A Guinness stew, a Dublin coddle and a rich Irish-coffee dessert — rediscover quality Irish ingredients with this epic, fuss-free feast
There may be no parades this year, but that doesn’t mean St Patrick’s Day should pass without our traditional fare. One thing we can really enjoy on this strange version of our most famous day is the food. Irish stew, barmbrack and soda bread are all proof of our rich culinary heritage that continues to stand the test of time, particularly during a year when we need to rely on the comfort of familiarity more than ever. As it’s our first year at home for the occasion since moving from LA, I’m looking forward to showing our little Californian-born boys what a real Irish Paddy’s Day tastes like. The highlight of moving home has been rediscovering the quality of Irish ingredients.
On the menu this year, I’m sticking to the classics: a rich beef stew that gets its depth of flavour courtesy of the black stuff. It’s a mouth-watering stew with enough in it to serve straight to the table with some crusty bread to mop up the juices — or if you want to go old school, some sliced pan. Shoulder of beef works a treat and benefits well from the slow and low cook, allowing for any fat to turn the meat meltingly tender. I add baby potatoes to create a one-pot supper, but you could serve it with steamed carrots tossed in butter and parsley, or sautéed savoy cabbage.
You could also try the Dublin coddle. My version is not traditional, but perhaps more visually appealing with golden-brown sausages cooked in a broth with rashers, and for some extra sustenance, pearl barley — another one-pot winner that’s an ideal option to bring straight to the table with minimal fuss.
To finish up, a sweet take on that after-dinner classic: an Irish coffee. Here, its transformed into a light and airy chocolate mousse, infused with espresso and topped with a boozy whiskey cream — a truly decadent dessert. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig dhuit!
Time: 60 mins Serves: 4
Traditional Irish food is all about comfort and nothing represents this more than Dublin coddle. Purists will have to excuse the frying of the sausages, but I’m sorry, I can’t bear a nude sausage in my coddle. Do seek the best butcher’s sausages and streaky bacon you can get your hands on, for a simple dish like this one, it makes all the difference.
1 large onion, chopped
6 slices of thick, streaky bacon rashers, roughly chopped
(800g) 2-3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in 1cm slices
8 butcher’s sausages
500ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
100g pearl barley
A good handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
A generous knob of butter
Crusty bread, to serve
Large frying pan, casserole dish
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.
2. Place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a drop of oil. Fry the bacon and sausages until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
3. Place the onions across the base of a casserole dish, layer up with the bay leaf, bacon and sausages, pearl barley and finish with a layer of potatoes. Pour over the stock and place the pot, covered, over a high heat and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and dot the potatoes with butter. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden brown.
5. Serve generous ladlefuls of the stew in deep bowls with parsley and crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Time: 2 hours Serves: 6
This is a perfect dish for a fresh spring day. You can serve this as a stew or take it one step further and use it as the filling for an impressive pie. Do make sure the meat is tender before serving — different cuts of meat will require longer cooking times.
30g plain flour
1kg shoulder of beef, cut into 3cm chunks
1–2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
150ml beef stock
400g baby new potatoes
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve
Casserole with lid, slotted spoon
1. Tip the flour onto a plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef pieces in the flour and then shake off any excess.
2. Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium-high heat. Brown the meat in 2 batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
3. Add another drop of oil if you need it and then add the onion, carrots and celery. Fry for 5 minutes before returning the beef pieces to the casserole along with their juices.
4. Pour in the stock, Guinness, potatoes and bay leaf, and season to taste. Reduce the heat and gently simmer, partially covered with a lid, for 1½ hours, or until the liquid has reduced and the beef is meltingly tender. Serve with crusty bread.
Time: 20 mins (plus chill time) Serves: 4
Certainly not a traditional dessert but one that ticks many boxes for St Patrick’s Day, and a fine excuse to open that good bottle of whiskey you’ve been saving. Prepare in advance and you have a simple dessert to savour the day.
For the chocolate mousse
200g dark chocolate
4 large free-range eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
175ml double cream
1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp espresso powder
A pinch of sea salt
For the whiskey cream
3 tbsp whiskey
3 tbsp icing sugar
Small heatproof bowl, small saucepan, 3 mixing bowls, whisk, 4 serving glasses
1. Make chocolate shavings using a sharp knife or veg peeler (approx 25g — enough to garnish the four glasses). Place on a plate and leave in the fridge. Roughly chop the remaining chocolate and transfer to a bowl, set over a small pot of barely simmering water until melted.
2. Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and whisk together with the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder and a pinch of salt until the sugar has dissolved. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they hold light peaks. In another bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
3. Add the whipped cream to the egg-yolk mixture and fold through, followed by the melted chocolate, mixing until combined. Lightly fold through the egg whites until just mixed through. Then divide this, the mousse batter, between 4 serving glasses. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set for 1 hour.
4. For the whiskey cream, whisk the cream into soft peaks. Dissolve the icing sugar with the whiskey in a bowl and add to the cream, folding to combine. Cover and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
5. Serve each individual mousse with a generous dollop of whiskey cream and garnish with chocolate shavings and a dusting of cocoa powder.