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Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Dishes

Whether you’re Irish or not, chances are you’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at some point in your life. People of all backgrounds love to go to St. Patrick’s Day parades. Everywhere you go people wear green clothing, and decorate with shamrocks.

Though the day has morphed over the years into more of a secular celebration, St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious holiday intended to commemorate the life of St. Patrick, the man credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Born in Britain, St. Patrick was captured by slave traders when he was 16 and brought to Ireland to be a shepherd. After six years of imprisonment, he escaped back to Britain. While imprisoned, though, he had become a devout Christian. He is said to have had visions from God, telling him to go back to Ireland and spread the gospel. He spent the next twenty years preaching and teaching in Ireland, and creating churches and monasteries throughout the country.

There are a number of ways to celebrate the “Wearing of the Green.” You could drink a green beer or an Irish stout, sing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling or Danny Boy with friends, or just sit around your television watching old Bing Crosby and John Wayne movies. While all of these activities are fun, and traditional, one of the best ways to celebrate is to sit down to a wholesome Irish meal with family and friends.

I hope the following Irish recipes will inspire you to gather your loved ones around the table this St. Patrick’s Day:

Corned Beef and Cabbage
4 lb. corned beef
1 med cabbage, cut into wedges
4 medium carrots, cut in large pieces
3 medium onions, quartered
3 stalks celery, thickly sliced
1 1/2 cups white wine
3 medium Potatoes, cubed
5 cloves
1 bay leaf

Rinse the meat thoroughly under cold running water. Place in a crock-pot. Sprinkle with spice packet. Put the vegetables in the crock-pot with the wine, bay leaf, and cloves. Cover and cook on the low setting for eight hours. Serves 10

Irish Soda Bread
3 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dried fruit bits
1 Tbs. caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325° F. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, caraway seeds, soda, and salt; add fruit bits. Stir in buttermilk and 1 egg until dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, about two minutes. Shape into round loaf. Place on an un-greased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut a 1/2” deep X into top. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush over the dough. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer from pan to rack and let cool. Serves 12

Irish Ginger Snaps
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup shortening
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream sugar, egg, salt, and shortening together. Add flour, baking soda, and spices. Mix well. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll the balls in sugar. Bake at 350° F for 5 to 6 minutes.


1 robert anderson { 04.09.13 at 8:52 am }

irish born &bred just clicked on this page out of curiousity. collar of bacon /cabbage /spuds/white sauce english mustard the only way to accompany pint of guinness/jameson whiskey chaser enjoy

2 Stefanie { 03.17.12 at 2:08 pm }

I prefer adding the cabbage carrots and potatoes the last 30 minutes of cooking. They are perfectly cooked without being mushy. Isle of Mann

3 Jaime McLeod { 04.08.11 at 5:43 am }

Hi Mary Lou,
Usually, when you buy corned beef from a butcher or grocery store, it comes with a spice packet wrapped into the package. You’re supposed to add it to the meat for that distinctive corned beef flavor. Occasionally, someone may forget to add the spice packet, or perhaps you get your meat direct from the farmer. In that case, you can just add a few teaspoons of pickling spice, to taste. Pickling spice is a spice mixture commonly available in any grocery store. Hope that helps!

4 Mary Lou Beachy { 04.07.11 at 12:02 pm }

On your Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe -what spice packet are your referring to?

5 Outdoorsman { 03.17.11 at 11:04 am }

I started to prepare our Irish feast at 7am this morning, with the recipes from my article above. I might not be from Ireland, but I’m definately Irish American today! Have a great day!

6 Outdoorsman { 03.17.11 at 11:01 am }

That’s funny. Saint Patrick’s Day is today, on a Thursday. That’s usually the night we do Chinese take out!!!

7 Sandi Duncan { 03.16.11 at 2:57 pm }

I have heard the same about corned beef… maybe we should have listed these as “Traditional American St.Patrick’s Day Dishes!” Thanks for commenting

8 Fred Schmidt { 03.16.11 at 1:14 pm }

My wifes cousin is married to a gentleman from Ireland. I asked him once about having corned beef for ST Paddy’s day and he said it was an American thing, they were just as likely to go out for Chinese food, as to find corned beef.

9 Kathy { 03.14.11 at 5:36 pm }

I read that corned beef is actually a Jewish dish picked up in America by the Irish who emigrated here. They ate bacon with their cabbage and potatoes. Did you watch Bobby Flay in Ireland on the Food Network TV? It showed some specialty foods that were sounding pretty wonderful.

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