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A Taste of Ireland: Making a Hearty Meal Straight from the Emerald Isle (Meal Idea #2)

Updated on February 9, 2010

Cheese and Guinness Fondue

A twist on the classic fondue, this recipe features Guinness, a popular Irish stout that is the best-selling alcohol beverage of all time in the Emerald Isle. The roasted barley in this stout gives Guinness its distinctive bite and is a wonderful complement to the creamy cheese.

1/2 pint Guinness stout

2 lbs cheddar cheese, grated

1 tsp lemon juice

6-8 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

bread chunks for dipping

crudités like celery, cauliflower or bell peppers for dipping

1. Heat grated cheese in a fondue dish or another heavy pan, preferably enameled, and slowly melt over medium heat. Be sure to watch it and stir continuously so it doesn’t burn.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until the fondue thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Use a slow cooker or fondue pot to keep the cheese warm for serving with bread chunks or vegetables.

Irish Mussel Stew

Fresh seafood is a strong component of many Irish meals because it is an island nation. All around the coast of Ireland, mussels abound! This stew is filling, but not too heavy and it is a must to serve it with a thick slice of brown soda bread.

(recipe from

10 pounds mussels in their shells

1 large chopped onion

1 ounce butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 ounce extra butter for thickening (optional)

1 ounce flour (optional)

1/2 cup light cream (optional)

Note: Most mussels sold today are farmed and arrive at the market fully cleaned, but they do need to be washed and bearded. First, scrub them vigorously under running water, discarding any with shells that don't close. Then pull out the clump of hair-like strands that look like a 'beard.'

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Cook the onions over medium-low heat until they soften. Put in mussels and all the other ingredients except salt, parsley and extra butter. Cook over very high heat and cover until mussels open (about 5 minutes!).

2. Using a slotted spoon remove mussels from the liquid that has formed. Remove one side of shell on each mussel, keeping the shells to which the mussels are attached for serving.

3. Return liquid to the heat and let it reduce a little by boiling with lid off.

Optional thickening: In a separate saucepan, melt the extra butter and whisk in first 1 oz flour, then 1/2 cup thin cream. Add this to the soup in the pot and cook over medium heat to reach to the consistency you want. When soup is ready, pour it over the half-shelled mussels and garnish with chopped parsley.

Brown Soda Bread

A perfect compliment to any soup or stew, or even for a grilled cheese sandwich, this bread is best eaten on the day it is made.

4 cups whole wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk to flour mixture; stir until blended (dough will be sticky).

2. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Shape dough into two round loafs. Place on a buttered baking sheet. With a paring knife, mark a 3/4-inch-deep cross on the top of each round.

3. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° (do not remove bread from oven); bake 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Another Brown Soda Bread Recipe

Dingle Pies

These types of pies were made at regional Irish fairs, one in particular was Lammas Day. The Lammas Day festival near Dingle was one of the most popular and these individual pies were the type of portable, easy to eat food that would be featured.

(recipe from The Irish Heritage Cookbook)

For the pastry:

5 cups plain all-purpose flour

1 generous cup butter

1/2 cup very cold water

For the filling:

1 lb boneless lamb (or mutton if you can get it)

1 large onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 potato, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

1 egg, beaten

1. To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter into the flour with the fingertips or a pastry blender, lifting the mixture as much as possible to aerate. Add the chilled water. Mix with a knife or fork until the mixture clings together. Turn it on to a floured worktop and knead lightly once or twice until smooth. Wrap in baking parchment or foil and leave in the refrigerator to relax for 20 minutes.

2. Trim any fat or gristle from the meat and cit it up into very small pieces. Place in a large bowl and add the diced onion, carrots, potato and celery. Mix well and season with salt and ground black pepper.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a third off the ball of pasty and reserve to make the lids of the pies. Roll out the rest and, using a small plate as a guide and re-rolling the pastry as necessary, cut out six circles. Divide the meat and vegetable mixture between the circles, piling it in the middle of each.

4. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out six smaller circles, about 4 inches across. Lay these on top. Dampen the edges of the pastry bases, bring the pastry up around the meat, pleat it to fit the lid and pinch the edges together.

5. Make a small hole in the top of each pie to let out the steam, brush them with beaten egg and slide the pies on to baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Serve hot or cold.

Irish Apple Cake

This is a very simple dessert that is always a crowd pleaser. Serve with an Irish coffee. And definitely save some leftovers for a sweet breakfast treat!

2 cups self-rising flour

1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3-4 cooking apples

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1-3 tablespoon milk

granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a springform pan.

2. Sift flour, salt and cloves into a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs.

3. Peel and core the apples. Add apples and sugar to the flour mixture. Mix in eggs and however much milk is needed to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough into the springform pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until golden in color. Cool on a wire rack.


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    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 

      8 years ago from South Wales

      Excallent recipes, I like the idea of the dingle pies. Thanks, Meghan.


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