If it is approaching St Patrick’s Day and you are living in the United States, then there is always going to be one big family in your neighborhood preparing for it in the most extravagant way possible.
Due to the problems that Ireland and the Irish people have been forced to suffer until the 1920s, a lot of culture has been lost to the people of the Emerald Isle.
However, one thing that has survived is the traditional food and the culinary joys it brings.
This may surprise a lot of people, but food has always been important in Irish culture, and comfort food is definitely the most common kind.
As such, we have created a list of the most traditional Irish recipes that will make your St Patrick’s Day extra special.
Admit it, we all love potatoes. They are great! And there is no better way to enjoy potatoes than in the humble colcannon.
Normally, it is creamy mashed potatoes with the inclusion of either kale or cabbage and a pat of butter melting on the top.
It forms the basis for standard mashed potatoes, but adding the extra bits – and maybe a bit of bacon as well – makes it all the better when you scoop it onto your plate.
2. Dublin Coddle
Coddle is all about using what’s left over in your fridge towards pay day or when you are struggling.
It can be easily, requires very little, and can feed you for days.
The usual ingredients in a Dublin coddle are potatoes, bacon, sausages, and onions with a splash of chicken stock and/or beer if you have it.
It is a rustic, simple dish, but incredibly comforting to eat at the same time.
3. Fish Chowder
Ireland is in fact an island on the edge of the Atlantic, which means that fish has made its way into the diet of the people.
Although, for most of its history, it has primarily been a cattle culture, fish has always played a part.
This is especially true in the more rugged north-west of the country, and fish chowder sums that up better than anything.
Creamy, rich, and absolutely worth eating.
4. Irish Stew
Everyone knows Irish stew, it is rich, it is delicious, and most of all, it is filling.
While the completely original recipe called for mutton, potatoes, and onions, many other ingredients have been added over the years.
Carrots, parsnips, and turnips have made their way into the mix as well (see also ‘25 Most Delicious Turnip Recipes You Need To Try‘).
Nowadays, people also tend to use lamb instead of mutton, but either way, you will end up with a marvelous stew that will feed a whole family heartily.
5. Soda Bread
If you are having stew for dinner, then you are going to need a bread that can easily mop up the leftovers.
Soda bread was created during the Great Famine in Ireland that lasted for seven years.
Those that could afford to make bread started using the much cheaper baking soda to do so, instead of yeast.
Although it came from a place of hardship, soda bread has become an icon of Irish culinary resilience.
6. Bacon And Cabbage
Bacon and cabbage is one of the simplest dishes you can get and is often associated with the traditional ‘meat and two veg’ that you get throughout Northern Europe.
It involved smoked or boiled, thick cut bacon, boiled cabbage, and potatoes.
Although there isn’t much to it, it is filling and incredibly hearty, perfect for a cold winter’s night at the end of a long, hard day.
Farls (or potato bread) are the Irish equivalent of latkes.
The dough is made from boiled potatoes, mashed with salt and butter, before being rolled out, and then lightly fried until they are crispy.
This creates a delightful pancake that has a crisp outside and soft inside.
They are most often eaten for breakfast, but can be enjoyed at any point during the day and are especially good as a midnight snack.
Scailtin has been around for almost 300 years at this point, and it is easy to see why.
It is essentially an Irish whiskey milk punch with some seasoning, and it is absolutely wonderful.
Think of it like a smokier, sweeter White Russian.
It is really simple to make and involves not much preparation, so it can be prepared for St Patrick’s Day in time or even just for an extra chilling night, for it will warm your bones in no time.
9. Dublin Lawyer
Not so traditional for many of the Irish populace, but as the Irish people have fallen back in love with seafood, they have been rediscovering food previously long-lost.
Dublin lawyer is a combination of new and old flavors, incorporating the traditional lobster, shrimp, cream, butter, mushrooms, and whiskey with the introduced flavors of rice, pepper, and paprika.
It is a truly Dublin dish, and we are here for it.
10. Cod Cakes
One fish that has been eaten in Ireland since people first set foot on the shores of Wicklow is cod.
It has always been caught easily and fresh around the shores of the island, and the most common way to eat it has been through cod cakes.
You mix cod meat with mashed potatoes and herbs, before molding them into patties and coating them in breadcrumbs.
You then either roast or fry them, before chowing down on a plateful.
11. Steak And Stout Pie
Pies and savory pastries and one of the signifiers you are in the North or West of Europe. In Ireland, the pie of choice is always Steak and Stout pie.
These two flavors combine in an amazing harmony, as both are incredibly rich and strong flavors that work together rather than overpowering each other.
12. Potato Candy
Yep, you read that correctly, potato candy is very much a thing though it is an Americanized version of Irish cuisine, though that is not very surprising for the US – thing of candied sweet potatoes or sweet potato pie.
It combines the flavors of the old world and the new world, with it being surprisingly nice in its own right.
13. Irish Coffee
Irish coffee is famous for two things: being very strong and being boozy.
It is the perfect type of coffee to have after a large meal or as a part of a boozy breakfast or brunch.
The most beloved mix is a strong coffee mixed with a sweet syrup or liqueur and a good whiskey.
If you feel the need for a pick me up on a night out, don’t go with a disgusting energy drink, get yourself some Irish coffee.
14. Corned Beef And Cabbage
Although not traditionally from the Emerald Isle, corned beef and cabbage is still traditional but towards the large community of Irish Americans living in the states.
They have taken the two sides of their culture and joined them together in harmony.
It still has the potato and cabbage element, but it takes the peppery corned beef to pack your plate full of immense flavors.
15. Potato And Leek Soup
Ireland is a windswept, beautiful, and fairly cold land. Therefore, having a hearty, delicious soup is always the way to go.
Potato and leek soup is a very delicious soup that can only be described as the perfect way to warm your body.
Been in the sea for hours and now have a chill? Have some potato and leek soup!
It is the dish that takes every Irish person from where they are now to their grandmother’s squat little cottage on the edge of Ireland’s rolling moors.
16. Bread Pudding
Ireland’s cuisine has always been about resilience and using what you have available.
This means that, while the cuisine is not necessarily decadent, the food is simple and good.
The same cannot be said for bread pudding. It is a wholly decadent dish created from simplicity.
The original stuff used bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and – if you were lucky – raisins, but in the modern day people add whiskey, caramel sauce, vanilla, and French toast to make the dish truly heavenly.
Hailing originally from the counties that form the old state of Ulster, boxty has become synonymous with an easy, lazy breakfast.
That isn’t to say it isn’t any good, quite the opposite, it is very delicious. It involves adding eggs, cream, flour, and butter to a mashed potato mix and fry it into a big potato pancake.
Quick, easy, cheap, and filling, nothing says lazy Sunday mornings like frying up boxty.
18. Full Irish Breakfast
You have probably heard of a Full English, but there also exists an Irish version – after all, the countries are their own closest neighbors.
It is a huge plate full of meats and fried vegetables.
Traditionally, it involves bacon, mushrooms, sausages, baked beans, fried tomatoes, fried eggs, and fried potatoes with either black or white pudding (depending on where you live in Ireland) with a cup of tea and rashers of toast on the side, but more recent versions also include hash browns.
If your plate is not completely full of food, then you are not doing it right.
19. Apple Cake
Every culture that has fruit growing in their country, has a dessert made from that particular fruit.
For Americans, it is the apple pie, and for Irish people, it is the humble apple cake. It is a light, airy cake that is really moist with apple slices throughout the middle of the cake.
This creates a delicious layer without the overuse of sugar, but for those that find it is not sweet enough, you can always dust the final product with a little bit of sugar on top.
20. Brown Bread
If there isn’t any soda bread on the table, then it is likely there is at least some brown bread around.
Traditionally, the bread is made with stone ground flour, which gives it a different, nuttier flavor, but this can be quite hard to procure in other countries.
Normally, it is replaced with whole wheat flour with rolled oats.
While being quite a hefty bread, it is actually delicious and beloved by all, with even a cross traditionally placed in the middle to ward off evil.
Every single region of the British Isles has some kind of pasty, with the Cornish one being the most famous.
Ireland is no different, and Irish pasties incorporate two great loves of Irish cuisine very well: potatoes and beef.
The flaky, crispy shell of pastry contains the beef and potatoes to create a wonderful sauce that oozes delectably amongst the ingredients.
They are food for on the go or at home, anywhere you are feeling hungry.
Shortbread was traditionally a Scottish biscuit that was brought over to Ireland between the 1400s and 1500s by Scottish mercenaries.
Since then, it has boomed in popularity and become its own feature in Irish cooking.
Butter, sugar, and flour are all you need to create this crisp and irresistible kind of biscuit that can be put out for company at any time of day.
23. Porter Cake
Porter cake is the Irish answer to the Christmas pudding or the fruitcake.
A dough is made with dried fruits, sweet spices, fresh citrus zest, and a bottle of Irish porter added to it.
It is sweet, delicious, and thanks to the addition of the porter, it is incredibly moist.
As such, it doesn’t suffer from the same drying that other fruitcakes have. While it is traditionally served around the holidays, it can be a sweet treat for any day of the week.
Champ, like Colcannon, is a cheap, simple mashed potato dish to make on the go, while being filling at the same time.
It combines mashed potatoes with scallions, cheese, milk, and a ton of melted butter on the top. Its popularity speaks for itself.
Is it a cake? Or is it sweet bread? Very few know and very few care, because barmbrack is delicious.
A traditional dessert loaf with tons of fruit and spices inside is served on holidays, if you put it in front of anyone with jam and butter, you will hear no complaints.
If you have ever had breakfast round an Irish grandmother’s house before, you have seen the pot placed in the middle of the table filled with a vast amount of thick oatmeal (for more traditional Irish Breakfasts, read here).
It doesn’t look the most appetizing, but it can be incredibly delicious, especially with honey, and will set you up right for the rest of your long day ahead.
27. Shepherd’s Pie
This dish is possibly the most popular Irish dish for any Irish expat thinking of home.
While the concept of minced meat and mashed potato pie is pretty broad to Western Europe, the Shepherd pie is definitely favored in Ireland over the others (for some superb side dishes for Sherpherd’s Pie, read here).
It is seasoned minced meat with onions, peas, and carrots, topped with creamy mash and roasted in an oven. Absolutely delicious.
Scones are another food pretty universal to all the nations in the British Isles, but Irish scones are a little lighter and sweeter than their cousins.
While this also makes them slightly crumblier, it also makes them moister and when clotted cream and jam are added to the top of them, it makes them sinfully delicious.
You will find yourself eating all of them before you can stop.
29. Bacon-Wrapped Trout
Fresh fish has always been readily available in Ireland, but it is only recently that the various recipes using this fish have become more popular.
A classic example is bacon wrapped trout, which takes the light flavor of the trout and adds the salty, fatty flavor of the bacon.
These two enhance each other and make an incredible dish that hits all the spots.
30. Guinness Rarebit
Rarebit was originally a Welsh dish that used bread, stout, and cheese, but since the 1700s has traveled the length and breadth of the British Isles and even over to Ireland, where the Irish put their own spin on it.
The stouts of Ireland are heavier and richer than most stouts, which works very well with the strong flavors in this dish.
31. Split Pea Soup
Ham and pea soup is a very traditional dish that has incorporated many ingredients over time.
Though a lot of ingredients have been added, there is always a consensus about the three core ones: ham, peas, and chicken stock.
If you fancy trying to make an easy soup, you couldn’t have picked a better one.
32. Bangers And Mash
The easier cousin of Dublin Coddle – and that’s saying something considering how easy it is to make coddle.
Bangers and mash is literally sausages, mashed potato, and gravy on top. That’s it.
Some people like to spice up the mash by making it Champ or Colcannon, but as long as it has those three ingredients, then you have yourself a meal.
33. Colcannon Soup
Colcannon soup is a mix between potato and leek soup and Colcannon. It is a way to make both ingredients go further while making a delicious recipe out of both.
The combination of potato, leek, bacon, cabbage, onion, broth, and cream goes very well together and can be a centerpiece of your dinner if you want it to be.
Irish recipes are only really sought after by us in the states around St Patrick’s Day, but honestly these humble foods should be an everyday thing.
They all use cheap ingredients to their full potential and can make even the most hungry and unsatisfied person feel content, full, and in love with the delicious food.
Why Are There No Spices In Irish Cooking?
There were not really any spices available in Ireland until the last 50 years, with the only things to season food being herbs and salt.
As such, Irish cooking utilizes the flavors of their own food a lot and tries to encourage the ingredients to speak for themselves.
If you do it right, it can be utterly delicious.
What Is The Traditional Food Of Ireland?
Generally, any food people could get their hands on. Irish people have always had to be resilient, as the country is fairly cold and was prone to invasion, as such any food available was cooked up.
For example, nettles used to be an extremely popular food and seaweed continues to be popular in the north-west of the country.
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