Irish cuisine makes up for a wholesome meal, as it is a rich combo of stews, breads, drinks, and ales. In the present context, Irish food remains to be a gourmet’s subject of observation. If you are one such kind, find out more about this cuisine through this Tastessence post.
The 3-legged pot called cauldron had a great impact on Irish cooking, which resulted in multiple simmered stews, broths, and soups.
Ireland, an island country in the North Atlantic, has a rich cultural heritage that shows traces of Norway, Scotland, and Great Britain. Quite sadly, the country had to endure immensely the aftermath of famine and population explosion. The climate and soil in Ireland were conducive to producing potatoes. Thus, it dominated the food habit of the Irish to such an extent that it became the staple food of the people.
However, the famine in 1845 – 1849 changed the course of its history completely, and the land had to spend hundreds of years to revive from the damage. The toll it took on the Irish can be easily inferred from the diet these people had adopted. But now, with changing times, Irish cuisine seems to be on the front foot, and manages to have a lingering impression on people all over the world. We glance at some of the dishes that have found ample attention, as they depict the Irish culture in its truest sense!
The capital of Ireland shares its name with this delicacy of the land. History states that this dish was relished by the stalwarts of literature, Jonathan Swift and James Joyce.
It takes readily available ingredients, a good bottom pot, and a good amount of hunger to make this traditional meal. It doesn’t at all burn a hole in your pocket! The secret to make it with accuracy is to simmer it slowly. This recipe also has several versions to it, as it is a highly tried and experimented one. It is best enjoyed with brown bread. On the whole, it’s a stew that has bacon, sausage, potatoes, onions, and butter; herbs like thyme and parsley can enhance the taste. Pepper can be sprinkled over the top.
St. Patrick’s Day holds great importance amongst the Irish. So does some traditional Irish food. One such dish is the traditional Irish stew, which they love during the occasion. It is a comfort food that is preferred because of its taste, low cost, and of course, its nutritional richness, which is determined by what is used to make it.
A traditional Irish stew is a wholesome combination of meat, fresh veggies, and some herbs. Lamb is widely used to make the dish although many like mutton as well. The preparation process is very simple and quick, but the cooking time is pretty long, as the more you cook it, the tastier it is. All the ingredients, which include meat, potatoes, onions, and carrots, are taken in a big casserole, not to forget the stalk, and heated for over 2 hours. Some also bring in variations by adding mushrooms, barley, and some Guinness. It’s served with some sprinkles of thyme and parsley on top.
Simply put, Boxty is a cake made of potatoes. It used to be a staple food for the Irish peasants and farmers. You can pick any style to cook boxty, and have a mouth-watering experience with each of them. You can cook it in a skillet, boil it, or simply bake it in an oven.
Authentic boxties are a combination of cooked and raw potatoes, though many people have their own versions of this all-time favorite in the form of breads, pancakes, and dumplings. Potatoes are heated and cooked in boiling water, and then drained and mashed. To it, grated potato, buttermilk, flour, salt, and baking soda are added. It is then pan-fried in butter, and served hot with butter, sausage, bacon, or simply eaten without any addition.
This is yet another dish that occupies a special place on any Irish dining table. As a matter of fact, potato makes an inseparable part of the Irish cookery; hence, many or rather most of the dishes have potatoes as an ingredient. Colcannon is one such kind.
The potatoes are boiled with the skin on. Cabbage is cut into small pieces, discarding the outer leaves and the core. It is then cooked in boiling water with some salt. In another saucepan, a good amount of milk is heated with some scallions. When it boils, peeled and boiled potatoes are added to make a paste. When the paste becomes creamy after continuous stirring, the cooked cabbage and the seasoning of salt and pepper are added.
Just like the name, the dish is also a ‘champ’ (brúitín in Irish). It is a basic dish, where you can use potatoes, scallions, and milk to get a mouth-watering outcome.
Simply use mashed potatoes, like the one used in making colcannon. In a bowl, mix sliced scallions with milk and butter, heat it up, and set aside. Mix the mashed potatoes to it along with salt and pepper. While serving, you can also add some shredded cheese.
Lough Neagh Eels Dish
This is yet another delicacy that is relished during Halloween, and has its roots in Northern Ireland. The dish is named after the eels that are found specifically in the Lough Neagh lake, Northern Ireland. These eels have been termed ‘endangered’. The dish is served in chunks, and a good accompaniment with it is onion sauce.
Irish Shepherd’s Pie
Irish pie has come a long way from being a cause of delight for the poor, to being a part of the celebration on St. Patrick’s Day. During the old times, it used to be a good choice of food for the farmers, peasants, and the working class as a whole, the ingredients being potatoes and lamb. This explains from where the name has come into play.
However, beef is also taken as an option to make this delicious pie, then known as the cottage pie. To make this, you just need to make a smooth mixture of mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, and milk, and allow it to cool. Then head on to make the stew of lamb, and vegetables like carrots, celery, and peas. To do this, first brown the lamb pieces and remove from heat. Also add thyme and onions, frying it until the onions become transparent. Now you can add the lamb, flour, and the broth. Add some mustard sauce, salt, and pepper. Add mashed potatoes. Garnish with some cheese or butter, whichever suits your taste buds, and bake it for the next ten minutes before your pie is all set to be on the plate.
Cakes are a universal symbol of celebration all over the world. Any type of celebration, right from birthdays to weddings, is rendered incomplete without cakes. Perhaps, that’s the reason there are so many recipes on cakes across the world. Guinness cake is yet another Irish favorite.
To prepare this, one needs to have a 9-inch springform pan with a lining of parchment paper at the bottom. Now you can simply use your cake baking skills to whip and bake a Guinness cake. The only addition being the Guinness to the saucepan followed by the cake ingredients. Complete the process with an icing on the cake and gobble to your heart’s content.
With the onset of March, the Irish start preparing for the St. Paddy’s Day, and cheesecake automatically comes on the menu to make the celebration complete. The twist in this cake is the cheese that makes all the difference and those Irish whiskey pecans. Just make sure your cheese is the right kind, and the caramelized pecans are just perfect. This is the bare minimum you have to get right, apart from the correct whisking and baking techniques.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, goes the saying. And what if the apple is transformed into a yummy pie! We are sure, ‘an’ apple could easily be replaced with ‘multiple’. Now, let’s see what goes in to make an apple pie or an apple tart, as you would call it.
First, cut and soak the apples in water, so that they don’t brown. In a bowl, you can combine flour, dry spices like, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Add butter to it and mix. Then slowly, making a well into the mixture, break the eggs, and mix to make a dough. Make a roll. This will serve as the base of your pie. Now spread the apples uniformly on top. Bake it, and your apple pie is ready.
Scone is a variety of soda bread that is highly consumed by the Irish. The key features of this bread are that it is made from soda powder, which makes the bread fluffy. It is often seen that many confuse Irish scones with other types of breads, but in case of Irish scones, one must keep in mind that it is supposed to be very fluffy and soft, so that it melts in your mouth. If you are not experiencing this, know that you are not having the right one.
It doesn’t require the time and effort of kneading the dough for long, or to add yeast to it and wait till it is fermented. In earlier times, people made it even without baking it in an oven; rather they hung those over fire in a pot. It can be used quite regularly, as there isn’t any need to devote much time in preparations. Therefore, it is a good choice for snacks, lunch boxes, or other significant occasions like get-together parties. The ingredients are simple―the main ones are good-quality flour, some smooth butter, eggs, and of course, baking soda powder. Make the dough judiciously, cut into scones, brush a dash of butter, and bake them to have your favorite scones. Not to forget, some sugar, just to lend it some sweetness, and raisins if you like them too.
Irish Freckle Bread
This bread type is another extension of using the potatoes. It’s a combination of loads of raisins and mashed potatoes along with other standard ingredients of breads. Unlike the scones, this bread type requires yeast and good amount of kneading.
While making the dough, add raisins and other dry fruits like dates, which will make your cake look ‘freckled’, just as the name goes. Cranberries and currents are equally appropriate to get the desired texture. The rest of the methods are just the common baking tricks.
This is yet another variety of Irish soda bread, but its variation from others is worth mentioning. The cake is rich in tea and some whiskey, which are added while making it. Not just this, there is a ring that is slipped into the dough, and the one who gets the slice with the ring is a lucky chap! And marriage is on his/her cards. This ‘marry’ cake is most enjoyed during Halloween. It is laden with dry fruits and spices, which make it taste divine.
Irish Brown Bread
The Irish soda bread is something that, in the past, was consumed by everybody, perhaps because it didn’t cost too much to gather the ingredients that are required to bake it to perfection. Although now, people add raisins to it apart from the other ingredients. The flour used to make it is not at all refined. Whole-wheat flour is used, along with all-purpose flour.
DRINK IT, the Irish Way!
Potatoes, Guinness, and St. Patrick’s Day! Hold On! There is another defining factor that would complete the beautiful land of Ireland―the Irish coffee. It is a new entrant into the Irish cookery legacy, but the effect it had caused, and will cause, will be a trailing one. Who would have known that an act of comforting weary passengers with a little whiskey in the regular coffee can attain worldwide acclaim?
The addition of whipped cream to it was just ‘an icing on the cake’. So, the next time, just take some smoking hot coffee, and to it, add a shot of Irish whiskey, some sugar, and whipped cream; without stirring the final content, sip it. You have just tasted the most awesome Irish coffee. Enjoy the warmth of hot coffee, and the chill from the cream, simultaneously.
The above-mentioned dishes are some of the typical Irish food recipes that were present in the Irish history and tradition.