Go Irish! Easy Recipes for Making Scrumptious Irish Appetizers

From onion rings to chips n' dip, appetizers are meant to stimulate the appetite for more food, not quench hunger pangs! So the food should be light and easy to eat and with respect to the chef, be easy to make too! For a twist on your normal appetizer items, why not go Irish? Below are some scrumptious Irish appetizer recipes.
D'anam chun De! but there it is
The dawn on the hills of Ireland !
God's angels lifting the night's black veil
From the fair, sweet face of my sireland !
O, Ireland! isn't grand you look
Like a bride in her rich adornin !
With all the pent-up love of my heart
I bid you the top of the morning !

John Locke, The Exiles Return

The Emerald Isle, the land of green hills and cliffs, the birth-place of romantic poets and soulful writers, the hometown of Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Pierce Brosnan.. one visit to Ireland and you are hooked for life! The Irish are warm and friendly, their homes and hearts open to all. Unfortunately, all we seem to remember of Ireland is St Patrick's Day and the Irish recipes and drinks that go with that occasion. So are you searching for some Irish appetizers, that are not green or alcohol based but can be served at a party or for a gathering dinner? Without further ado, here are some traditional appetizers from the Emerald Isle, to grace your dining table.

Irish Appetizer Recipes

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients
  • 4 - 4½ cups flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Method
  1. Preheat a traditional oven to 425° F. Beat together sugar, salt, baking soda and 4 cups of flour in a large bowl.
  2. Mix butter into the flour, with fingers, till it is coarse to touch and then mix in the raisins. Form a well in the center of the dough and add egg and buttermilk.
  3. Mix well with a spoon until dough turns stiff. Apply a little flour to your palms and knead dough gently and form a ball.
  4. Dust a little flour on a flat surface and on it, make the ball a round loaf. Do not over-knead, as the dough will turn stiff. On a baking sheet or tray, using a knife, make an "X" shape into the top of the dough, not very deep, just 1-1½ inches.
  5. Bake the dough for 35-45 minutes. The bread will turn golden brown and you can insert a fork in the center to check if it's done. The fork should come out crumble or dough less. Leave the bread to cool for 5-10 minutes on the sheet itself, before serving.
Guinness Battered Onion Rings

Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut to form ½ inch thick rings
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of Guinness
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper, finely ground
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
Method
  1. Mix the cayenne pepper and ½ cup of flour in a small, resealable plastic bag and keep aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine baking powder, cornstarch, white pepper, salt and remaining flour. Then add the Guinness to the mixture, mix well, such that a paste is formed.
  3. Preheat a deep-fryer to 360° F. Any deep frying vessel can be used but the oil should be hot for the rings to fry well. The next step involves making the rings, so work in small batches of 4-5 rings at a time.
  4. In the plastic bag with flour and pepper, place the onion rings and toss or shake the bag, such that each ring is coated. Then coat the rings in the beer batter. Ensure that the ring is well coated with batter, do not leave any blank spots. Drip the battered rings over tissue, to catch any excess coating and fry them.
  5. The rings will turn golden brown as they fry. Turn them over from time to time, so they are fried on all sides. Fry each batch of onion rings for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Place the fried rings on tissue paper to drain off the oil and sprinkle a little salt to season. Serve them hot.
Irish Bangers in a Blanket

Ingredients
  • 4 Irish sausages, precooked
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 2 ounces mashed potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Method
  1. Defrost the puff pastry. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 4 pieces. Make sure the length of the sausages and the cut pieces are the same, so that one pastry piece will cover the sausage.
  3. On each puff pastry square, spoon some mashed potato. Divide the potato amongst the pastry squares.
  4. Place a sausage on a pastry square and then roll the pastry over the sausage, so that the sausage is enveloped by the pastry.
  5. Brush the joint pastry edges with a little portion of the egg mixture. Pinch the joint edges together to seal the "blanket". Repeat procedure for other 3 sausages.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange pastries. Brush each pastry lightly with egg mixture. Bake until pastries turn golden.
  7. Remove pastries from oven, slice them diagonally into 4 pieces and serve warm with mustard.
Irish Rarebit

Ingredients
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup Guinness or Irish stout (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method
  1. In a pan, over low heat, melt butter and add the flour. Stir well to make a thick paste (roux). Cook sauce for 1 minute at low heat, do not allow sauce to turn brown.
  2. Remove sauce from heat and add milk, mixing well. Heat the pan again and stir such that the sauce thickens. Add mustard and honey, stirring well. Mix in the chopped scallions and add Guinness if desired.
  3. Stir well and cook this sauce for 2-3 minutes, then add the cheese.
  4. At low heat, stir the mixture, such that the cheese melts. Remove from heat and apply sauce to lightly toasted or grilled bread.
So for a family get-together, meeting up with friends or a formal occasion, any of the above Irish appetizers is sure to suit and satisfy. In conclusion, when it comes to food and people, keep the following Irish proverb in mind - A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle!
Traditional pub lunch - bangers with mash???