In America’s view, St. Patrick’s Day is typically filled with drinking and dressing in green accompanied by a party or attending a parade. Though the focus of the holiday differs from Ireland, there are still traditional Irish foods you can incorporate into your celebration. Whether you are looking to cook an Irish meal on the holiday for your family or offer your pals some Irish treats, there are plenty of ways to celebrate by eating.
If you want to hold a traditional dinner, there are a number of foods available. For starters, you can make Irish potato and leek soup, two vegetables often eaten in the Emerald Isle. This soup requires two leeks, one pound of potatoes, half a teaspoon of white pepper, an ounce of butter, two thyme sprigs, half a cup of heavy whipped cream, half an onion, and vegetable broth.
Begin by dicing the potatoes, chopping the onions, and chopping the leeks much like you would celery. Use butter instead of spray in a pot and turn on the stove. Then combine the potatoes, onions, and leeks into the pot. Let this cook for around 15 minutes while stirring every three minutes.
Once the 15 minutes is finished, add the broth to the pot along with the white pepper and thyme. Let the pot sit while stirring occasionally until the soup begins to simmer. At this point, let the soup cook for another ten minutes, then puree the soup using a blender. Finally, mix in the whipped cream and your soup will be complete.
If you are looking for a heavier meal, Shepard’s Pie is a baked dish that only takes about 30 minutes. This pie is layered with meat, gravy and mashed potatoes. Typically lamb is in the meal, but it can be substituted for ground beef. Recipes for this meal vary depending on your unique tastes. For example, some include sour cream while others do not.
Corned beef and cabbage is also a well-known Irish meal, which takes a little longer to prepare than the Shepard’s pie but is worth the wait according to sophomore business major Kyle O’Grady.
“Corned beef is one of the most delicious dishes my mom makes. My family is starting our first annual O’Grady St. Patrick’s party this year, so we will be serving it,” O’ Grady shares.
Tyler McCue, a senior criminal justice major, agrees. “Corned beef is my absolute favorite.”
Unlike O’Grady and McCue, Communication Professor Mary Harris prefers the cabbage side of the dish. “My favorite Irish food is cabbage because it is delicious, simple, and healthy,” Harris said.
After the dinner platters, if you want to serve some sweets this is possible as well. Soda bread is essential when discussing Irish traditions and can be made in many different ways. To be considered old-fashioned, it is made with only flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk (or buttermilk) according to sodabread.info.
“My favorite Irish food is definitely soda bread. My family has passed down the recipe through generations,” sophomore physical education major, Mike Kulik, said.
If you are looking for something with a little more sweetness but want to include soda bread, you can create brown bread ice cream. This includes soda bread with brown sugar and stirs the bread into ice cream.
In the springtime on the countryside, people often go blueberry picking. The result of this is the dessert known as fool. To make this creation, cook blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or any other berry you like with some sugar, then puree them and fold into whipped cream to make a mousse like dessert.
While Irish potato candies are a common dessert found in the United States, they did not originate in Ireland, but this does not rule them out as a dessert treat.
If you are nervous about experimenting with Irish foods, you can offer green vegetables such as peas and green beans as sides. Lay out a tray of fruit including strawberries, oranges, pineapples, green grapes, blueberries and blackberries to reflect a rainbow. Put Rolo candies at the end of the plate to symbolize a pot of gold.
If you are looking for a quick dessert, you can bake cupcakes and decorate them with green frosting. Shamrock cut out cookies, or green pudding with lucky charms are options, too.
Whether you choose to stick to food of real Irish origin this St. Patrick’s Day or check out some creative American ideas, there are countless ways to eat in celebration. Most people use food as a way to socialize, and you can do just that on March 17. St. Paddy’s Day includes anybody who wants to be included, so why not cook up a meal for your family and friends and show them the luck of the Irish.
PHOTO COURTESY of irishamericanmom.com