St. Patty’s Day is here! A cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
While it began as a religious occasion, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved to more generally celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish. Festivities involve public parades and festivals, cèilidh, a social gathering with Gaelic folk music and dance, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.
While the holiday has propagated a culture of alcohol consumption (green beer, anyone?), it began as a feast day and we couldn’t resist finding some Irish recipes to try.
1. Irish Soda Bread
You don’t need potatoes for this one! Irish Soda Bread is a variety of “quick bread” that can be prepared quickly and reliably and doesn’t require yeast or eggs.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour,
plus extra for currants
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 cup dried currants
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
2. Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
The history of shepherd’s pie dates back to the late 1700s to early 1800s, when frugal Irish, Scottish and Northern English housewives were looking for ways to serve leftover meat to their families. The term comes from these areas because of the large numbers of sheep—when it eventually was prepared with minced beef, it was referred to as a Cottage Pie.
Of course, there’s so much more to this meaty dish than, well, meat. Filled to the brim with vegetables and herbs, it doesn’t need to be prepared with anything else!
Try this vegetarian-friendly option for a fun spin on a delicious dish.
- 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups sliced mixed winter vegetables, such as celery, turnips, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, fennel, cabbage, or celery root
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups canned low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the saucepan along with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Mash the potatoes over very low heat, gradually incorporating the cream and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the sliced mixed vegetables, carrots, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well.
Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat, covered, until the vegetables start to soften, 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to moderately high, and cook until the vegetables are tender and almost no liquid remains in the pan, about 10 minutes longer.
Heat the broiler. Transfer the vegetables to a 9-inch pie plate, spread the potatoes over the top, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Spinach Pancakes and Corned Beef Hash
Depending on the amount of dyed
food you plan on eating, rest assured that your teeth won’t turn green from this special surprise: these green treats are made from spinach!
Spinach pancakes and corned beef hash is a traditional Irish meal that will get everyone in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit.
Plus, it’s kind of healthy!
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (about 3 to 4 ounces after squeezing)
- 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped chives
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper
- 1 cup grated sharp or medium Cheddar cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 4 fried eggs
- 2 cups prepared corned beef hash, your own recipe or canned
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
Blend the milk, egg, spinach, chives, flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a blender on medium-high, scraping down sides occasionally, until completely mixed and bright green. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add about 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan, heat through until foaming subsides. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet; use the back of your ladle or a spoon to spread it slightly. Pour 1 or 2 more pancakes, taking care to keep them evenly spaced apart.
Cook until the top is set and starting to bubble, and the undersides are browned and crisp at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook another 2 minutes on the second side adjusting the heat if the cakes are browning before the cakes fully set. Serve immediately or transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the skillet as needed, you should have 8 to 10 pancakes.
To serve pancakes, transfer 2 pancakes to each plate, top with 1/2 cup corned beef hash, a fried egg and a sprinkling of chives.
Irish Soda Bread
Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
Spinach Pancakes and Corned Beef Hash