St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of St. Patrick, an Irish celebration, is tomorrow. It is an official Christian feast day that began in the early 17th century, the traditional date of the death of St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity into Ireland.
Green is a significant color, to wear and drink, such as green beer. Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for this day. The shamrock is placed into the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with Irish whiskey, beer or cider. It is then drunk as a toast to St. Patrick, Ireland or those present. The shamrock is then swallowed with the drink or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.
With all the drinking and celebration, it’s no wonder it is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland.
Traditional foods in Ireland include colcannon, champ, coddle, Irish soda bread and carrageen pudding.
Colcannon, from the Gaelic term “cal ceannann,” which means white-headed cabbage, is mashed potatoes with cabbage and herbs. Champ is mashed potatoes with chopped green onions and milk.
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, and more for serving
3 lightly packed cups of chopped cabbage
3 green onions, minced, about 1/2 cup
1 cup milk or cream
Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender, 20 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot. Once it’s hot, add the cabbage.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft, especially the tough ribs. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.
Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork, then mix in the cabbage and green onions.
Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.
Irish Coddle, or Sausage and Potato Stew
12 ounces center cut bacon, divided into thirds
1 pound pork sausage
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 3-5 fresh sprigs
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 3-5 fresh sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
12 ounces Guinness stout beer
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into large chunks, or 20 petite potatoes
1 large leek, thinly sliced
Cook bacon in a large skillet until the edges are just beginning to turn brown. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towels. Reserve fat.
Cook sausage in the same skillet, adding the reserved bacon fat if needed to prevent sticking. If using sausage in large links, keep intact, then slice after cooking. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Layer cooked onions in the bottom of a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven. Place bacon on top of onions and sausage on top of bacon.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add minced garlic, parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Pour in chicken broth and the stout beer. Spread potatoes evenly over the top.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cover and place the pan on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Place the covered pan into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
Add salt to taste.
Serve warm, ladled into bowls.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.
Stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter gently into the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in raisins. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk and eggs together, then lightly beat the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Place the dough into a prepared cake pan.
Bake until the bread has risen and the top is golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. A knife inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm with the coddle.
Carrageen moss, or Irish moss is a seaweed that is dried and used as a setting agent instead of gelatin. We might not be able to get carageen here. The closest to carageen is Japanese kanten, which is also made from seaweed.
Email Audrey Wilson at email@example.com.