Oh, sweet Ireland, how such a gorgeous country has produced such delectable cuisine is no questionable feat, but how said delicacies have been forgotten in the face of Americanized pub food is enough to bring anyone to tears. Just in case you don’t want to be left sobbing in an Irish bar over sorta authentic food on St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a list of some of the most authentic (and delicious) Irish food to make in celebration of the feast of Ireland’s patron saint.
1. Irish Stew
This staple of Irish cuisine doesn’t have a standard recipe, but is a favorite nonetheless, dating back to the 1800s. Irish stew was often made with the mutton of older sheep due to the economic importance the milk and wool of young lambs had for poor Irish farmers, while well-off families enjoyed tender lamb. The recipe for this stew, using root vegetables and tender lamb instead of mutton, is a hearty addition to any feast, perfect as an appetizer or a meal in itself.
This part hash brown, part pancake Irish staple stretches all the way back to the days of the Irish potato famine, when potatoes were mixed into pancakes to make them last longer. Like the stew mentioned above, there are variations on what is put in boxty and how it is made, but traditional griddle fried Irish potato pancakes are by far the most popular kind.
This recipe was originally a way to use up leftover meat and vegetables, and it’s done in probably the most delicious way possible. Shepard’s pie, sometimes called cottage pie whenever beef is used, is a dish made of minced lamb, a variety of seasoned vegetables, and a mashed potato “crust,” coming together to make the ultimate comfort food. Although this recipe goes well with nearly any meat, stick with beef or lamb if you’re trying to stay traditional.
4. Soda Bread
A popular side dish, soda bread is a traditional Irish bread made without yeast, with varieties ranging from the slightly sweet wheaten bread to breads made with stout as the main liquid ingredient. Soda bread can be made in rectangular or round loaves and is often found on the Irish dinner table due to how easy it is to make and how good it tastes with many different dishes. This recipe has a slightly sweet touch to it in part to the addition of honey, a common sweetener in this type of bread.
This list was in desperate need of more potatoes because, you know, Ireland. This dish is perfect for anyone who loves potatoes in all their starchy glory but is also looking for something with a little more health value (even though potatoes, when not fried, are actually pretty healthy!), which comes from the delicious addition of spinach, kale, leeks, and chives. It’s often eaten with Irish bacon (essentially Canadian bacon, or unsmoked bacon) or boiled ham to add a little more substance to the dish.
Coddle is, essentially, a wonderfully comforting Irish hug in a bowl (as the name suggests). Coddle is a creamy or broth-based concoction made of potatoes, onion, bacon, and pork sausage, slowly simmered together to warm perfection that can be served in a cup, bowl, or the ever-appropriate bread bowl. Coddle is another great choice for a starter or it can be a perfect, meat-and-potatoes meal in a bowl.
A wonderfully unique dessert, carrageen pudding is a dessert made from carrageen “moss,” which is actually a type of red seaweed commonly found in Ireland. The seaweed, when immersed in hot liquids, takes on a consistency similar to that of tapioca and takes on a variety of different flavors incredibly well, making it perfect for a pudding.
Now that you’re armed with enough Irish recipes to make a true St. Patty’s Day feast, go out, do the world proud, and make something more Insta-worthy than that over-fried Irish imitator being advertised at the bar down the street will ever be. Erin go Bragh!