The 17th March is St Patrick’s Day or ‘the day of the festival of Patrick’ on the anniversary of his death. It is a cultural and religious holiday in Ireland and they recognise the patron saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Much more than any other Saint, the celebrations seem to go on, not just in Ireland, but around the world, especially America. The day involves attending church services, wearing green, public parades and processions and lifting restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol which are held during Lent. What better reason than to look at food that is typically Irish and would be expected to be eaten on St Patrick’s Day? I had to include a Classic Irish Stew which is a bit involved, but worth the effort. Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes are always on the table in some form or other and what Irish meal would be complete without Soda Bread? Just to give the Soda Bread a modern twist I have used a biscuit recipe which is very easy to make.

Buen Apetito

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

  • Medium onion, quartered 
  • 3 stalks celery, quartered 
  • 3 medium carrots, quartered 
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter 
  • Heaped ¼ tsp ground allspice 
  • 1 lb plum tomatoes, halved 
  • 3 cups beef stock 
  • 4 cups chopped green cabbage 
  • ½ lb potatoes, chopped 
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking barley 
  • ¼ lb corned beef, cut into thin strips
  • Salt and pepper

Pulse the onion, celery and carrots in a food processor until they are pea-sized pieces. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrots and allspice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, (about 5 mins). Pulse tomatoes until finely chopped. Transfer the tomatoes to the pot and add the beef stock, cabbage, potatoes, barley and 4 cups water; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes and barley are tender, (about 20 mins). Stir in the corned beef and season with salt and pepper. 

Classic Irish Stew

  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped 
  • Oil, for frying 
  • 1 oz butter 
  • 1 sprig dried thyme 
  • 2½ lbs best end of lamb neck, cut into large pieces 
  • 7 carrots, chopped lengthways into 2” pieces 
  • 2 tbps pearl barley 
  • 5 cups chicken stock, (recipe below) 
  • Salt and black pepper 
  • 1 bouquet garni (parsley/thyme/bay leaf) 
  • 12 medium potatoes (sliced)
  • 1 bunch parsley leaves finely chopped 
  • 1 bunch chives


  • Chicken carcass 
  • 1 onion 
  • 4 cups water 
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped 
  • Bay leaf 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the stockpot. Combine ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Then let it cool, drain and skim off the fat. 

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook the onions in oil and butter, on medium-high heat until they are translucent. Add the dried thyme and stir. Add the lamb and brown on a high heat to seal in juices. Add carrots and pearl barley. Pour in the chicken stock so that it almost covers the meat and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and add Bouquet Garni. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours, being careful not to boil. Place potatoes on top of the stew, cover and cook for 30 minutes until the meat is falling beautifully off the bones and the potatoes are tender. Serve with chopped parsley and chives.

Wild Rice in Stuffed Cabbage

  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1½ cups chopped onions
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped 
  • 1 cup finely chopped green apple 
  • 6 oz long grain and wild rice mix 
  • 2½ cups chicken stock 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 15 large green cabbage leaves 
  • 26 oz marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup of the onions, the celery and apple; sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in rice, seasoning packet from rice mix, ¾ cup of the broth and garlic. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 mins or until liquid is absorbed. Rice should be al dente. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in pecans. Set aside. Place 12-15 large cabbage leaves in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water; let stand for 2-3 mins or until wilted. Cut off thickest part of each cabbage leaf. Place 2 tbsp of rice mixture near the stem end of a leaf. Fold over sides and roll up. Do not roll too tightly as the rice will expand as it cooks. Repeat with remaining leaves and rice mixture. Place cabbage rolls, seam sides down, in a shallow baking dish. Pour marinara sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining onions. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Serve hot with sauce. 

Soda Bread Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp butter diced
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar and baking soda and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Work in diced cold butter by hand. Add raisins and caraway seeds. Mix in buttermilk. Pat out the dough until 1 inch thick; cut into four to six 2½ inch rounds. Bake at 375º F for 15-20 minutes. 

Sausage and Potato Bake

  • 3-4 thick-sliced bacon cut into 2” pieces
  • 1½ lbs pork sausage 
  • 2 large onions, quartered and sliced
  • 4 large potatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups water or chicken stock

Cook the bacon until golden, then drain on paper towels. Brown sausages (prick in several places with fork) in the remaining bacon fat; drain on paper towels and slice into ½” pieces. Peel and slice potatoes about ¼” thick. In a 3-quart casserole dish, layer the bacon, sausage, onion, and potato, sprinkling each layer with a little freshly chopped parsley. Pour off all but a few tsp of bacon dripping from the frying pan. Add the chicken stock or water and bring to the boil. Pour over the potato casserole. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper and more chopped parsley. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 mins, until potatoes are just tender. Remove the cover and cook an additional 20-30 mins, until the top is browned and potatoes are tender.