One of my very best friends, Tom O’Grady, from Rockaway Park, NY, taught me a very valuable lesson… that there’s a lot more to Irish cuisine than Corned Beef and Cabbage. A restaurateur and true gentleman, he brought to light a whole other world of Irish cookery. Here are some of the best recipes, in my humble opinion.

We at Epicurus.com wish all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is an honorary Irishman!

Boxty (Potato Griddle Cakes)
Serves 8

1/2 pound raw potato
1/2 pound mashed potato
1/2 pound plain flour
milk
1 egg
salt and pepper

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with a tart apple sauce: or as part of an Ulster Fry, with fried bacon, fried sausage, fried eggs, fried black pudding, fried bread, fried soda bread.

Potato Cakes
Makes 2 cakes

1/4 Cup of butter
6-8 ounces white Flour
1/2 pound plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking Powder
3 Cups freshly mashed potato (with milk)

Cut butter into flour until it forms large granules. Add salt and baking powder, mix well. Mix in potatoes. Knead for a few minutes. Roll out onto lightly floured board with floured rolling pin. Cut into 2 rounds. Cook on a dry griddle or skillet until brown on both sides.

Champ
4 pounds potatoes
1/2 pound spring onions (scallions)
1/2 pint milk
2 teaspoons salt
4 ounces butter

Peel and boil potatoes until cooked. Simmer the spring onions in milk for about 5 mins.

Strain potatoes and mash. Add the hot milk and scallions, salt, pepper and half the butter and mix in. Serve on its own or as an accompaniment.

Irish Lamb Stew

Irish Stew
Serves 6

2 Tablespoons oil
4 large onions cut in wedges
5 large carrots cut in thick slices
1 1/2 pounds round steak or lamb
6 large potatoes
1 Cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large saucepan or skillet. Saute onions in oil. Add carrots and cook for a few minutes. Cut steak into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes and add to onions & carrots. Wash, peel and slice potatoes and add to pot. Pour in water, season to taste with sat & pepper and bring to a boil. Skim of any foam, reduce heat and simmmer over low heat until meat and vegetables are tender. If desired, stew can be thickened by mixing 2 tablespoon flour with a little water and adding it to the stew. Heat through until thickened and serve piping hot.

Irish Potato Soup

2 pounds potatoes
1 large onion
2 ounces butter
2 pints vegetable stock
1/2 pint milk
1 Tablespoon chives or parsley
nutmeg
1 pinch of salt & pepper
1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)

Peel and cut potatoes in quarters and finely slice the onions.

Melt butter in a saucepan and add the Potatoes and Onions, cover and simmer for 10 mins (don’t brown vegetables). Add the stock, salt & pepper and nutmeg, then stir. Cover and bring to the boil stirring continuously. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft, stir occasionally. Remove from heat and put through a sieve, and return to the saucepan. Stir in the milk and cornflour and bring to the boil, stir continuously. Remove from the heat, serve with a sprinkling of chives or parsley.

Tom’s Irish Coffee
Serves 1

1 jigger Irish Whiskey, such as Tullamore Dew
1 or 2 teaspoons sugar, preferably raw sugar or Demarara sugar
freshly made hot coffee
2-4 Tablespoons chilled whipped cream

Heat, but do not boil, the Irish whiskey. A microwave works well for this. (20 to 30 secs on high power should do the trick.) Pour the warmed whiskey into a warmed 7-ounce coffee cup, goblet or Irish Coffee Glass and add the sugar. Fill with the hot coffee to within about a half inch of the top of the cup. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Float the whipped cream on top of the hot coffee and serve immediately.

Mrs. Donnelly’s Soda Bread
Makes 1

Mrs. Donnelly ran a boarding house in Rockaway Beach, NY for many years with her loving husband, Felix. She was a consummate cook of classic Irish cuisines. Here’s her recipe for superb Irish Soda Bread.

6 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 Cup sugar
1 pound raisins (or sultanas)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 caraway seeds to taste (approx 1/8 cup)
1 quart buttermilk

Mix all the dry ingredients in a LARGE bowl. Mix in caraway and raisins. Mix in buttermilk. It helps to use your hands to mix this because the dough is sticky. Don’t use an electric mixer or the bread comes out flat.

Divide batter into two buttered cake pans. Flour a knife and cut a cross into the tops of each. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour. The top should not be allowed to get to brown.

Brown Soda/Wheaten Bread

4 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Cup white flour
1/2 Cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 Cups sour milk or buttermilk

Mix and bake exactly as for “soda bread” above. If you have trouble with this one rising, your local mixture of whole wheat flour may be responsible: try decreasing the amount of whole wheat and increasing the white flour.

Treacle Bread

2 Tablespoons dark molasses
7 fluid ounces milk (approximately)
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 pound flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
good pinch of ground ginger

Heat the molasses and milk together. Mix all dry ingredients together: add liquid until a soft dough is achieved. With floured hands, shape into a round cake about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into farls, put on a floured baking sheet and bake at 400oF for 40 minutes.

Old Fashioned Fish Bake
Serves 4

Just the thing for a winter’s day, this economical recipe provides the
kind of wholesome dish your grandmother might have made to warm the cockles of the family’s heart.

1 to 1.5 pounds (450-675 grams) of smoked cod
1 ounces (30g) butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 ounces (30g) of flour
half pint (300mls) milk
2 Tablespoons of cream
freshly milled black pepper
a bayleaf
chopped parsley
1 ounce (30g) of grated cheddar cheese

Generously grease a pie dish with butter, remove all bones from fish and cut in portions, place in pie dish. Melt butter in a saucepan, add leeks, cook gently for two minutes. Add in flour and cook for one minute. Which in milk and cream. Bring to the boil. Pour sauce over fish, add bayleaf. Cover and bake in a fairly moderate oven 350 degrees F (180 C) (Gas 4) for 25 minutes: Remove cover, sprinkle cheese over the fish and return to the oven to brown.Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with boiled potatoes and lemon-buttered carrots. You can substitute smoked haddock or smoked coley in place of cod.

Dublin Lawyer

Dublin Lawyer
Serves 2

1 or 2 fresh lobsters/about 2 1/2 pounds total
3 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons Irish whiskey
150 ml cream
1 pinch salt and pepper

The lobster should be cut in two down the center. Remove all the meat from the lobster, including the claws: retain the shell for serving. Cut the meat into chunks. Heat the butter until foaming and quickly saute the lobster chunks in it, until just cooked but not colored. Warm the whiskey slightly, then pour it over the lobster and set fire to it. Add the cream, mix with the pan juices, and taste for seasoning. Put back into the half shells and serve hot.

Irish Pot-Roasted Chicken
Serves 4

1 chicken, about 4.5 pounds
4 ounces oatmeal
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons stock
1 pinch salt and pepper
6 ounces bacon
3 medium onions, sliced
2 pounds potatoes
seasoned flour
3 Tablespoons drippings or oil
4 medium carrots, sliced

If there are giblets with the bird, take them out, wash all but the liver (reserve that for another use), and cover with water, add salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour. Wipe the bird inside and out and remove any lumps of fat from the inside; sprinkle with salt. Mix together the oatmeal, chopped onion, butter or suet, stock, and seasoning, stuff the bird with this mixture and secure well. Heat the dripping or oil and lightly fry the bacon, then chop and put into a casserole. Quickly brown the bird in the same fat and put on top of the bacon. Soften the onion and briefly saute the carrots, then add to the casserole. Strain the giblet stock and make it up to about 1/2 liter. Heat and pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook in a moderate oven (350C) for about an hour. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into thick slices and blanch them in boiling water, or steam them for about 5 minutes. Toss them in seasoned flour and add them to the casserole, adding a little more of the giblet stock if needed. Cover with buttered wax paper and continue cooking for another 1/2 hour, taking off the paper for the last few minutes for browning.

Trimlestown Roast Sirloin
Serves 4

3 pounds sirloin roast
2 ounces whiskey
10 ounces red wine
1 ounces butter
2 ounces flour
1 pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Wipe meat, season and place in a roasting pan. Place pan in oven and cook for one hour. Add the whiskey and wine to the pan. Cook for a further hour, basting once more. Remove the roast from the pan, place on a serving dish and keep warm. Pour off excess fat from the meat juices, adding water to bring to about 15 oz. Beat the butter into the flour to form a smooth paste. Add a little of the juices to this and mix well, then pour onto juices, mixing again, and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes to cook flour. Correct the seasoning. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water. Serve separately in a gravy boat. Jacket or mashed potatoes, and a cooked green vegetable (possibly broccoli) go well with this, since the sauce is so rich.

And for dessert…
Curach (Irish Honey-and-Oatmeal Cream)
Serves 4

2 ounces medium-grind oatmeal
10 ounces heavy cream
2 teaspoons honey
3 Tablespoons whiskey
12 ounces raspberries

Toast the oatmeal on a cookie sheet under the broiler, or in a hot oven – watch it carefully and stir it from time to time – until it turns a pale golden color. Leave it to cool completely. Whip the cream until it holds its shape, stir in the honey and whiskey, then the cold toasted oatmeal.

Layer the raspberries and the cream mixture in the glasses, saving a few of the berries for decoration on top. Serve slightly cool.

Be sure to check out our additional Irish recipes at Foods of Ireland.

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