We all know that some St. Patrick's Day celebrations can get a bit rowdy. But the holiday actually has a rich history in Ireland and there are a number of traditions that go along with celebrating the day.
If you're looking for an alternative to the mayhem this year, consider whipping up one of these St. Patrick's Day recipes and staying in! You can even host a dinner party for a few of your closest friends or family members.
1. Corned beef and cabbage
If you know any Irish dishes at all, the first one that probably comes to mind is corned beef and cabbage. This iconic dish is hearty, warming and super simple to make. Plus, all of the ingredients are very affordable, so you can make the dish for a big crowd if you choose to entertain.
Corned beef and cabbage is also traditionally coupled with potatoes, carrots and onions. According to most recipes, this is really a one-pot kind of dinner, making cleanup a breeze!
Place 2 celery stalks (cut into 3-inch pieces), 3 carrots (cut into 3-inch pieces), 1 yellow onion (cut into 1-inch wedges), 1/2 pound of small potato halves and 6 thyme sprigs into a slow cooker.
Put a 3-pound corned beef brisket, fat side up, on top of vegetables and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp pickling spice.
Add 4 to 6 cups of water, enough to almost cover meat.
Cover and cook for 8.5 hours on low or until beef is tender.
Add 1/2 head of Savoy cabbage (cut into 1.5-inch wedges) over beef and continue cooking for another 1.5 hours on low.
Thinly slice and serve with vegetables, cooking liquid and mustard.
2. Soda bread
Impress your guests by making this incredibly-easy, traditional Irish bread. If you haven't heard of soda bread, its bread made with baking soda instead of traditional yeast. That means, the hardest step in bread making is eliminated, resulting in a perfect loaf almost every time.
This bread makes a perfect accompaniment to soups, stews and of course, corned beef and cabbage.
Peel 4.5 pounds of potatoes and cut each one into 3 or 4 cubes. Dissolve a cube of chicken stock in 2 cups of boiling water.
Grill 1 pound of sausage and bacon each until the meat starts to color. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Layer 2 large onions (sliced), bacon, sausage and potatoes in a large casserole dish. Season each layer with ground pepper and fresh parsley to taste. Pour hot water with dissolved stock cube over the layers.
Cover casserole dish and bake for at least 3 hours, making sure there is at least an inch of liquid at the bottom of the dish at all times.
At first glance, Irish colcannon might look like standard mashed potatoes. But, this dish is so much more than that.
Colcannon does indeed include freshly-mashed potatoes but also includes fresh kale and sautéed onions.
Whip up a delicious Colcannon with this recipe from the Food Network:
Steam 3 pounds of potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes.
Peel potatoes and chop with a knife. Mash.
Slowly add 1.25 cups of hot milk and 1 stick of butter (chopped) while stirring.
While potatoes cook, put 1 pound of precooked ham or bacon in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Drain water and chop ham or bacon into small pieces.
Boil 1 head of cabbage (shredded) until it turns a darker color. Add 2 Tbsp butter and cover for 2 minutes. Drain and chop into small pieces.
Add cabbage, ham and 4 finely-chopped scallions to mashed potatoes. Stir and serve.
6. Bread and butter pudding
With a name like "bread and butter pudding," how could this dessert disappoint?
This traditional Irish dessert is nearly identical to the U.S. version of bread pudding. However, the Irish typically include dried fruits in this dish. For an extra boost of flavor, the dried fruits can be soaked in whiskey overnight the night before baking.
Myrecipes has a delicious rendition on its website:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 1/4 cup of butter and brush on one side of 10 French bread slices. Bake bread, buttered side up, for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
While bread is baking, combine 1/2 cup raisins and 1/4 cup Irish whiskey and let sit for 10 minutes.
Combine and mix 1.75 cups of milk (1% works best), 1 cup of sugar, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 1 can (12 oz) of evaporated skim milk.
Add bread crumbs and raisin mixture and let sit for 15 minutes.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon over the pudding.
Bake for 35 minutes and serve.
And to wash it all down
Don't forget the Guinness!
Any Irish dinner is not quite complete without a classic dark beer. Guinness is the national drink of Ireland, but if you need something a bit sweeter, Mead is honey wine that's traditionally drank in Ireland, as well.
Timothy Harris is a freelance writer based in Albuquerque. He brings a professional background in event marketing, residential real estate and journalism to the table to provide useful and relevant content for the modern renter. Timothy has previously written content for Karsten & Associates in New Mexico and Up 'til Dawn, a philanthropic fundraiser that benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.