Four Savory Recipes for a St. Patrick’s Day Feast

Celebrate March 17 with true Irish dishes, including boxty, colcannon and spotted dog.
By Aubrey Vaughn
March 3, 2008
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Spotted Dog is an easy and delicious Irish quick bread.
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The Irish feast day celebrating St. Patrick enjoys tremendous popularity in the United States. And even though the U.S. holiday offers a few American twists — such as green beer — it’s still a great, celebratory feast day; and you can’t very well have a feast without great food. So, somewhere between searching for that green sweater and hunting for four-leaf clovers, try these hearty recipes for a delicious St. Patrick’s day treat.

Boxty Irish Potato Pancakes (from bellaonline.com)

1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup  raw potatoes, grated
2 cups self-rising flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter
Sour cream (optional)


Mix the mashed and grated raw potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients and 1 cup of the milk. As the batter is mixed, add small amounts of additional milk or buttermilk until the batter is loose enough to work with.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over gentle heat. When the butter is melted, ladle small pancakes into the pan. Brown on both sides and serve hot with more butter and/or sour cream.

Colcannon (from the  Food Network )
A simple dish of creamy potatoes and cabbage

3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups hot milk
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 pound ham, cooked the day before
4 scallions, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley leaves

Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring continuously. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.

Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Then add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.

Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes until tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces.

Add cabbage, scallions and ham to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.

Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top. Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.

Corned Beef and Cabbage (from the Food Network)
Leftover corned beef makes a super Reuben sandwich! Just pile it up on rye bread with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and plenty of Russian or Thousand Island dressing; then grill it to your heart’s content.

1 3-pound corned beef brisket (uncooked), in brine
16 cups cold water
2 bay leaves
2 tsp black peppercorns
4 whole allspice berries
2 whole cloves (Check the ingredients list on the corned beef brisket prior to adding spices, as they’re often already  in the brine.) 
1/2 large head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut into 8 thick wedges
8 small new potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), halved
Freshly ground black pepper

Serving suggestion: Whole-grain mustard or horseradish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the corned beef in a colander in the sink and rinse well under cold running water. Place the corned beef in a large Dutch oven that has a tight-fitting lid; add the water, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and cloves. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Cover and transfer pan to the oven, and braise until very tender, about 4 hours.

Remove the corned beef and wrap tightly with foil to keep warm. Add the cabbage and potatoes to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large platter. On a cutting board, slice the corned beef across the grain of the meat into thin slices. Lay the slices over the cabbage and surround it with the potatoes. Ladle some of the hot cooking liquid over the corned beef and season with pepper. Serve immediately with the mustard or horseradish sauce.

Spotted Dog (from fabulousfoods.com) 
Irish quick bread

4 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raisins, currants or sultanas
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk

Sift the dry ingredients, add the fruit and mix well. Make a well in the center of the mix and add most of the milk. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be soft, but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured board and knead lightly for a few seconds — just long enough to tidy it up.

Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches deep and cut a deep cross in it (to let the faeries out!). Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread.

Bake in an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes, or until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom: it will sound hollow when cooked.

Serve freshly baked, cut into thick slices and spread with butter.

Other Necessities

In addition to food, a true feast often includes a brew, as well as a blessing. For a truly “green” beer, check out any of the organic brews rated by readers in this survey from The Green Guide. (Learn more about local and organic beer in Good Libations, December 2007/January 2008.) 

Finally, as you raise your glasses and your forks, a toast:

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now
And bless you evermore.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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