Bits of Ireland

March 17, 2006, midnight | By Alexis Egan, Meaghan Mallari | 16 years, 8 months ago

Great dishes for St. Patrick's Day

There is something more to St. Patrick's Day than wearing green and pinching your friends for not wearing green: the cultural exchange through food. Though many associate the Irish with potatoes, many of their recipes are considered gourmet. These simple, traditional recipes are a great way to celebrate the culture of St. Patrick's Day without all the commercialism.

Colcannon is a delicious and traditional Irish potato casserole commonly eaten in Southern Ireland. According to "The Victory Garden," by Marian Morash, colcannon is traditionally eaten on Halloween with fortune symbols, such as a ring predicting marriage or a sixpence for the forthcoming of wealth, buried in the dish. While some no longer follow this tradition, colcannon is still a favorite among many people and a great main dish for dinner.

This authentic dish combines potatoes, kale and cheese to create a flavorful taste and soft texture. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Mallari.

Makes four main-dish servings

- cheese grater
- potato peeler
- cutting board
- knife
- bowl
- casserole dish
- pot
- large spoon
- measuring cups and spoons

- 1 lb. all-purpose potatoes, washed but not peeled
- 4 cups green cabbage, shredded (You can use kale instead of cabbage if you wish. We personally recommend kale over cabbage)
- 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
- 1 tbs butter or margarine
- 3 oz. sharp Cheddar (or other hard cheese), coarsely grated
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- salt if desired to taste


1. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until they are tender but not mushy. Drain them, reserving the cooking liquid, and set them aside to cool a little.

2. Using the potato water (you may have to add more water), boil the cabbage (or kale) and onion for about five minutes. Drain the vegetables and set them aside.

3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and place them into a bowl. Add the milk and butter or margarine, and mash them until they are smooth.

4. Add the boiled cabbage (or kale) and onion to the potato mixture. Stir together.

5. Mix two-thirds of the cheese with the potato mixture. Season the colcannon with pepper and salt, if desired, and transfer it to a greased casserole or shallow baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

6. Before serving the colcannon, heat it in a moderately hot oven (between 350 and 425 degrees). Let the cheese on top brown slightly. You can opt to heat the dish in the microwave.

Recipe courtesy of Jane Brody's "Good Food Book."

Irish Soda Bread
No St. Patrick's Day, or Irish meal for that matter, is complete without the complementary soda bread. An easy but delicious recipe, this bread can be eaten plain, as a sandwich or with a complete meal.

Irish Soda Bread is a traditional dish made using only a few ingredients to produce a thick, delicious snack. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Mallari.

- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowl
- large spoon
- electric beater
- basting brush

- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tbs. white sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbs. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup margarine, softened
- 1 and 1/4 cup of buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter, melted


1. Begin by heating up the oven to 275 degrees and greasing a large baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and margarine. Once blended, add one cup of buttermilk and an egg.

3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a circle. Into a small bowl, mix the remaining buttermilk and butter and brush over the loaf.

4. Bake the bread in the oven for around 30 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

Recipe courtesy of All Recipes.

Irish Stew
This recipe combines a multitude of savory flavors that creates a delicious stew, perfect for a cold night. The mixture of various vegetables gives the dish a hearty and cozy taste.

This stew, filled with vegetables and lamb, is a perfect meal to eat on a cold day. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Mallari.

-cutting boards
-measuring cups and spoons
-bowls to hold vegetables

- 2 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder or neck
- 5 cups water
- dash of salt (add more if you choose)
- 8 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into coarse chunks
- 8 oz. leeks, well cleaned and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. baby onions, peeled
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, blanched briefly and drained
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbs. unsalted butter


1. Trim off fat from the lamb and cut the meat into large cubes.

2. Place the cubes into a large, heavy pot with the water and salt. Bring to boil, skimming off any fat from the surface, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Add half of the amount of potatoes to the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. After simmering, break up the potatoes by stirring vigorously.

4. Add remaining potatoes, carrots, leeks, onions and thyme to the pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are tender.

5. Add the parsley, cream and butter. Reheat if necessary and serve.

Recipe courtesy of "Gourmet Ireland" by Paul and Jeanne Rankin.

Caramel Apple Cake
A moist, tasty dessert, this recipe requires little work and the result is wonderful. With a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, this dish is truly heavenly.

- measuring cups and spoons
- large and small mixing bowls
- electric beater
- cutting board
- knife
- small pan
- cake pan
- spatula

The caramel:
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed firmly
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 8 oz. of heavy whipping cream

The cake:
- 1 pkg. of apple-cinnamon quick bread mix
- 1 cup of chopped apples
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of oil
- 1 egg

The topping:
- Remaining powdered sugar
- 2 tbs. of powdered sugar
- Cinnamon, if desired


1. Heat oven to 275 degrees. Meanwhile in a small pan cook the brown sugar, butter and two tbs. of the whipping cream until the butter is melted.

2. Pour the mixture into the bottom of an un-greased cake pan and set aside.

3. Combine all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Pour the cake batter over the caramel.

4. While the cake is baking (which will take around 30 to 40 minutes), mix the remaining cream with the sugar until whipped and use a topping for the cake.

Recipes courtesy of Ruth Burkhardt.

These recipes are all delicious and can be eaten alone or combined to make one huge meal. Whether you are Irish or not, these recipes will add an authentic zest to your St. Patrick's Day evening.

Tags: Seasonal

Alexis Egan. Alexis is a (very) short junior, who is very pleased to be writing for Chips Online with all her friends. Along with writing, her other hobbies are playing soccer, reading about Mount Everest and listening to any Irish music. Her favorite movie is The Princess … More »

Meaghan Mallari. Meaghan Mallari is a CAP junior at Blair and resides in Takoma Park. In her free time she plays piano and soccer and is currently an independent girl scout. She loves to run and loves spending time outdoors relaxing in the shade and calm breeze. … More »

Show comments


No comments.

Please ensure that all comments are mature and responsible; they will go through moderation.