireland, but remember … everyone’s Irish on March 17! So prepare yourself for an Irish feast and discover your inner Irishman or -woman. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Recipes courtesy irishabroad.com.
Sarah Wilson enjoys St. Patrick’s Day and is excited to celebrate with her children.