Monday, March 17, 2014

Our Favorite St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Irish pork chops recipe
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here are some of our favorite St. Patrick's Day recipes. Some are Irish and others are Irish-inspired, but they're all appropriate for today and anytime you want a little taste of the Emerald Isle.

Probably our favorite dinner for celebrating St. Patrick's Day is Grilled Irish Pork Chops with Creamy Guinness Mushrooms, pictured on the left along with Roasted Leeks and Carrots (both are popular vegetables in Ireland). Although this is not a low-fat dinner, it is most definitely low in carbohydrates and also paleo-friendly if dairy and beer as an ingredient are part of your paleo lifestyle. If the weather isn't right for grilling the pork chops outdoors, you can cook them in your kitchen on a George Foreman grill or other indoor grill. They won't have that smoky flavor achievable on a charcoal grill, but they'll still be succulent and mouthwatering.

Irish stew
If you're in the mood for a hearty, warming "comfort food" Irish recipe, you can't go wrong with Irish Stew. My Crockpot Irish Stew recipe is quite easy and requires very little effort. Although my version uses both beef and lamb, you can use all of one type of meat if you prefer. Likewise, if you don't care for one of the root vegetables called for in the recipe, e.g., rutabagas, just substitute a root vegetable you do like, e.g., potatoes. One can never have too many potatoes in Irish stew, according to some cooks.

If you're fond of hot & spicy foods and find ordinary Irish stew a little bland for your tastes, try my Spicy Irish Stew recipe -- sure, Ireland isn't known for hot sauce, but that doesn't mean you can't add some spicy, peppery heat to your stew. If you decide to do that, try one of our Irish-themed hot sauces, such as Boyle's Irish Scream and the original Irish Scream Hot Sauce, both of which are made with a wee splash of real Irish whiskey and feature leprechauns on the label..

Irish hot sauce
Speaking of Irish-themed hot sauce, my spicy turnips with bacon are sure to please even hard-core turnip-haters, because bacon makes everything better. If you're worried about your family refusing to even try them, just don't tell anyone you're serving turnips and call them "country potatoes" instead, like Greg's mom used to do in order to get the kids to eat them, which they happily did without realizing they were eating turnips. Personally, I think the ugly-sounding name "turnip" gives that lowly root veggie a bad rap and discourages an open mind (or palate). For the mildest, most family-friendly and generally more appealing flavor, select small, young turnips. It's the larger, older ones that are more likely to taste bitter or be tough and fibrous. Also, make sure your turnips feel heavy and solid, and avoid any with soft, wrinkly spots (that means they're old and past their prime). Go ahead and load them up with plenty of bacon, too, if you think that will make your family more willing to give turnips a chance.

cheddar onion soda bread
Irish Soda Bread is a no-brainer on St. Patrick's Day. It's a simple bread to make, particularly because it doesn't require yeast and therefore is far more forgiving and less temperamental than making a yeast bread. If you want to try something more interesting and flavorful than the traditional Irish soda bread recipe I recommend you try my Cheesy Onion Soda Bread, shown on the right. This variation on the traditional recipe uses ingredients common in Irish cuisine including oats, onions, and cheddar cheese (Ireland makes some wonderful cheddar style cheeses).

If you serve corned beef today and have some left over, this zesty recipe for corned beef hash & eggs is a hearty way to begin the next day. I can't promise that it'll cure a hangover, but it's worth a shot and at least it will stick to your bones until lunchtime.

braised cabbage with bacon
And don't forget the cabbage, one of Ireland's most-consumed vegetables: Among your options are Roasted Cabbage with Parsnips & Apples, which is delightfully mellow & naturally sweet due to the roasting process; Braised Cabbage with Onions & Peppers, which isn't so much Irish as it is deliciously savory and an excellent side dish for all sorts of red meat; and Braised Cabbage with Bacon, shown on the left, which certainly can be considered Irish because bacon and cabbage are eaten with gusto in Ireland.

What are YOU eating on St. Patrick's Day? Please tell us in a comment below, and you're welcome to share any recipes, too!

Zestfully yours,


  1. We were planning on corned beef and cabbage, but Roberta's a bit poorly today, so it's over to me, and spaghetti bolognaise. :{ (?)

    1. So sorry to hear Roberta isn't well today - please let her know she's in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope tomorrow is a better day for both of you. And for the record, I knew many Irish-Italians when I lived in the Bronx, so spaghetti bolognaise is perfectly fine in my book on St. Patrick's Day.
      All the best to you both,