St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday and it’s a big deal at our house. It is my husband’s self-declared favorite holiday of the year. While our methods of celebrating have changed over the last decade (less green beer…more cabbage), we still try to do something fun to acknowledge the day.
When we first met, Tim would throw day-long parties with beer pong and way too many friends crammed into his small apartment. What I remember most is trying my first bite of corned beef which had been simmering all day in a crock-pot. While it smelled awesome, I couldn’t get past the odd texture and saltiness of the meat. To be fair, Tim is a great cook. I’m just not a meat connoisseur and couldn’t appreciate the dish. Irish food definitely has a reputation of being rated on a scale from not great to pretty bad. Just ask anyone who has gone on a long vacation to Ireland. I thought I would share some thoroughly Americanized options that you can incorporate into your celebration this year, sans blood pudding and salt-lick style mystery meat. Enjoy!
Green Beer. For sure the easiest way to achieve the iconic green beer is to add a drop of food coloring. If you’re looking for a more natural approach, you can actually add…..wait for it…matcha tea! I’m not sure I’ll be able to talk Tim into this one, but I’m curious for sure. Learn more here. You definitely need to invest in some nice pilsners or mugs to serve it. Let them chill in the freezer for a bit beforehand so that they’re nice and frosty.
Irish Coffee. Such a great way to end (or start) your St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The recipe is super simple if you use a flavored liquor. For the whiskey, I would recommend Jameson. Homemade whipped cream is super simple and so much better than the tub options with hydrogenated oil. Simply whip one cup heavy whipping cream, one tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla extract until stiff peaks start to form. Of course you need the appropriate coffee glasses in which to serve this decadent drink.
Creamy Braised Porkchops. Pork is what I think of when it comes to a signature Irish entree. Of course, this is probably because this is as close as I can get to corned beef and I don’t eat lamb, so there you have it. Basically any pork dish works great with the sides listed below, but I love the sauce that goes with these braised porkchops!
Drunken Chicken with a Mushroom Gravy. I made this recipe several years ago, and need to try it out again. I probably used chicken breasts in lieu of the thighs and drumsticks as I’ve never gotten as comfortable in cooking them. It’s definitely a challenge best faced with a beer laden gravy!
Shepherd’s Pie. Ok, so since I don’t use lamb, it’s technically a “Cottage Pie”. Either way, it’s delicious and it gives me my casserole fix. I like this recipe’s take on the dish as it suggests using mashed cauliflower for the topping vs potatoes. This way you can serve it with a side of the roasted potatoes mentioned below. It’s basically a win win.
Cabbage. We’ll start with something easy. Cabbage, for me, was always a base for coleslaw and that’s about it. Within the last two years, it’s become one of my favorite sides when I’m serving pork as the entree. I tried this recipe and it was a game changer (sans caraway seeds). Now, I have dissected it and basically cook just the cabbage or just the potatoes as separate dishes. I saute the cabbage over medium heat with butter and then add a dash of red wine vinegar (maybe a tablespoon) and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. On a side note, I do clean the cabbage before cooking. I know many just give the head a good rinse, but I chop, soak in salt water and then in fresh water, just to make sure it’s nice and clean.
Potatoes. We don’t cook potatoes just a ton. I prefer to add an additional veggie side vs a starch. However, when I do, the above recipe (here it is again) is my go to! I roast just the potatoes. It’s so easy and I love how crispy the skin gets. This side is beyond versatile and goes perfectly with pork, beef, or chicken. Potatoes are on the dirty dozen list, so buy organic when possible.
Carrots. I’ve always
loved enjoyed raw carrots, but never liked them cooked unless they were in a soup (flashback to canned carrots served ala bland in the school cafeteria). Honestly, it’s all in the cooking method. Blanched on the stove= mushy and no thanks. Roasted in the oven= bitey and more please! Plus, you know what makes everything better?: butter and garlic. I adore this recipe (yes, adore is a fitting term here). I cook it constantly and my almost two year old also adores it.
Beer Bread. Homemade bread really is the best bread. I can pass up sliced pre-packaged varieties all day long, but fresh from the oven and I’m all over it. Beer bread is super easy and perfect for St. Paddy’s Day. I plan to try out this recipe. It has great reviews and I love King Arthur brand flour. If you get to it before me, let me know how it turns out!
Let’s be clear, I am a huge advocate for eating all natural and whole foods. However, if I’m going to take the time to make a homemade dessert, it’s going to be a dessert. I use real sugar, eggs, flour, and occasionally cookies and marshmallows. There you have it.
Irish Cream Poke Cake. I would make this cake in a second. The only change for me personally would be to sub a “from scratch” chocolate cake in lieu of the boxed one.
Shamrock Shakes. Every recipe from The Pioneer Woman that I’ve tried has been a success, so I would expect nothing less of these milkshakes. Plus, they don’t call for any food coloring which was something tricky to find in this genre of dessert. This is a great family-friendly option that the kids can help create.
Any go-to meals that you prepare for St. Patrick’s Day??
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