Traditional Irish Dishes and Recipes to Make for St. Patrick’s Day

The other Irish foods: Tired of celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with corned beef, cabbage, and green beer? Try one of these truly traditional Irish dishes instead

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Mary Donovan, the editorial project manager at the Culinary Institute of America, grew up in an Irish-American family. “We ate a lot of potatoes; we mainly ate them baked or roasted,” she admits. “Apparently, it was to honor my grandfather, who would go off to school each day with a hot potato in his pocket.”

Donovan’s favorite potato dish is champ — “mashed potatoes mixed with a lot of scallions and a good amount of butter. They are so delicious.” Other treats that her family enjoyed when she was growing up included beef brisket braised in Guinness and a traditional Irish whiskey cake. “Irish food has traditionally had a bit of an image problem,” says Donovan. “Nobody thought it was very good. Thankfully, that is starting to change because there is something truly remarkable about Irish food. They’ve always used fresh ingredients." 

irish cooking

Donovan credits some of this sea change to people like Darina Allen — Ireland’s answer to Martha Stewart (with a bit of the Pioneer Woman thrown into the mix, too). Allen, a chef, TV personality, and founder of the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School, recently released a new edition of Irish Traditional Cooking. We think her beef and Guinness stew sounds like the ideal way to get your green on this year. Here’s the recipe.

Beef and Guinness Stew

Serves 6-8

Guinness, Ireland’s famous black stout, has been brewed in Dublin since 1759. It has a very special place in Irish life. Nowadays the “liquid food” is used increasingly in cooking. It is a tasty addition to stews and casseroles, helping to tenderize the meat and imparting its distinctive malty flavor to any dish. This recipe makes a wonderful gutsy stew, which tastes even better a day or two after it is made.

• 2 lb lean stewing beef
• 3 tbsp oil or drippings
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• cayenne
• 2 large onions (about 10 oz), coarsely chopped
• 1 large garlic clove, crushed (optional)
• 2 tbsp tomato paste, dissolved in 4 Tbsp water
• 1 ¼ cups Guinness
• ¾ cup carrots, cut into chunks
• sprig of thyme
• chopped parsley

To make the stew:

  1. Trim the meat of any fat or gristle, cut into two-inch cubes, and toss in a bowl with one tablespoon oil.
  2. Season the flour with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss the meat in this mixture.
  3. Heat the remaining oil or drippings in a wide skillet on high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add the onions, crushed garlic, and tomato paste to the pan, cover, and cook gently for about five minutes.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole, and pour some of the Guinness into the skillet. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan.
  5. Pour onto the meat with the remaining Guinness; add the carrots and the thyme. Stir, taste, and add a little more salt if necessary.
  6. Cover with casserole lid and simmer very gently until the meat is tender — two to three hours. The stew may be cooked on top of the stove or in a 300ºF oven. Taste and correct the seasoning.
  7. Scatter with lots of chopped parsley and serve with champ, colcannon (previous page), or plain boiled potatoes.

One more way to spruce up your spuds? Visit the Irish Recipes page to try Darina Allen's recipe for the ever-popular pan boxty. We'll also give you two more recipes from Irish Traditional Cooking.

» Next: Colcannon recipe and Irish oatmeal explained
 Return to St. Patrick's Day Guide 2013

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