Local eateries such as the are renown for their Irish specialties. But if you also want to bring a taste of the country’s delicacies to your home, here are a few recipes at which to test your hand. The following are adapted from A Little Irish Cookbook by John Murphy (Appletree Press).
Irish Stew: A hearty meal in itself
This dish was originally made with sheep but evolved when Irish immigrants brought it across the Atlantic.
2.5 lb boned mutton
4 large potatoes
3 or 4 medium white onions
2 cups water or vegetable broth for a stronger flavor
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the meat into sizable chunks. Peel and slice the vegetables, and chop the parsley before placing all of the ingredients into a large pot. Cook at a very low heat for about 2.5 hours until the meat is tender.
You can substitute other meats such as lamb, in which case you can reduce to cooking time to 1.5 hours, as it’s a bit more tender. Or try a vegetarian variation and use chunks of firm tofu in lieu of the meat. In this case, you can reduce the entire cooking process to about 45 minutes.
Soda Bread: A staple side
This delicacy, still popular throughout Ireland, is often baked and served fresh for breakfast.
1 pound plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pint sour milk
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Scoop up handfuls before dropping them back into the bowl in order to aerate the mixture. Add enough buttermilk to create a soft dough. Knead the dough lightly, and form a round loaf of the same thickness as your wrist. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes. After the bread is baked, wrap it in a towel to prevent it from hardening.
Chocolate Cake, Irish Style
This may seem like your typical chocolate cake, until you note the addition of mashed potato and alcohol.
6 oz. self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 oz. dark chocolate
4 oz. butter
6 oz. caster sugar
3 oz. cooked potato
2 eggs beaten
4 tablespoons milk
4 oz. dark chocolate
4 fl. Oz. double cream
2 oz. Icing sugar
3 tablespoons Irish cream liquor
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease two eight-inch cake tins. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan, adding water if it becomes too thick. In another bowl, mix the butter and the sugar together until they’re fluffy, and then add the chocolate and mashed potatoes. Gradually beat in the eggs, continuing to add a little flour. Finish off the process by stirring in the milk.
Divide the mixture between the cake tins, and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is springy. While the cakes are cooling, make the filling simply by first melting the chocolate, and then combining the ingredients together. You can use the filling to stick the two lawyers together, creating a sandwich appearance. Use the remaining filling to cover the top and side layers of the cake.
Drink Specialties: Cheers to March 17
If you’re looking to branch out of the Irish drink staples—whiskey and beer—here are two cocktail mixes to try.
2 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream
2 oz. Irish whiskey
3 ice cubes
Simply pour the Irish cream and whiskey over the ice cubes and stir.
The Lucky Shamrock
1.5 oz Irish whiskey
Half an oz. dry vermouth
1 teaspoon green crème de menthe
Stir all of the ingredients (except the olive) together and pour over ice. Add the olive as a finishing touch, and toast to a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!