St. Patrick's Day Recipes: Celebrate with Well-Seasoned Irish Fare
When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around each year, many of us (Irish or not) savor Irish traditions with friends, food and fun. Whether you're preparing a full Irish-themed family dinner or celebrating informally with pints and a dish or two of rustic pub-style fare, serve Irish-inspired recipes that are properly seasoned with the right herbs and spices.
In the recipes below, we pair staple ingredients with traditional Irish spices in classic recipes, as well as some new twists.
Bread making has been, and continues to be, a meaningful part of daily life in many Irish homes. The traditional Irish cottage kitchen usually featured an open hearth where daily breads were baked on griddles or in large kettles over the fire. Ireland is known for traditional soda bread, with its distinct aroma and taste.
The vegetal, spicy-green flavor of whole and ground caraway seeds has been a favorite enhancement to breads in Ireland and throughout Europe for centuries. They add a satisfying, toothsome texture and savory flavor to complement baked goods as well as other Irish favorites such as colcannon and Irish stew.
Get the recipe: Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds
Your St. Patrick's Day spread just isn't complete without one of the most traditionally Irish ingredients of all — potatoes. Potatoes are the foundation for many Irish dishes. Introduced into Ireland in the late 1500s, the famous spud soon became the country's main agricultural crop — and the most commonly eaten food, especially by those who couldn't regularly afford meat.
We all know that the starchy, creamy texture and flavor of potatoes melds beautifully with salt and black pepper, but the humble tuber also gets along with grassy-green dill weed and nutty dill seed. Introduce a complementary herbal savoriness with parsley and thyme. The sweet and fragrant characteristics of fennel seed seem to markedly enhance the satisfying starchiness of potatoes as well.
The following vegetarian twists on classic potato-based Irish dishes embrace these herbs and spices to intriguing effect, and they also feature interesting substitutes for potatoes like rutabaga and sweet potato.
Get the recipe: Vegetarian Irish Potato Stew
Get the recipe: Herbed Sweet Potato Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
A hearty, well-seasoned corned beef is the universally recognized centerpiece of many a St. Patrick's Day feast. A generous corned beef roast does double-duty as the celebratory entree on the big day, while providing plenty of leftovers to slice into hearty sandwiches for the week beyond.
By taking advantage of a pre-blended pickling spice seasoning you'll be assured of a more interesting and varied depth of flavor in your finished corned beef. Most basic corned beef brines don't go much beyond salt, sugar and black pepper. A pickling spice blend will add nuances of tangy mustard, spicy cinnamon and allspice and savory celery and dill.
Get the recipe: Classic Corned Beef
Your corned beef isn't complete without a good, homemade mustard. The tangy, clarifying flavor of a fresh, prepared-from-scratch mustard balances the rich density of the beef and elevates the flavor.
Mustard seed is a poor man's pepper — being easily grown in cool northern latitudes like Ireland makes it affordable. It's not just a seasoning spice in its dry form, it can become a substantial condiment when blended with a preserving liquid such as wine, vinegar or a fine ale, as in this most-appropriate Irish version.
Get the recipe: Beer Mustard