St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us and as always corned beef briskets and heads of cabbage will start to fly off supermarket shelves at an astonishing rate. We see no problem with that—CBC is delicious, after all—but did you know that the corned beef we eat today is not really a traditional Irish dish? It’s actually closer to the Jewish recipe for corned beef which a lot of Irish immigrants ate when they came to America. Don’t believe us? Look it up! Now, for those who feel like changing it up this year and going for something a little more authentic, here’s a list of Irish dishes that St. Pat himself may have actually indulged in.
Bangers and Mash
Bangers are pork sausages traditionally flavored with garlic and herbs, and mash refers simply to mashed potatoes. Bangers and mash is a delicious staple in Ireland and the U.K. alike.
Tip: If you want to get extra Irish with it, instead of regular mash, one could throw together some Colcannon, a traditional form of mash that incorporates kale and cabbage into the mix with the potato.
Black Pudding and Eggs
Black pudding, which is a form of blood sausage, is an absolute must when ordering or preparing a classic Irish breakfast. Black pudding usually uses pork blood and pork fat and is traditionally seasoned with onion, black pepper, and spices such as clove or allspice. Although the idea of eating blood may fall well outside many people’s comfort zones, I encourage you, if ever presented with the opportunity, to give it a shot. Combined with a couple over easy eggs, this dish is richer than twenty leprechauns.
Traditionally, Irish stew was prepared—like most stews—with whatever vegetables people happened to have lying around at the time. This hearty standard usually features neck mutton (sheep), potatoes, onions and sometimes other items such as carrots, turnips and pearl barley (barley is a particularly popular grain in Irish cooking). Seasoned properly and with all elements cooked to fork tender delicious, anyone with a hot bowl of this steaming in front of them should consider themselves lucky!
This dish is usually made with sliced up bangers, slices of fatty back bacon called rashers, potatoes, onion, and seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley. But—as it is often a vessel for using up leftovers—it can also contain a wide array of other ingredients. It is best paired with barley, Guinness, and enough Irish whiskey to float a pirate ship.
This tasty delight is an Irish variation on the potato pancake made by grating raw potato and mixing it with mash, flour, baking soda, and buttermilk. The mixture is pan fried for a few minutes on each side. Some alternatives on the dish involve spins such as using only raw potatoes, boiling it as a dumpling, or baking it as a loaf. Boxty is noted for its smooth consistency in relation to other fried potato dishes.
Probably the most well-known of any actual Irish dish, shepherd’s pie is made with—you guessed it—lamb or sheep. The filling is usually made by searing off the lamb (ground or cubed) and vegetables, and making a roux-based gravy, then placing it in a casserole dish before topping it with a potato crust and baking it off for final production. If lamb is too strong of a flavor for you it can be easily substituted with beef.
We hope this knowledge will help make your St. Patrick’s Day a little more Irish. Already bought your CBC? No worries. These recipes are great anytime, particularly so in cold weather beside a roaring fire with a pint (or six) of the black stuff. Stay lucky, my friends!