St. Patricks Day is fast approaching and for those of you looking to entertain, now is the time to start planning the traditional St. Patrick’s Day food you’re going to serve. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of our favourite traditional Irish dishes below!
If you don’t have time to prepare them yourself, head down to your local pub to find some good-quality St-Patrick’s-Day-themed menus.
4 Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Foods You Need to Try.
1. Irish Stew
Although they are now considered the comfort food of a cool winter night, the famed Irish stew was once a necessity. First recognised in the 1800s, Irish stew began as a common food for less fortunate families across Ireland. The original recipe contained ingredients like the good ol’ Irish potato and other easily farmed vegetables, like carrot and onion.
Now the dish is more commonly made with lamb or beef, but originally Irish stew was made with mutton (older sheep). Cheaper cuts of meats such as this were ideal for the stew as they took longer to cook and often contained more flavour once stewed.
With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to make some of your own Irish stew. The best part is it’s easy to make using your slow cooker, meaning you can make the dish for a large group or freeze the leftovers to use at a later date.
Irish colcannon is a traditional side dish made from potatoes and cabbage or kale. This dish became a common meal in Ireland during the 16th century when potatoes, cabbage, kale and leeks became an affordable, easily grown staples for most families.
The dish got its name from the Gaaelic term ‘cal ceannann’, which literally means white-headed cabbage. Rather fitting really. Whilst this dish is traditionally enjoyed on Halloween, due to its perceived fortune telling powers, It is now a common symbol of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, both in Ireland and across the word.
The Food Network has put together a simple Colcannon recipe that is perfect for anyone looking to recreate this traditional Irish dish this St. Patrick’s Day.
3. Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread was first made in the 1830s and is arguably one of the most well-loved Irish dishes, apart from mashed potatoes. It’s a popular side dish often made in the weeks and days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day every year.
The recipe came about as more of a necessity, rather than a celebration, when it first became a common household side dish. The introduction of baking soda to the European market in the early 1830s coincided with Ireland’s limited access to ingredients, driving the nation’s need for simple and affordable basic recipes — a profile which soda bread fits well.
We’ve found a simple Irish soda bread recipe for you to make this St. Patrick’s Day.
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 & ½ teaspoons of salt
- ¼ cup softened butter
- 3 cups of wheat flour
- 1 & ⅔ cups of buttermilk (traditionally sour milk was used)
- Combine all purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
- Stir in wheat flour and add butter milk. Stir until combined.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, before shaping dough into a round loaf.
- Place onto a well greased tray and bake at 200°C for 40 minutes, or until golden.
Traditionally, this bread is marked with a cross on the top. It was a widely held belief in the 1800s this would help ward off evil spirits and protect the home.
4. Green Beer
Green beer, whilst not an Irish St. Patrick’s Day tradition, is widely enjoyed by many during celebrations. The idea of green beer was actually born in America in 1914 with the innovative celebratory drink most commonly credited to Professor Thomas H. Curtin. He made it for his New York club house.
In its beginnings, green beer actually often made people ill, and not from drinking too much of it. Back in 1914, it wasn’t as easy as running down to your local supermarket to grab some food dye to colour something green. Therefore the common laundry chemical ‘blue wash’ was used in tiny quantities to give the beer its colour, unsurprisingly this had the tendency to make people feel unwell.
Now, after years of adaption, this America-Irish drink is served worldwide on St. Paddy’s Day! Want to know the plus side? It’s super easy to whip up, making it the perfect drink to serve if you’re hosting a St. Patrick’s Day event!
To make your own green beer at home, simply add one drop of green food dye to your beer of choice. Warning: Over consumption may lead to green teeth!
Frequently Asked Questions About St. Patrick’s Day
1. What is St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patricks day is the annual celebration of all things Irish. It’s most widely symbolised by the wearing of green amongst most western countries. However, in Ireland it has a more significant meaning.
Known also as the Feast of St. Patrick, the holiday originally observed the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick is historically credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. In the fifth century, he escaped slavery and fled Ireland, only to return to and share Christianty with the Irish.
2. What are some St. Patricks’s Day traditions?
During this holiday, people around the world opt to eat Irish foods and wear green for the day. However, their traditions often differ from that of the Irish. The day often features an Irish feast. This feast is made up of traditional Irish recipes including roast potato, Irish stew, colcannon and soda bread.
Parades line the streets celebrating all things Irish, although it wasn’t until 1995 that this tradition was adopted in Dublin. The parade now goes for five days and includes street shows and music, amongst other things.
It is also extremely common for practising Christians in Ireland to attend mass to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Families will often dress up for the occasion, pinning shamrocks to their tops.
3. When is St. Patricks Day?
St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally celebrated on the 17th of March each year.