With St. Patty's Day approaching, you may be wondering what to make for an authentic Irish feast. More often than not, St. Patrick's Day dishes are colored with green food coloring and called "Irish." Authentic Irish dishes, on the other hand, are more than just green delights. Let's do a little digging into Irish history to see what foods are traditional in the area.
Irish cuisine is based on centuries of political and social change. The food Irish people ate was heavily influenced by what they could raise themselves on their land. You probably already know that potatoes played a huge part in shaping Irish cuisine. Beginning in the 16th century, when potatoes were introduced into their diets, the Irish not only ate them, but also fed them to pigs to fatten them before slaughter, which also explains why pork was a staple during the winter. Since refrigeration was not available, pork was eaten fresh, cured or salted, so bacon was a major part of their diet. Other than pork, fresh meat was considered a luxury. Irish people also faced periodic famines. You've most likely heard of the Irish Potato Famine, which was caused by a disease that spread through the crop in 1845.
Traditional Irish dishes are quite simple and based on the few ingredients that were readily available. Some classic Irish dishes include:
- Boxty: a potato pancake
- Shepherd's pie: mashed potatoes, minced meat (usually beef or lamb) and vegetables
- Colcannon: mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale, and butter
- Champ: mashed potatoes with scallions, butter and milk
For a satisfying dinner, try our Simple Shepherd's Pie recipe with ground beef, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Pork and beef dishes
- Corned beef and cabbage
- Coddle: layers of thinly sliced bacon and pork sausage with sliced onions and potatoes. Sometimes it includes barley, as well.
Our Corned Beef & Cabbage is a great meal the whole family would enjoy on St. Patrick's Day!
Here's a simple Irish Soda Bread recipe that's quick to make and includes ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Now you're set to have an authentic Irish feast!