You don’t need the luck of the Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. As far as spring goes, St. Patrick’s Day—named for the patron saint of Ireland—and Easter are the “it” holidays and only one of them involves wearing green.
Known in the U.S. for shamrocks, leprechauns, corned beef, and green beer, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Irish culture on March 17. While parades and parties are fun, you can make a traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast at home for your family and friends. While corned beef and cabbage may be the first Irish meal to come to mind, there are many other festive options (including one for vegetarians).
Here are some recipes from IGA stores around the country.
There are as many variations of colcannon as there are Irish cooks, but any way you make this dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage is sure to be delicious! Leave out the cabbage, and you have a variation called scamp.
Egolf’s IGA in Churubusco, Indiana shares this recipe on their website.
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 bunches scallions (14-16), trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 small green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ cup milk or half-and-half
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- In a sauce pan, combine the potatoes with cold water to cover. Top with the scallions and cabbage.
- Simmer, covered, about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender; drain well.
- Return the potato mixture to the sauce pan. Cook over low heat, mashing with a potato masher until coarse.
- Add the milk and butter and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Beer and hearty stew pair well together, and more so when the beer is in the stew! This recipe uses the Irish staple Guinness, but any stout will work.
Here’s a recipe that will be featured in-store at Sponey’s IGA in Beverly, Ohio.
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 lbs boneless top sirloin steak, cut into 2 -inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
- 2 ½ cups Guinness stout
- 3 cups carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- Fresh parsley sprigs
- Place flour in a plastic zip-lock bag. Add salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne. Add beef to the flour mixture and toss to coat each piece.
- Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add meat and brown on all sides. Lower the heat, add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
- Pour Guinness over meat; add the carrots and thyme. Stir, taste, and add a little more salt if necessary.
- Cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Add a fresh parsley sprig to each bowl of stew along with a scoop of green mashed potatoes*. Stew may also be served with plain boiled potatoes or colcannon.
*To make green mashed potatoes, stir a few drops of green food coloring to mashed potatoes just before serving.
Soda bread is easy to make and pairs well with stews, or you can slice it for sandwiches! This recipe comes courtesy of the U.K.’s Flour Advisory Bureau. It can be found, along with a number of other St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipes, on the Wells Super Food Market IGA in Wells, Maine website.
- 1 lb (4 cups) all-purpose flour (or a mixture of white and whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk (approximately)
* Note: The baking soda and cream of tartar can be replaced by 4 teaspoons of baking powder. If soured milk or buttermilk is used instead of fresh milk, reduce the cream of tartar to 2 teaspoons.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar into a bowl. Rub in the butter and add enough milk to make a soft dough.
- Turn the mixture onto a floured board and knead lightly for 1 minute. Shape into a round and place on a greased baking sheet. Mark with a cross, cutting almost to the base of the dough.
- Bake at 425°F for 40-50 minutes until well risen, lightly browned, and firm underneath.
Nitrate-free corned beef
Across New England, making corned beef without the nitrates is fairly common. The result is a better-for-you product (as some people have trouble tolerating nitrates) and the meat ends up gray instead of the traditional red color.
Keeping in line with that local tradition, Wells Super Foods Market IGA makes its own “gray corned beef.” In addition to having it available for sale about a week before the holiday, the store also does a St. Patrick’s Day meal on the holiday in the deli. For only $4.99, shoppers can pick up a prepared meal of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots.
At Sponey’s IGA, the store makes certain to have plenty of Irish-themed beer in stock, especially Ohio beers such as Great Lakes' Conway's Irish Ale and North High's Road Irish Red.
Say it with flowers
With spring just around the corner, treat yourself to a spring bouquet of flowers and start a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition. At Gary and Leo’s IGA in Havre, Montana, an in-house florist makes springtime arrangements perfect for bringing a bit of color into the start of the new season.
No matter how you celebrate it, Éire go Brách!
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