A DIY St. Patrick’s feast

Beyond beer, the day’s food merits attention, too.You can make these dishes at home.

Whether you hit the pubs or stay home this St. Patrick’s Day, you can enjoy a genuine Irish feast.

Many local pubs have special events cooked up, starting even before sunrise Sunday, March 17. Dayton’s Dublin Pub will open at 5:30 a.m. Beef O’Brady’s in Beavercreek will have a “green eggs & ham” breakfast. The Brazenhead Irish Pub in Mason will do “kegs & eggs.” O’Conner’s Irish Pub in Springfield won’t even wait for St. Paddy’s to get here; they’ll start St. Patrick’s Eve with specials on Irish beers and stew.

St. Patrick’s Day is usually about the beer and maybe Irish music and dancing. What doesn’t always get the attention it deserves is the food.

Despite similarities with other British food, Irish food is a specific cuisine in its own right. Like English food, Irish is not strongly seasoned, and it relies heavily on meat.

And potatoes. Don’t forget those.

“I went to Ireland a long time ago,” said Todd Koogler, general manager of Beef O’Brady’s in Beavercreek, “and it seemed like everywhere I went, I ate potatoes.”

Some dishes like, shepherd’s pie, span all four British countries. But other dishes are considered specifically Irish, including Irish stew made with lamb (beef is often substituted in the U.S.), corned beef and cabbage, and soda bread.

So what’s on the menu at the local pubs?

O’Conner’s will serve a buffet of Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes. Beef O’Brady’s will feature corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie. Dublin Pub will do corned beef and cabbage with mashed redskin potatoes, fish and chips, Irish stew, shepherd’s pie and Reuben sandwiches, plus an outdoor grill of burgers and hot dogs for die-hard Americans. The Brazenhead will have shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, and bangers and mash (sausages with mashed potatoes).

But here’s the good news: If you don’t want to hit the bar scene that day, you can still whip up an Irish meal at home, using our recipes below.

SHEPHERD’S PIE FILLING

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground beef tenderloin

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

¼ cup frozen green peas

¼ teaspoon dried dill

1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1 cup water

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/8 cup cold water

1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mashed potatoes, for serving

In a large, shallow pot, heat olive oil. Add ground tenderloin and brown. Drain off fat. Add garlic, carrots, onions and peas to pot. Turn heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Add dill, thyme, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; stir well and cook 2 minutes.

In a separate pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil and add the beef bouillon granules. Stir to dissolve. Add mixture to large pot.

Add Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

In a small cup, dissolve cornstarch in 1/8 cup cold water. Turn stew pot to high heat and add cornstarch mixture to the pot. Bring to a boil and maintain boil 2 minutes.

When ready to serve, place shepherd’s pie filling in bowl and top with mashed potatoes. Serves 4 to 6.

— SOURCE: Bruce Worth, The Brazenhead Irish Pub

CORNED BEEF WITH CABBAGE

Chef Anthony Balsamo of Dublin Pub said his version of corned beef and cabbage includes olive oil, butter, chicken stock and garlic, and he serves it alongside smashed redskin potatoes. He didn’t reveal his house recipe, but here’s a corned beef and cabbage recipe from the author of an Irish cookbook.

4 pounds corned brisket of beef

3 large carrots, cut into large chunks

6 to 8 small onions

1 teaspoon dry English mustard

large spring fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together

1 head cabbage

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place brisket in a saucepan with carrots, onions, mustard and herbs. Cover with cold water and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut into quarters and add to pot. Cook for 1 to 2 hours or until meat and vegetables are soft and tender.

Serve corned beef in slices, surrounded by vegetables and cooking liquid, Serve with potatoes and freshly made mustard.

— SOURCE: Darina Allen, “Irish Traditional Cooking,” taken from epicurious.com

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