You guys, it is almost one of my favorite holidays of the year, St. Patrick’s Day. I’m just a few years removed from discovering that I am in fact not Irish, after being convinced that I was after loving Ireland so much. And by “loving Ireland” I mean I love the Irish whiskey and beer, though the people I’ve met there have been some of the most hospitable from all of my travels. It seemed only natural then to do a St. Patrick’s Day food and drink mashup of some of my own concoctions, as well as some from others. It’s all the more appropriate since next week on St. Patrick’s Day I’ll be in Butte, Montana, called by some Ireland’s fifth province, and home to one of the best St. Patrick’s Day festivities in America.
But if you could name an Irish food or drink (not named Guinness) off the top of your head, could you do it (don’t you dare say fish and chips)? I feel like when people think food and drinks for St. Patrick’s Day they probably think green beer (thanks to food coloring) and green shots, which a lot of people probably don’t remember the next morning. However, some of my favorite foods and drinks hail from the Emerald Island. See below for some foods and drinks you can make at home for St. Patrick’s Day from me and some of my friends.
I know, the name sounds something like an epidemic that would be the by-product of St. Patrick’s Day parties. But hear me out. This is one of my favorite Irish foods and the dish from Ireland that I’ve made the most. It’s delicious, it’s token comfort food, it makes me feel like I’m eating healthy thanks to the cabbage/kale, and did I mention that it’s delicious? For this recipe, however, I went to my friend and foodie extraordinaire, Katie Quinn. Watch her how-to Irish colcannon recipe video, follow her instructions, and then drift into a food coma. Eating cabbage never looked and tasted so good when mixed with mashed potatoes and bacon and topped with an egg (fried in the bacon fat, of course). Add a little hot sauce and voilà.
- One head of green cabbage (I like savoy cabbage), chopped (Kale can also be used instead)
- 1 cup of milk
- A bunch of chopped scallion
- Fresh parsley, chopped (to taste); this will garnish
- Butter, melted (to taste); this will garnish
- Bacon, cooked–nice and crispy!; this will be garnish; you could use ham here instead, and some people mix it right in instead of using it as a garnish
- Egg (fried in the bacon fat!); to top the dish
Boil the chopped cabbage, then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain that into another pot to reserve the cooking liquid, using that liquid to boil the potatoes. Then bring it to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon (making sure to reserve the fat to fry the egg! Mix the milk and scallions in a saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, remove it from the heat. Drain the potatoes and then mash them! Add the milk and scallion mixture and beat until well blended. Mix in the cabbage and salt and pepper. Fry an egg in the bacon fat. Put the potato and cabbage mixture in a bowl and drizzle on some melted butter. Add the egg, bacon, and parsley.
Irish Mint Julep
Somewhere, there’s a joke about a southern gentleman walking into an Irish bar. Meanwhile, said southern gentleman will simply have to make a southern cocktail with an Irish twist. The following recipe is a pretty close rendition of the Irish Mint Julep by Bite Me More. It’s pretty similar to the traditional Mint Julep, except adding a little creme de menthe (but not too much, since there’s already fresh mint and the sweetness of sugar), largely just to give the drink some color. However, I added a couple drops of rose water since I had it on hand. I did so in part to bring out the floral aroma even more, but mainly because the word julep actually translates into rose water, or what in the 14th century was gulab ((gul=rose, ab=water). Creme de menthe and rose water on hand or not, the mint julep is one of the easier (and delicious) cocktails you can make at home.
- 3 oz. Irish whiskey (like Jameson)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. water
- 1/4 oz. creme de menthe
- Several leaves of fresh mint
- Couple drops of rose water (optional)
Muddle the sugar and and a few leaves of mint together in a rocks glass (or if feeling fancy, into a silver or pewter cup) before stirring with water. Add crushed ice and pour whiskey over. Add creme de menthe and rose water. Garnish with a few mint leaves.
Irish Whiskey Chocolate Truffles
You guys, it’s Irish whiskey Nutella chocolate truffles topped with crushed M&Ms! My inspiration for this came from Deliciously Yum, only requiring three ingredients and super easy to make. The Irish whiskey and crushed green M&Ms were my own doing. This is St. Patrick’s Day after all. Be forewarned that you’ll likely get chocolate all over you, but you’ll be left with a really rich, boozy dessert that’s really hard to mess up.
- 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Irish whiskey
- 1/4 cup crushed green M&Ms (optional, and can be substituted with hazelnuts, sprinkles, or any other topping)
Heat up the heavy cream until warm (not boiling) and pour over approximately 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. Combine whiskey and stir mixture until completely melted (you may have to warm up during this process to completely melt chocolate). Stir in Nutella, cover, and refrigerate for a couple hours. Once set, make chocolate into small balls (25-30) and put on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining chocolate until melted. Roll balls in chocolate, using a fork to help evenly coat. Place balls on cookie sheet and immediately sprinkle with crushed M&Ms or other topping. Store in refrigerator.
St. Patrick’s Day Pie
After I saw the photos of this recipe that someone sent me on Twitter, I knew I had to include it. It may just be the best looking savory pie I’ve ever seen. Plus the green color of the leeks and savoy cabbage make it a great St. Patrick’s Day food dish. And did I mention how good it looks? There aren’t that many ingredients, but since the difficulty is more on the medium level and there are quite a few steps, you can see the entire recipe and photos on Wholesome Ireland. Someone make this for me, please and thank you.
Seriously though, does Ireland not have the best words for food? Colcannon, coddle, and the list goes on. Keeping with the theme, this is serious comfort food. Coddle looks a bit like throwing all of my favorite foods into one pot, seasoning with the dust of unicorns, and then producing this warm, tasty meal. A bit of sausage, some potatoes, and a little bacon and add some onions and seasoning. It’s eerily similar to a dish my mom made, though being from the south, she just called it stew. This dish comes from Edible Ireland, which has a ton of great Irish recipes, not the least of which is the Beef, Beer, and Blue Cheese Pot Pie. While a lot of traditional coddle recipes involve putting all of the ingredients into a pot to cook over the course of hours, this recipe calls for a little bit more detail, bringing out some of the great flavors used.
- Olive oil
- 1 lb sausage
- 7 oz. smoked streaky bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 lb. baby potatoes, halved
- 2 cups chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bunch of fresh parsley
- Chopped good crusty bread, to serve
Heat a splash of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot over a medium heat. Add in the sausages and cook on all sides just until they have a nice color. Transfer sausage to a plate, then add the bacon and sliced onions to the pot and Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions have softened. Add in the halved baby potatoes and transfer the sausages back to the pot, then pour over the stock. Season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir through the chopped fresh parsley and ladle into soup bowls. Serve with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the broth.