Six easy to make and flavor-packed Irish-American inspired comfort foods to enjoy on March 17th.
1. Irish Stew
When it comes to comfort food, nothing hits home like a good homemade stew.
2 pounds beef, cubed
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 3-4 fresh sprigs
1/2 teaspoon rosemary or half of a fresh sprig
1/2 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut large sizes in half
2 cups pearl onions
3 cloves diced garlic
1 cup of Guinness stout beer
1 cup of strong coffee, cold
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
In a heavy stock pot, heat the oil on high. Take the bitesize beef chunks and dredge in flour. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Cook in the oil until well browned, frying the beef in small batches so they brown nicely (do not cook the beef all at once as they will be overcrowded in the pot and become gummy). When each batch is well browned, transfer the beef to a plate to rest. Add garlic to the pot and let it brown a bit. Deglaze the pot with beer and coffee.
Add the tomato paste, beef stock, thyme, and rosemary to the pot and bring to a boil.
Turn the stove down to a simmer and add the beef, pearl onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Bring it up to temperature. Remove the rosemary sprig and the stems of thyme, the thyme leaves will remain mostly in the stew.
Place a lid on the stock pot and place in a preheated 350F oven for one hour.
Serve hot with crusty bread and a dark beer.
As an alternative, omit the potatoes from the recipe and serve the stew over mashed potatoes or colcannon potatoes.
2. Colcannon Potatoes (Irish Mashed Potatoes)
This is a traditional Irish dish that is not only perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day menu but makes for a great comfort food year-round.
One pound large russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 cup cream
Salt and white pepper, to taste
4 cups of either cabbage, kale, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, diced
8 slices bacon, diced
4 green scallions, sliced for garnish
Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in a pot of salted water until done, poking with a fork to check for doneness (if the potato breaks to pieces, it is well done). Drain and mash. For a more rustic dish, use a potato masher sparingly to leave the potatoes chunky. For creamy potatoes, use a masher, blender, or ricer until smooth.
Add the cream cheese and butter, continue mashing until well incorporated. Add the cream in small increments, checking consistency until you reach the desired creaminess. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Boil the green vegetables until they reach your desired doneness. Cabbage and kale will cook quickly and should be cooked until it is just tender, about 5 minutes. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts should cook until they are well done.
Fry the diced bacon until almost crisp and drain on a paper towel to remove bacon grease.
Stir the greens and bacon into the mashed potatoes and garnish with sliced green scallions.
Enjoy this side dish with Irish Stew or Bangers and Mash.
3. Bangers and Mash
Bangers and Mash is a traditional dish in Great Britain and Ireland, and a delicious comfort food.
1 package of sausages or bratwurst of your choice
Mashed potatoes, recipe above
Onion gravy, recipe to follow
Cook the sausage links in a skillet over medium-low heat until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side; or cook the bratwursts on your grill until browned on all sides and thoroughly cooked throughout. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and place in a lightly preheated oven to stay warm.
Prepare the onion gravy, recipe to follow below.
Plate the mashed potatoes and top with the sausages and gravy. Serve with a side of buttered peas and enjoy.
4. Onion Gravy
While this onion gravy pairs perfectly with classic Irish dishes including Bangers and Mash or Irish Pasties, it also complements any number of comfort foods such as Salisbury steak.
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Guinness stout beer
3 cups beef broth or 3 cups water with 1 heaping tablespoon Beef Bouillon (Better than Bouillon)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the butter and sugar in a large skillet and sauté the onions over medium heat until they start to brown, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.
When the onions have softened and become light brown, add the flour and stir until well combined. Continue to cook for 2 additional minutes.
Add the beer, beef broth, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well mixed and the gravy starts to thicken. Continue to heat on medium heat until the gravy has thickened. If it is too thick, add water. Salt and Pepper to taste
Serve and enjoy with your favorite comfort dish.
5. Irish Pasty
Pasties are rich in history and were historically made as an easy lunch for miners and farmers. The crust was typically a handmade hot water crust which is very sturdy and would stand up to rough handling before it was eaten. Today, Irish Pasties can be enjoyed with a more delicate and easy to make crust. You can use any pre-made pie crust or your favorite homemade pie crust recipe.
Ingredients: Serving Size: 4 Pasties
2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 rutabaga, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons of either beef, chicken, vegetable, or onion bouillon
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Store bought or box made pie dough, enough for 2 full pies or 4 rounds
1 egg and 1 tablespoon water for an egg wash
In a heavy stock pot, add all of the diced vegetables and cover with water, adding the bouillon. Stir until the bouillon is mixed. Heat to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes and carrots are just softened. Remove from the heat and drain (you can reserve the liquid to make gravy or use for a soup stock). After the vegetables have drained, cool in the refrigerator for about one hour.
While the vegetables are cooking, fry the ground beef and garlic, drain well and add to the pot of vegetables to cool. Salt and pepper to taste and mix well with the vegetables before cooling.
Remove the pre-made crust from the wrapper, let it come to room temperature, and unroll carefully.
Place 1-2 cups of the meat and vegetable mixture on half of the pasty and fold the crust over to make a half moon. Fold the crust over around the edges and seal with a fork.
Place the pasties on a parchment covered sheet pan and brush with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for one hour until nicely browned.
Serve with gravy or homemade ketchup and dark beer.
Any remaining filling can be repurposed for breakfast with bacon and eggs the next morning. Leftover pasties freeze nicely; reheat in a 375F oven for 1/2 hour on a baking sheet.
6. Warm Reuben Dip
An addicting dip inspired by the Reuben Sandwich.
1 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup Miracle Whip for a sweeter alternative
1-1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
12 ounces deli pastrami, sliced thin
1 cup well drained sauerkraut
2 tablespoons stone ground Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white pepper
Sliced rye bread or pumpernickel
Mix mayo with 1 cup Swiss cheese. Add the pastrami, sauerkraut, mustard, and pepper. Mix well.
Place all the ingredients in a well-greased oven-safe dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Swiss cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated 420F oven, or until heated through and well-browned on top.
Serve with cocktail deli style rye or pumpernickel bread, bagel chips, crackers, or smear it on sliced bread and enjoy it as a sandwich. Indulge and enjoy.