Traditional Irish and Irish-American Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

This St. Patrick's Day, continue a family tradition - or create a new one - with traditional Irish and Irish-American fare!

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Traditional St. Patrick’s Day recipes can mean many things, since what is considered “traditional” for the holiday in America is not the same as what is traditional fare in Ireland.  In America, corned beef and cabbage have become the staple dinner for St. Patrick's Day, but in Ireland, it is leg of lamb that takes the main stage at the dinner table, largely because lamb is abundant in spring, and thus is a sign of the warmer weather. The corned beef tradition actually began with Irish immigrants in New York City, and since lamb was harder to come by and the cost of Irish bacon was high, immigrants chose to buy corned beef instead.  This tradition has lasted over one hundred years, and thus the recipe has also been included here.  If you are looking for something Irish-American, or traditionally Irish to celebrate the holiday, check out these recipes! 

Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potatoes
The staple meal for Irish Americans – make sure you leave enough time for your corned beef to cook by starting it in the afternoon.  Be sure to pick up a loaf of rye bread for guests to make corned beef sandwiches, or for the next day’s leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds corned beef brisket (with spice packet)
  • 10 small red potatoes
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Directions:

  1. Place corned beef in large pot or crockpot and cover with water.
  2. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef.
  3. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You will have to simmer the meat for approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
  4. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid left in the crockpot or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain, and serve.
     

Roasted Leg of Lamb
In Ireland, leg of lamb is one of the most popular dishes for St. Patrick’s Day, as an abundance of lamb at the butcher’s is a sure sign of spring.

Ingredients:

  • 1 leg of lamb, bone-in
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, chives, and parsley)
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup red wine

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rub lemon juice all over the leg of lamb, then pat garlic and rosemary evenly across the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  3. Put the lamb in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for one more hour.
  5. Remove lamb from the pan and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Combine mixed herbs and onions in the pan with the drippings from the lamb.
  7. Add chicken stock and wine to deglaze the pan.
  8. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and reduce over high heat until it reaches a thicker consistency. Strain, then pour over the top of the lamb before serving.


Irish Soda Bread
Saint Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be Saint Patrick’s Day in America or Ireland without Irish soda bread.  Serve warm with butter or jam.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup currants or 1 cup raisins (or a combination of the two, if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and margarine.
  3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and an egg. Stir in currants and/or raisins.
  4. Put dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it a bit. Shape dough into a round mound and place on prepared baking sheet.
  5. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup buttermilk and ¼ cup melted butter. Brush the loaf with this mixture, and then use a sharp knife to cut an “X” in the top of the loaf.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Begin checking the loaf at 30 minutes, and brush occasionally with the buttermilk and butter mixture as it bakes.


Colcannon
This traditional Irish side is a cousin of our mashed potatoes, but with cabbage mixed in.

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 large potatoes
  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and put them in a pot, covering them with water to boil.
  2. While the potatoes cook, remove the center of the cabbage and slice the leaves thinly.  
  3. Put the leaves in a large saucepan and cover with boil water from a kettle, keeping it at a low boil until the leaves have wilted slightly, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Drain the cabbage and dry on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  5. Return the cabbage to the saucepan and add 1/3 of a stick of butter, then cover it and leave it on the stove, but not on an active burner.  
  6. When the potatoes are soft, drain the water and put the potatoes back in the pot, turning the heat to low.
  7. When the potatoes become dry, add milk, 1/3 of the stick of butter, and the chopped scallions. Let the milk get warm, but not boil.
  8. After the butter has fully melted, mash the potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher or a fork.
  9. Mix the cabbage in with the mashed potato.
  10. Season with salt, add fresh parsley, and serve warm.