Happy St. Paddy's Day!
This holiday celebrates all things Irish but we have a tendency in America to celebrate it with items that aren't authentic examples of cuisine in the Emerald Isle -- green bagels, green beer and shamrock green milk shakes.
We also tend to throw corned beef in the pot along with cabbage and potatoes -- but corned beef is not traditional Irish fare. Corned beef was actually a British dish although the Irish came up with the method of curing the meat, according to most historical records.
So, if you are looking for traditional Irish food -- what should you make?
Boxty is an Irish potato pancake that is simply delicious and easy to make. It can be used as part of a traditional Irish breakfast or as a side dish for a dinner. I found a great recipe forboxty on Chow.
Other items in a traditional Irish breakfast are Irish bacon, black and white pudding, eggs, beans and grilled tomatoes.
Potato soup is another Irish staple -- see below for a video tutorial on making them from scratch.
Or if you prefer a quick and easy method, local Shoprites carry a brand from Ireland called Erin Soup Mix in the imported items aisle.
I am a huge fan of soda bread and of scones -- as a carb-a-holic, I just can't get enough. Especially with a delicious butter that is lightly melted on both...yum. I searched Pinterest and found an awesome recipe for soda bread and another for scones.
Irish brown bread is something I only ever have when I'm in the Emerald Isle and I love it. I'm not a bread baker and haven't found a local place that comes close to the authentic Irish version. Here's an authentic recipe for brown bread that many folks online are raving about.
As for a replacement for corned beef, my preference is Irish Shepherd's Pie. The Irish version is made more often with beef as opposed to the British version which tends to be filled with lamb. This year corned beef wasn't an option for my family as my son recently had to stop eating foods with nitrates. Apparently the yummy brine that accompanies the corned beef is loaded with nitrates. This turned out to be a great excuse to get more authentic with our St. Paddy's Day menu.
This recipe for Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie comes highly rated by nearly 70 readers on Food.com giving it almost five stars. It is one of my favorite things to eat and I certainly don't have it enough. It is sometimes called "Cottage Pie" because of the beef filling to differentiate it from the lamb-filled "Shepherd's Pie."
The beverage to accompany your meal? Guinness, of course. The art is in the pour, so be sure to review the instructional video on how to properly pour this treat. Slainte!