Celebrate St Patrick’s Day the Traditional Way

by Nick Harman - Friday February 20, 2009 5:36 am

The Irish are renowned for their traditional home cooking and for generations have been passing down their recipes and demonstrating their commitment to good quality Irish produce. 

St Patrick’s Day (17th March) is traditionally the day for celebrating exceptional food and drink from Ireland.  And this year, Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) has developed some delicious recipes designed to highlight the wealth of products available and to get the whole family cooking.  From grass fed Irish beef and artisan cheeses to hand made chocolates and finest quality oats we’re spoilt for choice.   

This selection of recipes are quick, easy to prepare, but most of all fun.  So get family and friends together and celebrate St Patrick’s Day the traditional way - cooking, eating, drinking, and of course, not forgetting a good old Irish sing song!

Irish Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Shamrock Biscuits

Makes 28-30

300g mature Irish farmhouse cheese such as Ardrahan or Carrigaline* - finely grated
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
200g butter, diced
2 free-range egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 5. Lightly grease 2-3 baking sheets with butter and line with non-stick baking paper.

Mix the grated cheese, flour, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Stir in the egg yolks with a kitchen knife until the mixture comes together in a ball. Tip out onto a work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick.

Using a shamrock-shaped biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and place them spaced a little apart on the prepared baking sheets. Re-knead and roll the trimmings once or twice to make more biscuits. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until richly golden around the edges. Remove and leave to cool on the baking tray. Store in an airtight tin once cold.

•    Ardrahan and Carrigaline are Irish farmhouse cheeses made in County Cork
•    You can buy shamrock biscuit cutters online

Irish Farmhouse Cheese and Oat Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf

275g plain flour, plus extra for kneading
1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
250g stoneground wholemeal flour
25g Flahavan’s Irish porridge oats, plus extra for sprinkling
125g Irish farmhouse cheese such as Adrahan or Carrigaline* coarsely grated
Approximately 500ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8. Sift the plain flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir in the wholemeal flour, 25g of the oats and 75g of the grated cheese. Make a well in the centre, add 450ml of the buttermilk and mix together to make a soft but not too sticky dough. Add a little more buttermilk or milk if the mixture seems a little dry.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly and briefly into a round. Flip the dough over and gently flatten it into a disc about 4cm thick.

Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour and place the dough on it and sprinkle over the remaining cheese and a few more oats. Then using a large, sharp knife, cut a large cross into the top of the loaf, almost all the way through the dough.

Bake the loaf on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 200C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you tap the base. Leave to cool before serving.

Irish Beef and Irish Stout Casserole with Herby Dumplings

Serves 12 (Freeze half)

4 tbsp sunflower oil
500g shallots or button onions, peeled
1 large onion, sliced
4 carrots, cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 tbsp sugar
65g plain flour
1.5kg Irish chuck steak or Irish braising steak*, cut into 6-7cm chunks
75g butter
1 litre Irish stout
300ml beef stock
The leaves from 3 large sprigs thyme
4 fresh bay leaves
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
250g chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and left whole
250g field mushrooms, wiped clean and thickly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, flameproof casserole. Add the shallots or small onions and fry until they are nicely browned all over. Set aside on a plate. Add the onions, carrots and sugar and fry until nicely browned. Set aside with the shallots.

Put the flour into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss together well. Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole and fry the beef in batches until nicely browned on all sides. Set each batch aside with the vegetables as it browns.

Add 25g of the butter to the casserole and stir in the remaining seasoned flour from the bowl. Gradually stir in the stout, rubbing the base of the pan to release all the caramelised juices. Stir in the stock, followed by the beef and vegetables, thyme leaves, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, part-cover and leave to simmer

very slowly on the top of the stove for 1½ hours.

Melt the remaining butter in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry briskly for 2 minutes. Stir them into the casserole, part-cover, and simmer for another 1 hour until the beef is tender.

Herby Dumplings

Serves 6

100g self-raising flour
A large pinch baking powder
¼ tsp salt
50g shredded beef suet
The leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
Approx. 100ml cold water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and a little pepper into a bowl and stir in the suet and thyme leaves. Stir in enough cold water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Using a spoon, divide the dough roughly into 6 pieces and drop onto the top of the simmering stew 25 minutes before the end of cooking. Recover and leave to cook until fluffed up and cooked through. A fine skewer, pushed into centre of a dumpling, should come out clean.

•    Irish beef is grass fed.

St Patrick’s Potatoes

These are very rich so a little go a long way. And the trick to this dish is to cook them very slowly, so that the cream doesn’t curdle.
Serves 6-8
1kg medium-sized potatoes
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
100g well-flavoured Irish farmhouse cheese such as Gubbeen or Carrigaline*
300ml double cream
300ml milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 140C/Gas Mark 1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices. Overlap one-third of the slices over the base of a buttered 2.25 litre shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle with half the chopped garlic, one-third of the grated cheese and some salt and pepper. Repeat the layers once more, then finish with a final layer of neatly overlapped potatoes.

Warm the milk and cream together in a pan with a little more seasoning to taste. Pour over the potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for approximately 1 ½ hours until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Cover very loosely with a sheet of foil part-way through cooking after the top has become nicely golden.

Strawberry and Irish Cream Liqueur Fool

Serves 4-6

300g strawberries, plus 4 halved strawberries to decorate
50g icing sugar, plus 1 tsp
300ml double cream
6 tbsp Irish cream liqueur

For the topping:
25g plain chocolate
1 tsp clear Irish honey
2 tbsp Irish cream liqueur

Put 200g of the strawberries into a food processor with 50g of the icing sugar and blitz into a coarse puree using the pulse button. Quarter the remaining strawberries and mix with the remaining icing sugar.

Whip the cream and Irish cream liqueur together in a large mixing bowl until it form soft peaks. Gently fold in the strawberry puree. Layer the mixture in 4 stemmed dessert glasses with the quartered strawberries.

Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the honey and Irish cream liqueur. Decorate the top of each fool with the halved strawberries and drizzle the chocolate sauce over the top.

Share this: