5 Traditional Irish Recipes That Will Bring Out the Leprechaun in You
By Amelia Woolard
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Between the lively music and dancing, traditional storytelling, and green everything, it’s easy to see why St. Patrick’s Day is counted among our favorite holidays. Oh yeah, and the food is pretty great, too! If you’re anything like the folks at uCribs, you look forward to this yearly celebration, if for no other reason than as an excuse to chow down on traditional Irish fare.
With more stews, soups, and meats than you can count on one hand, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a food coma when you’re living it up in honor of Saint Patrick, but it’s even easier to miss these delicacies the other 364 days of the year. Fortunately, uCribs has rounded up 5 easy, delicious, and fun-to-make recipes to make your St. Patrick’s Day one to remember. Hey, with these tried-and-true recipes at your disposal, you can also keep the party going long after the leprechauns return to guard their pots of gold.
Quick Corned Beef Sandwich
Nothing says St. Patrick’s Day like a corned beef sandwich. But, what college student has the time—or budget, for that matter— to brine and boil a huge slab of beef brisket? That’s what we thought. So, enjoy the next best thing with some high-quality, shredded deli corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese on rye bread. It’s the perfect lunch to carry with you to your local St. Patrick’s Day parade or to impress your friends with the same small budgets and big appetites. In fact, we’d venture to say that you may start finding reasons to make this quick and satisfying dish more than once a year!
- 1 ounce shredded deli corned beef
- 2 tablespoons canned sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
- ½ teaspoon chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 slice Swiss cheese
- 2 slices rye bread
- ½ tablespoon butter, softened
- Thousand Island dressing, to taste (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine the chili sauce and mayonnaise. Stir well.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the corned beef and sauerkraut. Pour the mayo mixture over the beef and sauerkraut.
- Place the sandwich mixture between two slices of rye bread.
- Butter the outside of each slice. This will prepare the sandwich for toasting.
- Toast the sandwich on a griddle or in a pan over medium-high heat. Toast each side for approximately 4-5 minutes, or until the sandwich reaches your preferred level of crispiness.
- Remove from heat. Serve with Thousand Island dressing, if you’d like.
Irish “Boxty” Potato Cakes
If you’re a fan of hash browns, you’d do well to try this traditional version of an Irish potato cake, better known as “boxty.” A throwback to the typical Irishman’s diet in the 1700s, boxty was – and still is – one of Ireland’s most favored dishes, thanks to the availability of cost-efficient potatoes. These days, you can find boxty in just about any Irish establishment, prepared in a variety of ways. But, this more traditional recipe mixes the carb-heavy vegetable with flour, milk, and a bit of cheese to create a dense, cheesy cake that can be eaten by itself or as a side to your Corned Beef Sandwich. Heck, you can even eat them with homemade scrambled eggs and replace your go-to McDonald’s breakfast with hash browns.
- 1 ½ cups grated raw potatoes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Mix the grated potatoes and flour in a large bowl.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese and mashed potatoes. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, combine the egg, ranch dressing, and milk. Whisk well before adding the mixture into the potatoes, stirring to combine everything together.
- Add the vegetable oil into a large skillet. Heat over medium temperature until the oil gets hot.
- Place tablespoon-sized scoops of the potato mixture into the hot oil. You should have approximately six scoops for six potato cakes.
- Pan-fry the potato mixture until each cake is golden brown, or about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Easy Colcannon (Irish Potato Salad)
Here’s another easy and amazingly delicious potato recipe: colcannon! You might be surprised to learn that this potato salad staple is often associated with traditional Irish All Hallow’s Eve celebrations, where families would use the dish to facilitate relationships between unmarried men and women. Despite colcannon being the rough equivalent of mistletoe at Christmastime, the warm, buttery dish is perfect year-round, especially if you’re responsible for an addition to your BFF’s St. Paddy’s Day spread. While colcannon is arguably the king of Irish side dishes, this particular recipe is so hearty that it goes down like a full meal, so that you can spend less time refueling and more time partying – err, paying your respects to Ireland’s patron saint.
- 2 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 slices bacon
- ½ small head of cabbage, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ½ cup milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- Place potatoes in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until tender when touched with a fork.
- Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium high heat until crispy. Drain the fat – but keep the drippings for later! – and crumble the bacon into course bacon bits. Set bacon bits aside.
- In the reserved bacon drippings, sauté the cabbage and onion over the stove top until soft and translucent. If you find that the vegetables are taking a while to cook through, add a lid to the pan.
- Drain the boiled potatoes, add the milk to the pan, and mash the potatoes until they resemble a chunky, yet creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fold the bacon, cabbage, and onions into the mashed potatoes. Transfer the entire mixture to a large bowl. Top with the melted butter and enjoy.
Irish Soda Bread
We’ll admit it: the idea of making your own bread can be pretty intimidating. But fear not, because this recipe for Irish soda bread – though a bit lengthy – is just about fool-proof. The absence of overly complicated kneading techniques and a modest cooking time make this bread one you’ll find yourself making for every occasion, including St. Patrick’s Day, of course. Another thing we love about this recipe is that it can be gussied up to fit your taste. This recipe features raisins for an extra kick, but you can easily substitute other dried fruits and nuts depending on what you’re in the mood for. No matter how you choose to make it, this soda bread is sure to make your St. Paddy’s Day pals “green” with envy over your culinary skills!
- 4 cups flour, plus a little more for kneading
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup raisins, currants, or another dried fruit
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl until it is well-blended.
- Using your fingers, add the butter to the dry mixture. Break the butter apart in your hands until you’re left with something that resembles a course meal. Once the butter is distributed, add the raisins or other dried fruit.
- Shape a small hole in the center of your mixture. Fill the “well” with the beaten egg and buttermilk. Mix the egg and buttermilk with the rest of the mixture until the dough is too stiff to stir easily.
- Now, you’re ready to knead – but don’t worry, it’s easy! Take a bit of extra flour and cover your hands with it. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your skin. Then, knead the dough while it’s still in the bowl, until it forms a large, rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to hold a shape, add a bit more flour. Be careful not to add too much flour or over-knead, however!
- After the rough ball is formed, transfer the dough to a clean, flat surface that has been lightly floured. Continue to work the dough, so the flour is just moistened. Shape the dough into something that resembles a loaf of bread.
- Transfer the dough again – this time, to a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Score the bread using a serrated knife. Cut the dough into an X shape, only cutting into the flour mixture about an inch and a half deep. (This process helps the bread cook more evenly.)
- Once the oven is preheated, transfer the prepared baking dish to the oven and bake until the bread is golden brown, or about 35-45 minutes.
- Serve bread warm, topped with butter or jam.
White Chocolate Lucky Charms Crispy Treats
What’s a holiday without a fun dessert to celebrate it with? Get in the St. Paddy’s spirit with a sweet treat that will take you back to your childhood: White Chocolate Lucky Charms Crispy Treats. This spin on the classic Rice Krispie Treat makes use of Lucky Charms instead of rice cereal and incorporates a partial layer of melted white chocolate for a next-level dessert experience that’s sure to make Lucky the Leprechaun beam with pride. With their crunchy, gooey, and super-sweet flavors, it’ll be hard to have just one, so be sure to spread the luck to friends before you dig in yourself!
- 6 cups Lucky Charms cereal
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 ounce bag of marshmallows (plus 1 cup for extra gooey goodness)
- 16 ounces melting white chocolate (can substitute almond bark or candy melts)
- Prepare a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once fully melted, add the marshmallows until they are almost fully melted into the butter. A few chunks of marshmallows may remain.
- Add in the Lucky Charms cereal and stir until the cereal is fully coated in the marshmallow mix.
- Pour the marshmallow-coated cereal into the prepared baking pan. Spread the mix evenly using a spatula coated in non-stick cooking spray. (This prevents the marshmallows from sticking to the utensil.)
- Allow the marshmallow mix (the beginnings of your crispy treats) to sit for 2 hours at room temperature before cutting into squares.
- To dip the treats in white chocolate, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Melt the white chocolate according to package instructions. Once melted, hold each individual treat in your fingers and gently dip the bottom into the chocolate. Be sure to give each treat a nice, thick coating!
- Place the treats on the baking sheet— chocolate side up— and allow to set at room temperature for 10 minutes. Once the chocolate has dried, transfer the treats to an air-tight container and enjoy at your leisure.
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