Corned beef and cabbage? No. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about what the folks in Ireland eat on St. Patrick’s Day, or any other day. They do have a dish – Bacon and Cabbage, but this is not a St. Patrick’s Day meal. If you’ve been to Ireland, and had Corned Beef and Cabbage, it’s because restaurants have learned to cater to what visitors ‘believe’ is traditional.
What do the Irish Eat on St. Patrick’s Day?
Breakfast begins with fresh eggs, sausage, bacon, grilled tomatoes, black and white pudding, mushrooms and Irish brown bread. Ireland’s bacon is meatier than here in the U.S., more like what we know as Canadian bacon. The puddings are purchased in sausage like packages, similar to salami. Irish brown bread is often made with oatmeal, and gets it unique taste from the finest milled wheat.
This hearty meal usually provides the needed energy to enjoy the day of parades, dancing and celebrating.
For dinner, expect a joint of lamb roasted in the oven with rosemary and garlic. (See recipe) This is served with caramelized lamb gravy, creamed potatoes, and roasted vegetables, including carrots and parsnips. Added to this are peas and broccoli.
Dessert might be apple tart served with custard and cream.
Main Dish Recipe:
Lamb trimmings and chopped bones from butcher
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 leg of lamb, bone in
6 garlic cloves, halved
1 bunch fresh rosemary
½ Cup softened butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Seasoned vegetables, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. In the bottom of a roasting tin scatter the chopped bones, trimmings and garlic head.
3. Make 1in deep incisions in the lamb, into each incision insert the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs.
4. Rub the butter over the lamb and place the leg on top of the bones, season and place in the oven for 1-½ hours (15 minutes per 1lb for rare and 20 minutes for medium) turning over half way through.
5. Remove the lamb from the oven, season again and transfer to a tray to rest.
6. To make the gravy: place the roasting pan over a moderate heat to caramelize the lamb juices, this will take 2-3 minutes. Strain off any excess fat. Pour in 12fl oz. cold water, reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve.
Serve with creamed potatoes, roasted vegetable (that includes potatoes, carrots and parsnips) with peas and broccoli. The dessert is normal hot apple tart served with custard and cream.
Ingredients for the apple compote:
3oz unsalted butter
1lb 5oz Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3oz powdered sugar
1 vanilla pod split lengthways, seeds scraped out
For the tart:
Flour, for dusting
9oz puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge if frozen
6 Cox apples, peeled and cored
Squeeze lemon juice
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Custard and whipped cream to serve
Later that evening, if you still have room, it will be Irish brown bread with cream cheese and Irish Smoked Salmon.
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.