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A Taste of Ireland: Making a Hearty Meal Straight from the Emerald Isle (Meal Idea #1)

Updated on February 7, 2010
Corned beef. An Irish staple. Photo by Jeff Kuniba via Flickr.
Corned beef. An Irish staple. Photo by Jeff Kuniba via Flickr.

Smoked Salmon with Potato Pancakes

One of the wonderful things about eating in Ireland, an island nation, is the fresh seafood. This appetizer highlights an Irish staple - salmon. This appetizer is a perfect start to any Irish meal and, of course, it brings in the all-important potato.

1 lb of potatoes, mashed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 scallions, chopped

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup butter, melted

12 ounces smoked salmon

2/3 cup sour cream

Small bunch of dill, chopped

1. Mix the potatoes, flour and baking powder together. Add eggs, scallions and half of the amount of butter and mix it together thoroughly. Form mixture into about 10-12 potato cakes.

2. Put the remaining butter in a hot, non-stick skillet and cook for about 30 seconds a side, or until browned.

3. Mix sour cream and chopped dill, salt and pepper.

4. To serve, take a cooled potato cake, top with a piece of smoked salmon, a dollop of dill cream and some scallion or dill for garnish.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

This traditional Irish meal is a special occasion meal - once served only for Easter, it is now a traditional St. Patrick's Day feast. In New Orleans, where I attended school, riders in the St. Patrick's Day parade throw out all the fixings for this meal - cabbage, carrots, etc.

3 lbs corned beef brisket with spice packet

10 small new potatoes

5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 “ chunks

1 head of cabbage, cut into chunks

1. Place corned beef in a large stock pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the contents of the spice packet to the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 hours, until the corned beef is fork tender.

2. When ready, take corned beef out of stock pot, reserving cooking liquid. Cut slices against the grain, into 1/2-inch thick slices.

3. Add the potatoes, carrots and cabbage to the reserved cooking liquid. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, probably 15-30 minutes. Serve alongside slice corned beef.

Warm Potato Salad with Bacon Dressing

It will be difficult to have a complete Irish meal with the element of the potato. The culinary history of Ireland is partially defined by the potato famine, and modern cuisine there still holds true to the food of Ireland's ancestors, the potato. This recipe is a wonderful side dish, punctuated by the salty goodness of bacon!

(Recipe from The Irish Heritage Cookbook)

2 lb small new potatoes

sprig of mint

1-2 tbsp olive oil

6 oz bacon, diced

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 small bunch chives, chopped

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

1. Scrape or rub off the skin from the new potatoes and cook in salted water with the mint for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and allow to cool a little, then turn into a salad bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion and cook gently until just softening. Add the diced bacon to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to crisp up.

3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, and then add the chopped herbs, the vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper to taste, remembering that the bacon might be salty.

4. Pour the dressing over the potatoes. Toss gently to mix and serve warm.

Carrot and Parsnip Puree

Carrots are a popular vegetable in Ireland and this is a good alternative to the mashed potato since there are several potato elements in this menu already. This simple side dish really lets the natural sweetness of the carrots shine through.

12 oz carrots

1 lb parsnips

2 tablespoons butter

a pinch of nutmeg

1 tbsp heavy cream

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Peel the carrots and cut into ¼” slices. Peel parsnips and cut into chunks a little larger than you cut the carrots (parsnips will cook faster!) Boil the carrots in lightly salted water until tender; drain. Do the same with the parsnips in a separate pan until tender.

2. Mash the vegetables – you can use a food processor, potato masher or even a food mill.

3. Add butter, nutmeg, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped parsley for a fresh flavor and bright color. Serve warm.

Bread and Butter Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

You can't really have a full Irish meal without having some whiskey and this recipe incorporates it beautifully. Using it as a sweet element in this dish, instead of an overwhelming flavor, gives a standard bread pudding an Irish kick. This is a great end to a traditional Irish meal - and you probably won't want to eat again for a week!

Bread and butter pudding:

8 slices white bread

¾ cup raisins

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups superfine sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk (not skim)

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Irish whiskey sauce:

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup superfine sugar

2 eggs

4 tbsp Irish whiskey

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish.

2. Remove the crusts from the bread and place four slices on the bottom of the baking dish. Put raisins and 1 tbsp sugar on top of the bread. Top with the rest of the slices and another tbsp of sugar.

3. Mix eggs, cream, milk, Irish whiskey, vanilla, butter, cinnamon in a medium bowl. Pour over bread in pan.

4. Bake until all the liquid is absorbed and the bread pudding is golden brown, which should take about an hour.

5. For sauce: Melt butter with sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.

6. Beat egg in a bowl and gradually whisk in some of melted butter mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan and whisk until smooth. Remember - do not let it boil. Add whiskey.

7. To serve, spoon warm bread pudding into bowls. Spoon sauce over.


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    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 7 years ago from South Wales

      What a tonic! Meghan Fitz you've brought back memories. I was on a ship and we were anchored in the bay at Cove, near Cork.

      The master said, 'I'm sorry but we've only corned beef for dinner.' I expected a tin, but it was as you've described, the best meal I had on board that ship.