Most folks pretty much know what today is (a neighborhood pub here has been counting the days down since … November last year, I think). But as I started putting this post together, I realized that there must be more to discover about Irish cuisine and culinary history than the ubiquitous corned beef and cabbage sales going on. So I thought I’d do some meaningful research and report my findings back to you.
And if I had to sample some authentic Irish whiskey while doing so, just to create the right kind of Irish atmosphere, then so be it. It’s for the good of our beloved Tasty Kitchen community, and I’m willing to suffer through it just for you.
I may have suffered twice. Or thrice.
But I have lots of information to share! For one, I found out that corned beef was originally not part of traditional Irish cuisine. Instead, it was introduced to the Irish immigrants in the United States by their European neighbors, and they quickly took to the hearty and budget-friendly fare.
As for Irish soda bread, like the Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds and Golden Raisins from ABusyNest and Irish Soda Bread from thestained apron that you see above, that was traditionally very basic, with only flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. The raisins were for reserved for special occasions, and the original version did not contain any butter. (I don’t think the butter hurts, though. But that’s just me. Then again, what do I know, I’ve been drinking whiskey here.)
In the main course department, there are certain dishes we easily associate with Irish cuisine. There’s shepherd’s pie (like the jazzed up, not-so-traditional but oh-so-yummy My Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie from storyofbing), Lamb Stout Stew like the one from julo seen below, or the dramatic Gaelic Steak Flambe from bunkycooks, with flames courtesy of some good old Irish whiskey.
Another thing that the Irish are known for are their grains. Ireland has just the right climate and humidity to produce some of the best milling oats in the world, and it’s no wonder that Irish steel cut oats are known for their wonderful flavor. But our members sure know how to take great flavor and run with it. Take, for example, twopeasandtheirpod’s Bruleed Steel Cut Oats or goodlifeeats’ Cherry and Tangerine Steel Cut Oats seen below.
Ireland is also known for its verdant, lush green landscape, and the abundance of vegetables available there. In fact, even today, it’s not uncommon to find them growing in the wild. Some of the vegetables widely used in Irish cuisine include kale, and we’ve got many different dishes that feature this wonderful and healthy green.
Clockwise from top left: Perfect Poached Eggs and Sauteed Kale On Toast from foodwoolf, Irish Colcannon with Kale from daxphillips, Hearty Sausage, Kale and Pepper Quiche from acher, and Kale and Gorgonzola Swirls from rainydaygal.
Another Irish favorite is leeks, and we have a delicious Potato Leek Soup for Surviving Winter from Food for My Family, as well as some lovely Creamed Leeks from ThirftyMammy that she cleverly plates below with home-cured bacon and a poached egg. Or you can try elanaspantry’s Green Soup with Ginger, which not only has leeks but also has the bonus of being, well, green.
And although folks commonly think of hearty meat dishes when they think of Irish entrees, the truth is, seafood plays a prominent role in their diet, thanks to their shoreline that provides them with a steady supply of oysters, mussels, and fish.
And that’s our theme for today! We hope you enjoyed it, and … what’s that? You’re wondering why we didn’t mention beer? My bad. Allow me to rectify that immediately.
Of course, in true Tasty Kitchen fashion, I’ll be delivering that wrapped in chocolate.
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bittersweet Ganache from rainydaygal.
That’s because we love you so much.
I chose the recipes above to highlight the rich variety of ingredients found in Irish cooking. (Keep in mind that I’m no expert. After all, I had to do research on this. And the whiskey was absolutely no help with that. So feel free to set me straight or share more interesting facts about this wonderful cuisine!) We’ve also got the more popular Bangers and Mash (from Siggy Spice), Reuben Panini (from bringingupboys), some cute Lucky Four Leaf Clover Rolls (from angpritch), and an awesome Irish Carrot Soup (from Amanda) if those are more up your alley.
Now is when I turn it over to you and ask you if you have any special plans for today. (We had our corned beef and cabbage yesterday. Traditional or not, I love a good corned beef sandwich with homemade bread, horseradish cream, red onions, thin slices of tomatoes, and some slaw.) How about you? Are you cooking up a storm, hosting people at home? Will you be out with friends? Do you have a special tradition that you always do on this day? And, because the pubs are typically busy around this time, do you have any funny stories you’re dying to share? (You can withhold names to protect the innocent if you want. Or if you just can’t remember them in the first place.)