10 delicious Irish recipes for Saint Patrick's Day

Date:18-03-2014 08:58:04 read:0

10 delicious Irish recipes for Saint Patrick's Day

It's Saint Patrick's Day, so why not whip up an Irish stew or traditional bread to celebrate?

Comforting: a traditional bowl of Irish stew Photo: Alamy

Richard Corrigan's Irish stew

There is some controversy about whether carrots should be included in this dish. Escoffier says no, but then what would a Frenchman know about an Irish stew! Cold pickled red cabbage is a traditional accompaniment in Ireland.

Serves 4

2 middle necks of lamb, filleted, boned and bones reserved

450g floury potatoes, such as King Edward, peeled

450g waxy potatoes, such as Pentland Javelin or Maris Peer, peeled

700g carrots, peeled

1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced

Good pinch of fresh thyme leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh chives and parsley to garnish

When the butcher bones the lamb for you, have him give you the bones too. Make a well-flavoured stock using the bones and the trimmings from the carrots and onion, plus other vegetables and herbs you like. You need about 900ml of lamb stock.

Cut the lamb into large chunks and put in a heavy-based saucepan. Pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, skimming off all the impurities from the surface. Remove the pieces of lamb with a draining spoon and reserve. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Add the pieces of lamb and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the carrots into pieces a little smaller than the pieces of lamb, and the potatoes into pieces the same size as the lamb. Add the carrots, onion and floury potatoes to the pan and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the waxy potatoes and the thyme, and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or until the lamb is very tender. The floury potatoes will have broken down to thicken the sauce, while the waxy potatoes will keep their shape.

Remove from the heat, cover and leave, without stirring, for 15 minutes.

Check the seasoning, then serve, sprinkled generously with chopped chives and parsley.

Rachel Allen's Barmbrack (báirín breac)

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish sweetened bread not dissimilar to the Welsh bara brith. In Gaelic it’s known as báirín breac, or ‘speckled loaf’, due to the way the dough is dotted with raisins. When barmbrack was baked for Halloween, the tradition was to add to the cake mixture a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a coin and a ring. Each item had a special significance for the person who discovered it in their slice of cake. The person who received the pea wouldn’t marry that year; the stick meant an unhappy marriage; the cloth indicated poverty and the coin riches; while the person who found the ring would wed within the year. Nowadays it’s usually just a ring that’s added to the batter. The cake is delicious toasted and buttered and, if not immediately consumed, will keep for about 10 days.

225g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tbsp mixed spice

¼ tsp salt

25g butter, plus extra for spreading

1 x 7g) sachet fast-action yeast

50g caster sugar

150ml milk

1 egg, beaten

200g mixed dried fruit, either ready-mixed or your own mixture of sultanas, raisins and currants

25g chopped mixed candied peel, shop-bought or homemade

Butter the sides and the bottom of a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5in) loaf tin. Sift the flour, mixed spice and salt into a large bowl and add the butter, yeast and sugar. Beat together by hand or in an electric foodmixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.

Warm the milk just until lukewarm, then add to the flour mixturealong with the egg. Mix until the dough comes together, then knead using an electric food mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, or tip the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead by hand (don’t worry, this is supposed to be a wet dough). Knead for 8 minutes by hand or for 5 minutes in the mixer. Add the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead for another 2 minutes to mix them in.

Put the dough into the prepared loaf tin, cover with a light tea towel or napkin and leave to rise in a warm place (by a radiator, for instance, or a sunny window) for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Remove the covering and bake for 45 minutes, or until deep golden brown on top. When you think the loaf is ready, gently loosen the sides with a spatula and tip it out of the tin. If it’s fully cooked, it should sound slightly hollow when you tap it on the bottom and feel springy when you lightly squeeze the sides. Place it on a wire rack to cool.

Slice up the loaf and serve either fresh or toasted, and buttered.

From Rachel’s Irish Family Food by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, £20,

Clodagh McKenna's beef and Guinness stew

The longer and the lower temperature that you cook this stew, the better the flavour. I recommend that you make it the day before you plan to eat it as the flavours concentrate much more.


25g butter

150g bacon lardons or pancetta

300g shallots, left whole

1kg stewing beef, cubed

400g mixed wild mushrooms

1 litre stout, such as Murphy’s or Guinness

1 bouquet garni

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C/ 325°F/gas mark 3.

Put the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted add the bacon, followed by the shallots. Cook until golden brown and transfer to a large casserole. Add the beef to the frying pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned all over. Transfer to the casserole.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste and transfer to the casserole. Return the frying pan to the heat and use a whisk to scrape off all the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan (this is where the flavour is). Pour in the stout and continue to whisk for another minute; this process is known as deglazing. Pour the stout and pan juices over the beef and vegetables in the casserole. Add the bouquet garni, cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Check the seasoning, take out the bouquet garni and serve with creamy mash or roast potatoes.

Clodagh's Kitchen Diaries by Clodagh McKenna, Kyle Books, £18.99,

Darina Allen's Ballymaloe brown yeast bread

This bread has been made by hand every day at Ballymaloe House for more than 60 years – originally for the family, and then for the guests. I can’t really stress enough what a favour you’ll be doing your family by baking this bread. The main ingredients – wholemeal flour, treacle and yeast – are all highly nutritious. The ingredients and equipment should be at room temperature.

Makes 1 loaf

450g (1lb) strong (stone ground) wholemeal flour or 400g (14oz) strong (stone ground) wholemeal flour plus 50g (2oz) strong white flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black treacle

425ml (3/4 pint) water, at blood heat

20g (3/4) or more fresh non-GM yeast

Sesame seeds (optional)

Sunflower oil


Loaf tin 12.5 x 20cm (5 x 8 in)

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450F/gas mark 8.

Mix the flour with the salt in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl or Pyrex jug, mix the treacle with some of the water – 150ml (1/4 pint) – and crumble in the yeast. Leave to sit for a few minutes in a warm place to allow the yeast to start to work.

Meanwhile, grease the bread tin with sunflower oil. Check to see if the yeast is rising. After about 4-5 minutes, it will have a creamy and slightly frothy appearance on top.

When ready, stir and pour it, with all the remaining water (300ml / ½ pint), into the flour to make a loose, wet dough. (Don’t mix it until all the water is in; otherwise it tends to go lumpy.) The mixture should be too wet to knead. Put the mixture directly into the greased tin. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with sesame seeds, if you like. Cover the tin with a tea-towel to prevent a skin from forming and leave the bread to rise. This will take anything from 10-20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

When the dough has almost come to the top of the tin, remove the tea-towel and pop the loaves into the oven. The bread will rise a little further in the oven; this is called ‘oven spring’. If the bread rises to the top of the tin before you put it in the oven, it will continue to rise and will flow over the edges. Cook for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200c/400F/gas mark 6 and cook for a further 40-50 minutes until your bread looks nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

We usually remove the loaves from the tin/tins about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking and put them back into the oven to crisp all round, but if you like a softer crust there is no need for this.

From Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen, Kyle Cathie, £30,

Diana Henry's raspberries with basil and buttermilk sherbet

Buttermilk was always in the fridge at home in Northern Ireland when I was growing up and it makes the most refreshing sherbet. If you don't want to splash out on raspberries then go for blueberries. And some lemon thyme would be good for the syrup rather than basil.

Serves 6

For the sherbet

125g granulated sugar

225ml buttermilk

Juice of 2 lemons

For the raspberries

75g granulated sugar

3 strips of lemon zest, plus the juice of 1 lemon

3 sprigs of basil, plus a few more small sprigs or leaves to serve (optional)

325g raspberries

For the sherbet, heat 75ml (21/2fl oz) of water and the sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved, then leave to cool. Stir in the buttermilk and lemon juice and either churn in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or freeze in a shallow, wide freezer-proof container, removing it three or four times during the freezing process and blitzing it in a food processor, or mashing it (vigorously) with a fork.

To prepare the raspberries, put the sugar and lemon zest into a saucepan with 300ml (1/2 pint) of water and gently heat, stirring a little to help the sugar dissolve. Boil for two minutes, then remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and basil and leave to cool. The basil will infuse the syrup. Put the raspberries into a serving bowl and strain the cold syrup over them. (The berries become flaccid if they are left too long in the syrup, so don’t leave these for longer than 15 minutes before you want to serve them.)

Serve the raspberries, with a few basil leaves or sprigs (if using), along with the buttermilk sherbet.

From A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, £25,

Cathal Armstrong's roast leg of lamb au jus with herb pesto

Lamb in Dublin, except for less expensive cuts like shanks, shin bones, or neck meat, was a special occasion meat in my family, reserved for days like Easter and Saint Patrick’s Day. One of the most vivid memories I have of growing up is sitting at the oval table in my Nana’s living room with her and Granda, the eight of our family, and anyone else lucky enough to have been invited for Sunday dinner’s leg of lamb. Occasionally, I’ll be out somewhere and catch a whiff of a leg of lamb roasting, and it takes me back instantly to my place at that table in another time.

(Scott Suchman © 2014)

Serves 8-10

1 (9-pound) bone-in leg of lamb, H-bone removed by your butcher

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp salt

Herb pesto

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1/2 tsp salt

Roast the lamb: Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4. Place the leg fat side up in a flameproof roasting pan.

Rub it with the oil and season with the salt. Roast for 11/2 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the lamb (but not touching the bone) registers 135°F for medium rare.

Make the pesto: Meanwhile, place the oil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse briefly. Add the basil and process until a coarse purée forms. Add the thyme, rosemary, and salt and process briefly, until incorporated.

Add the pesto to the lamb: Transfer the lamb leg to a cutting board and spread 4 tablespoons of herb pesto over it. Cover the leg loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Make the jus: Meanwhile, skim and discard the fat from the roasting pan. Add the demi-glace to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Use a flat-edged wooden spatula to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Present the dish: Pour the jus into a small pitcher or gravy boat. Spoon the remaining pesto into a small serving bowl. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and carve it at table. At about the middle of the leg, use a carving knife to cut a horizontal wedge the width of the leg and about 2 inches wide, cutting at a 45° angle from both sides until you hit bone. Then cut thin slices from both sides of the wedge. Once you’ve carved as much meat that way as you can, grasp the bone and stand it on its end with one hand, using your other hand to cut slices off the leg. Spoon some jus over each serving and place a little pesto on the side. Serve with your chosen side dishes.

From My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc

Avoca's smoked trout pot with Guinness and treacle bread

This is a really versatile recipe because you can substitute almost any smoked fish for the smoked trout. Try smoked salmon or mackerel in its place for an equally delicious result.

Serves 4 – 6

For the trout pots

2 smoked trout fillets (250g)

125g crème fraîche

1 tsp creamed horseradish

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp chopped dill

freshly ground black pepper

For the watercress salad

2 Granny Smith apples, sliced

150g watercress

For the dressing

60ml olive oil

20ml cider vinegar

1 tsp grainy mustard

Pinch sugar, or honey

Pinch salt and pepper

For the Guinness bread

Makes 1 x 900g loaf

125g strong white flour

1 rounded tbsp bread soda

1 rounded tsp salt

450g extra coarse wholemeal flour

200ml buttermilk

100g treacle

100ml Guinness

15g porridge oats

To make the trout pots

Using your hands, gently flake the trout fillets into a bowl and fold in the crème fraîche and horseradish.

Add the lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper to taste and stir in the chopped dill. Spoon into 4 small kilner jars or 6 mall ramekins. Cover with cling film, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. These trout pots keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days.

To make the watercress salad

Mix the apple slices and watercress springs in a bowl and lightly dress with a couple of teaspoons of the dressing.

To make the dressing

Combine ingredients in a jam jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well to mix. Season to taste.

To make the Guinness and treacle bread

This is a sweeter version of brown bread. Molasses may be used instead of treacle for an even sweeter flavour. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/gas mark 6. Line the loaf tin with baking parchment. In a large bowl, sieve the strong flour, bread soda and salt. Mix in the wholemeal flour. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, treacle and Guinness. Mix gently with a wooden spoon or your fingers. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the porridge oats. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until the bread has risen, then reduce to 170°C/gas mark 5, and cook for a further 35 minutes. Finally, remove the bread from the tin and return for a final 5 minutes by which stage it should sound hollow when tapped on its underside.

To serve

Place a ramekin on each plate with a little watercress salad and a slice of bread. This bread is also delicious served with a good sharp mature cheddar cheese and some home-made pickle or chutney.

From 'A Year At Avoca: Cooking for Ireland’, Gloss Publications Ltd, €24.95, available from

Pádraic Óg Gallagher's boxty pancakes with a creamy chicken and leek filling

A boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake, usually made with mashed and grated potatoes.

Makes about 10 boxty pancakes

For the boxty:

300g raw potatoes, peeled

300g cooked potatoes, mashed

300g flour

10g salt

850ml milk

For the filling (serves 4)

4 free-range chicken breasts

100g smoked streaky bacon, in thin strips

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp salt

1tbsp extra virgin rape seed oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large leek, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

150ml white wine

250ml chicken stock

200ml cream

To make the boxty:

Grate the raw potatoes into a muslin cloth and squeeze as much liquid as possible into a bowl.

Let the liquid stand for 20 minutes.

Gently pour off the liquid and keep the starch that has settled in the bottom of the bowl.

Add the grated potatoes to mashed potatoes and flour.

Add the starch and salt, then mix.

Slowly add 3/4 of the milk to form a batter of pouring consistency.

Depending on the kind of potato you are using, you may not need to use all the milk. If the batter is too heavy add more milk.

Leave the batter resting for 30 mins.

Drop a ladle-full of the batter on to an oiled non-stick pan on medium heat, and cook it on the first side for around 2 minutes.

Check the colour (it should be a nice golden colour) on the bottom side and adjust the heat if necessary. Turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes more, then put aside and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

To make the filling:

Slice each of the chicken breasts in four equal pieces and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

Add the oil to a medium-hot pan and brown chicken pieces for 10 minutes until cooked, then remove and put aside.

Add the bacon to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure they don’t stick together. Add the onions and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Then add the leeks and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add your wine and reduce continuously, scraping up the goodness from the bottom of the pan until nearly dry. Add the chicken stock and reduce by half. Finally, add the cream and bring the sauce to a quick boil.

Add back the cooked chicken, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Divide the mix in four and add each portion to the middle of a boxty pancake. Fold over and serve with a fresh salad.

Pádraic Óg Gallagher is the founder of Gallagher's Boxty House in Dublin.

Apple and whiskey individual tarts

Serves 4

250g shortcrust pastry

50g ground almonds

4 large Bramley apples, peeled and diced

2 tbsp sugar

250ml cream

3 egg yolks

50g caster sugar

Dash of Irish whiskey

Set the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6

Line four individual tart tins with the pastry. Sprinkle some ground almonds on the base of each one. Then add the apple and enough sugar to sweeten. Heat the cream. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together. Stir in the cream and a dash of whiskey. Spoon a little of the cream mixture into each tart. Keep remaining cream. Bake tarts for 25-35 minutes.

Pour the remaining cream into a bowl. Place over simmering water. Stirring constantly, continue to cook until the custard thickens. Set aside - keep warm

Serve the tart, dusted with icing sugar, with the warm custard. Vanilla ice-cream, thin almond biscuits, raspberries etc are optional.

The Irish Food Board (

Jameson whiskey Irish ribs

Serves 6

5kg beef or pork ribs


1 litre beer

10g garlic

10g paprika

1litre Jameson Irish Whiskey

10g crushed chillies

25g wholegrain mustard

5g cracked black pepper

20ml natural liquid smoke

15g parsley

Three litres of water, with 20g table salt


0.5kg large onions, chopped.

0.75kg honey

1 litre ketchup

1 litre Jameson Irish Whiskey

0.5kg demerara sugar

Put ribs in a large pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 hour, then drain and marinate.

Put the ribs into the oven for 3 hours at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4, with grease proof paper and tin foil over them. After three hours remove the foil and paper, brush with the glaze, and put back into the oven for for a further five minutes.

From Chris Large of Honky Tonk restaurants (

Read more: St Patrick's Day: recipes using the very best Irish produce

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