I thought it would be a good idea to collect all of my best Irish recipes together in one convenient post for you to try out and share with your friends. Here in the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day recipes are something of a tradition, even if you haven’t a drop of Irish blood (as is the case with me, sadly.)
I spent one month in Ireland on a tour with Grand Circle Travel (highly recommended – check out their website here.) We traveled from Galway in the northwest, to Connemara and Kylemore Abbey,
then to Killarney and the Cliffs of Moher.
We toured the Ring of Kerry (in a horrific rainstorm!) and the Dingle peninsula. Then on around to Cork and Blarney Castle to kiss the stone. On the way to Kilkenny we stopped at Cahir Castle and the Waterford factory (where I bought some lovely glasses).
On our way to Dublin, we stopped at the Avoca Handweavers compound and the ancient monastic site of Glendalough. In Dublin we toured Trinity College with it’s amazing Long Library with the Book of Kells.
Along the way, I would ask people for recipes of authentic Irish foods. And of course, everyone’s recipe is authentic, until you share it with someone else, who insists that it isn’t! But even so, I think I managed to get at least several that are as genuine as can be, along with tips on how to prepare them, and even some of the history behind them. It was a magnificent experience, and one I would repeat.
The first recipe I gathered was one for Authentic Irish Soda Bread. I collected this one right at the beginning, from a small pub in Galway where I sat to listen to a local Irish band. Live music is everywhere in Galway. The pub served soda bread and I asked if they would share the recipe. Because it was busy, it took a while, but they did give me a quick verbal, with the admonition “Flour, salt, baking soda, buttermilk – anything else is tea cake.”
Authentic Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups Flour I recommend pastry flour rather than all-purpose. Traditional Irish wheat is soft, and pastry flour will mimic this better.
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 to 1 3/4 cups Buttermilk or sour milk. The liquid required will be determined by the flour choice. If you use whole wheat you’ll need more liquid than the 1 cup.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet, or brush the sheet with melted butter or spray with non-stick spray.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Gradually stir in 1 cup buttermilk, mixing gently with your fingers until dough is firm enough to be gathered into a ball. If dough crumbles, add more liquid 1 tbsp at a time, just until it holds together. Avoid kneading the bread! The less you handle it, the better!
- Place on a lightly floured board and pat into an 8-inch flattened round loaf. It will look a bit rough. It’s supposed to.
- Place the loaf on baking sheet and slash a 1/2-inch deep “X” into the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden.
This bakes best on a quality baking sheet or stone. Check out these options from Kerekes – The Chef Station:
Later down the road in Killarney, we were treated to some delicious Irish Stew, so of course I had to get that recipe. I had to gather several versions and piece them together to re-create what I remembered from the dish I had there, and this one comes closest.
Authentic Irish Stew Recipe
- 3 pounds Lamb Shoulder cut in 2-inch chunks. Can substitute mutton, beef, veal, venison – even goat meat!
- 4 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp Flour optional – especially if adding sliced potatoes below
- 2 pounds Onions about 6 medium, cut in wedges
- 1 pound Carrots about 6 medium, cut in large chunks
- 4 cups Water or beef or chicken broth
- Splash of red wine to taste optional
- Dash of Worcestershire optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large Thyme sprig
- 3 pounds Russet Potatoes peeled and halved. For thicker broth, slice 1/2 potato in thin slices. (Can substitute Yukon gold potatoes, but the broth will be thinner).
- Pat meat chunks with a paper towel to dry, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, oven-safe soup pot with lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. If desired, dredge the meat in flour. Brown meat on all sides.
- Remove meat and and add onions and carrots to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables, stirring, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Depending on the size of your pot, remove all but the lowest rack in the oven, and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Return meat to pot, add broth and bring to a simmer. Add thyme and arrange potatoes on top of the meat. Add a final dash of salt and pepper, cover the pot and put into the oven.
This recipe works best in a good quality Dutch oven. Find a professional-grade Dutch oven at Uno Casa
And finally, at our farewell dinner, we were served this Irish Cream Coffee Cake. It’s not coffee cake in the American sense – a yellow cake with a sugar crumble on top. No – this is cake made with coffee, and some Bailey’s thrown in because – well, because it’s Irish. It was so unusual I had to get the recipe.
Irish Coffee Cake
- 2.25 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- 12 oz Caster or Baker’s sugar see Instructions
- 6 lg Eggs
- 8 oz Milk
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 2 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 tbsp Coffee Extract or 1 TBL instant coffee granules and 2 tsp water
- 1 tbsp Irish Cream liqueur
- 1 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Coffee Extract
- 1 tbsp Irish Cream liqueur
- 2 tsp Water or Milk
- Grease and flour a bundt pan. Be sure to dust all the corners. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and pale.
- Add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated.
- Add the milk and sour cream and combine.
- Mix the baking powder and flour with a whisk and slowly add to the batter. Scrape down the sides and beat until smooth – about two more minutes.
- Pour about 3/4 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
- Mix the coffee extract or granule/water mixture and the Irish Cream to the remaining batter. Drop this batter onto the top of the batter in the bundt pan and cut through it several times with a butter knife.
- Bake at 350 for about 55 minutes (mine was right on at 55 min.) or until a pick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, invert and let the cake cool completely.
- To make the icing, simply mix together the powdered sugar, Irish Cream and coffee extract or granules and slowly add water or milk until you get a fairly thin consistency. The icing on my cake in the picture is just a little too thick – I should have added a few drops more water.
- Drizzle the cake with icing.
See a good selection of Bundt pans below. I recommend nothing with edges that are too sharp – it can make getting the cake out of the pan more difficult:
Of course, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day without considering a classic Corned Beef and Cabbage. And rather than crock-pot mush, here’s my recipe for baked Corned Beef.
Baked Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 4 lbs Corned Beef Brisket preferably flat-cut, not point cut
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 4 cups Water
- 12 medium Carrots peeled, halved
- 2 ribs Celery sliced
- 1 med Onion thick cut or quartered
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme minced
- 1 tsp Allspice Berries really critical for authentic corned beef
- 3 tbsp Butter unsalted
- 1 1/2 lbs Small Red Potatoes halved
- 1 head Cabbage (2 lbs) cut into 8 wedges, leaving core intact
- Preheat oven to 300F. Rinse off the salt from the brisket under cold running water.
- Combine beef, broth, water, celery, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme and allspice in a covered baking dish (I use my Le Creuset casserole). Bake at 300F for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, or until a fork pierces the meat easily.
- Remove the meat to a baking dish. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh and skim off excess fat. Add 1 cup of liquid to meat and cover with foil, letting it rest for 30 minutes.
- Pour the remaining cooking liquid into a large pot and add the butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook to soften – about 10 minutes. Add carrot halves and cabbage, cover and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer veggies to a serving dish and season with pepper to taste. Slice the beef across the grain into 1/4″ slices. Serve with vegetables