HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


From the Irish kitchen...

Chowhounds, they say we're all Irish on St. Patrick's Day...I know I become a convert each year and enjoy the festivities, especially many of the dishes in the Gaelic culinary repertoire...so I was wondering what some of your favorite Irish specialties are, traditional or not...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Kind of rediculous but I like Irish nachos. Thick steak cut fries with sour cream, bacon, and green onions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Paul Weller

      WHY have I never heard of these? They sound awesome. And here in St. Louis, we are all about the Irish.

    2. I have a tiny little Irish cookbook, and one of my favorite recipes to make from there is a beef stew with Guinness. I also like colcannon (mashed potatoes and cabbage). I love soda bread bt haven't had any luck making it.

      When I went to Ireland they told me, "You won't like the food." But they were wrong. (Now, granted, it's been 22 years ago now, and I understand that Irish cuisine has come leaps and bounds since then.)

      But the best thing I remember having while I was there was a shepherd's pie in a pub. Came home and immediately tried to recreate it in my own kitchen, and didn't do too bad.

      Oh, and then there were the chips (french fries) with vinegar. We used to go to this little hole-in-the-wall place just off Parnell Street in Dublin, called the Kingfisher, and the first time I was in there the fellow who ran the place was taking a break. He had this big plate of chips, and started dumping vinegar all over them. Sheltered little small-town Kansas girl that I was at the time, I must have given him an incredibly funny look because he started laughing. Next time we were there I tried it myself, and was immediately converted.

      1 Reply
      1. re: revsharkie

        Agreed on the Guinness Beef Stew (or Lamb Shepherd's Pie), as well as my grandma's Irish Soda Bread (also with caraway, like im nomad's version)....which I'll need to make this weekend.

      2. I love colcannon. And I love irish soda bread with caraway, my recipe is more like a sweet loaf than a bread. great with lemon curd. Purity factories does a caraway biscuit that i love, but i'll no longer eat because it has lard :(

        We're all a little bit Irish where i come from (east coast of Newfoundland, the Cape Shore)

        1. What is the difference between Irish corned beef and Jewish kosher style corned beef? Tried to make one last year from Costco and it did not taste right to me (used to kosher style).

          4 Replies
          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            The difference? There's no such thing as an Irish corned beef. ;-) The only places you'll find that dreck in Ireland are places serving heavy tourist trade. I only saw it in one place there, and it was at the restraurant that all the tour buses stopped in a particular town.

            1. re: Diane in Bexley

              The Irish more traditionally had pickled pork - beef was mostly for export and dairy. When they came to North America, beef was widely available (outside the American South, which like Ireland was more pork-focused) and they switched to pickling beef. But the brine is very simple, not complex like Eastern European pickled beef. Jewish meat, of course, had to be from the front half of the steer (round is not a kosher cut of beef, but I digress), but the Irish were not so limited in choice of beef cuts.

              1. re: Karl S

                Someone watched Good Eats last night. ;-)

                The Irish, my ancestors and my husband's included, ate ham for celebrations. The cabbage was used to mask the scent of the ham from the wealthy land owners who didn't pay them enough to afford ham and would think they were overpaying the farmers if they got "caught" with ham, and the cabbage also served to cover the ham in the pot should the land owner come in and lift the cover of the pot.

                1. re: irishnyc

                  Well, actually, the pickled pork thing was something I had read long ago - and my grandmother grew up in a dairy farm in poorer-than-dirt-poor County Leitrim in the late 1800s. Cattle were for butter, not for eating. Pigs were for eating - pigs can take care of themselves, and grow within a season; much more efficient for meat than cattle.

            2. Mr. HR and I will be making some Shpeherd's Pie and probably an Irish Soda Bread. He is Irish and we live in NY so we will be at the parade!

              1. Corned beef and "Bubble & Squeak", which, I believe is a casserole of mashed potatoes, cooked cabbage and onions.

                My great grandma Shannon was once asked how the Irish cook their meat. She gave these simple instructions: "Get a big pot of water boiling on the stove. Put a little salt. Get a perfectly good piece of meat and put it in to boil. When it looks like the bottom of your shoe, it's done"

                1 Reply
                1. re: HSBSteveM

                  Bubble & Squeak", is not a casserole. It is mashed potatoes, cooked cabbage (or any other type of green veggies you have left over from a Sunday roast dinner) and onions (or leeks) which are all mashed up together and then fried. And to my knowledge, Bubble and Squeak is a traditional English dish. Colcannon is the Irish equivalent.

                2. oh one i almost forgot is Barm Brack, which i also really like. I also sometimes make irish coffee brownies around this time of year, and have done a Bailey's cheesecake.

                  One year i threw a St. Patrick's Day party....mostly finger foods, dips etc. I did have some Guinness cheese, Irish Cheddar, caraway cheese etc....but some of the other things i just did a little different.....like my "big bowl cheese dip" that calls for beer...I made it with Guinness....I also made bit pot of mussels with basil cream (the Gourmet recipe), plus other things i can't remember (probably because it was a very late and good party, lol).

                  At the same party, we did not do green beer, but everyone got to share a shot (or two) of Irish Mist. good stuff.

                  I have a recipe for a cod cobbler as well as a brotchan recipe i keep meaning to try.

                  1. Chowhounds, thanks for your flavorful posts so far...What I find appealing about Irish cuisine per se is its simplicity...preparing tasty dishes with very few ingredients..perhaps stemming from Ireland's history of famines...

                    1. Our faves are Colcannon, Shephard's Pie, and Irish Stew (lamb, potatoes, onions, parsley).

                      1. Could not wait any longer...we already prepared a fresh Irish Soda Bread ready for the taking... have our corned beef in the pressure cooker on the stove cooking real slow...and we plan to sautee our cabbage this year at the moment with a few extras...

                        1. My most memorable meals in Ireland were the salmon and lamb. For all the sheep you see on the roads in Ireland, I was surprised how little lamb we came across on menus. Mutton stew was much more common.

                          And scones. Oh the scones were often heavenly. Even just with butter. (Often local creamery butter because there are still lots of local creameries making great butters and mild cheeses.)

                          Not so heavenly - blood sausage which seemed to be on the menu of every second B+B we've stayed at. Not something I want to be facing early in the morn. The bacon on the other hand was great. Quite different from North American bacon - not so harshly smoked (or chemically processed). Bacon on big chunks on whole wheat toast was my favourite part of the traditional breakfast fry.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: pengcast

                            I grew up regularly eating blood pudding, which i think is the same as what you are talking about....as well as it's relative, white pudding which i guess is the same thing minus the blood. I loved the stuff, well...a little less after someone decided to tell me how it was made. no longer eat any of it now because i don't eat meat.....i actually wish there was a vegetarian version out there !!

                            1. re: im_nomad

                              I saw something the other night that some one had made a vegy Black pudding, , I just still love the real stuff

                              http://www.polsco.co.uk/acatalog/Blac... (Link


                              Vegetarian Black Pudding
                              R.S. Ireland (The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Co.); an award winning family run business based in Rossendale, Lancashire are "Specialist Black Pudding Makers"
                              The worlds 1st famous vegetarian black pudding. substituded with caramilized onion and beetroot!

                              1. re: djr222

                                I'm not a fan of black pudding, but vegetarian? That's just wrong.

                          2. Cheese and onion toasties!!

                            1. I should be Irish , because I have a b-day on St. Patricks :-)
                              Even though I am not, we always celebrate with Irish food. This year it will be a Guiness lamb stew.
                              I also found this "irish" sounding dip a couple of years ago and it is a great thing to serve at St. Patrick's party-or just nibble on with a piece of rye and caraway seed bread while waiting for your stew-

                              16oz sour cream mix with 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, white pepper and dill weed each, 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp caraway seeds, 1 cup well drained sauerkraut and 1 cup finely chopped corned beef. Refrigerate overnight.

                              1. planning to start St. Paddy's Day with a good Irish breakfast as well...not a bad idea to keep your belly full on this day...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: gutreactions

                                  mmmmmmm.....Irish fry...rashers, black & white pudding, a couple of links, grilled tomato, eggs, brown bread, strong tea....yep, good to go until 2pm at least!

                                2. I like colcannon, champ, Barmbrack, Irish fish pies and soda bread. Washed down with a pint of Irish cider.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: FoodieKat

                                    For some historical info on Irish stew that may come as a surprise, see the St. Patrick's Day entries at:


                                    1. re: Barry Foy

                                      LOL! I definitely missed school the day the Irish Saffron Famine of 1839 was taught back in grade school. ;-)

                                  2. Bit late for St Patricks day but my fav Irish comfort food is cally. This is so simple but must have been made for hangovers. Basically its really creamy mashed potatoes with onion or scallion mashed in (lots not just a seasoning of) and then you have to make it into a mountain.....yes, this is playing with your food. Then you have to make a crater in the middle of the spud mountain into which you add milk and a knob of butter....mmmmm. If Nigella was Irish, this is what she would make:-)

                                    1 Reply