Shepard’s Pie, Soda Bread, Guinness. Just a few things that come to mind when we think of Irish cuisine. (And yes, I am in the camp that believes Guinness deserves it’s own food group). In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day below are a couple recipes for classic Irish dishes. You know, for after the bar-hopping…
While the cliche of classic Irish dishes being meat and potatoes based is definitely based on truth, there is more variety than one might think. Being a coastal nation, quite a bit of seafood, in particular shellfish, finds its way into traditional Irish meals. One of the most beautiful Irish folk songs I’ve ever heard is called Molly Malone, and was written sometime in the late 1800s. It features a fish monger named Molly Malone who sells “cockles and mussels,” speaking to a strong presence of seafood and shellfish in Irish culture.
Soda Bread has quite a view different versions. As someone who is not a fan of raisins, I’d opt for a more traditional take when making it. Historically, raisins would have been a luxury for the typical Irish household so for many years, Soda Bread was made without them, as is the recipe below.
Take the weekend and prepare some delicious St. Patrick’s Day food!
Adapted from the recipe by Rachel Allen. Photo credit: Lis Parsons.
Makes: 1 loaf
Active Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp superfine (caster) or granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2-2 cups buttermilk or soured milk*
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, leaving about 1/4 cup aside. Bring the flour and liquid together using one hand with fingers outstretched. This helps the dough remain soft and avoids it becoming too wet and sticky. If needed you can add more buttermilk to help the dough come together, but it’s important not to overwork or knead the mixture.
3. Once the dough comes together, turn onto a floured work surface and continue to bring it together. Pat into a round about 1 1/2 inches thick and cut a deep cross in it. Place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. The loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom and be golden in color. To help it cook thoroughly and avoid burning the bottom, you can turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking if you wish. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
*How to make your own soured milk: gently heat 1 1/2 cups milk until warm. Side note: watch the milk very carefully as it heats because milk tends to burn very quickly. Remove from heat, add the juice of 1/2 lemon and leave at room temperature overnight. You may also use soy milk or rice milk soured in the same way if you wish.
Adapted from the recipe by Marvin Gapultos. Photo credit: Marvin Gapultos
Yield: Serves 4
Active Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr
3/4 cup porter or Irish stout
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
One dozen fresh oysters, scrubbed clean
Malt vinegar, to taste
1. Pour the beer into an 8×8 baking dish, and stir in the black pepper and lemon zest. Place the dish in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, check to see if the mixture has begun freezing around the edges. If so, take it out and use a fork to stir the mixture, breaking up any large pieces of ice and rake any frozen crystals toward the center of the dish.
3. Return the dish to the freezer and continue checking every 10 minutes or so, repeating the breaking and raking process described in #2 until you end up with very fine crystals. Singing “Ice Ice Baby” under your breath and busting some sweet kitchen dance moves while doing so is entirely optional…not that I did this or anything.
4. When you are ready to serve, shuck the oysters. For a nicely in depth tutorial, check out this great video on how to shuck oysters. Shake a few dashes of the malt vinegar onto each shucked oysters, between 1/8 to 1/4 of a tsp depending on your desired taste. Spoon some of the granita onto each oyster and garnish with the remaining lemon zest, shallots and parsley.
Serve immediately and enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
What is your favorite thing to serve on St. Patrick’s Day? Share your thoughts in the comments below!