Irish food dishes are basically simple. It consists of local ingredients as it was thousands of years ago. The classic dishes of rural Ireland remain the country’s mainstay. Boxty and bannocks, colcannon and champ are just a few of the traditional dishes that contribute to the rich variety of this country’s cuisine.
Menu for St Patrick’s Day is here: https://hoohla.cooking/menu-for-st-patricks-day-classic-recipes
Much of the Irish traditional food is less well known. Very famous dishes are Irish cream and butter and, of course, Ireland’s famous stout and whiskey.
These recipes, together with such delights as drisheen and dankey stew are fundamentals of the Irish country kitchen.
In early times in Ireland, most grains were ground in water-driven mills. In the home, corn and other grains would be ground with a quern – hand-operated millstone.
All kinds of ﬂour are used in the baking of Irish breads. For some Irish bread use, wheatmeal ﬂour with about ten percent of the bran removed.
Ordinary white ﬂour is made from just the starch and gluten of the grain, with the bran and wheat germ removed. Malted wheat ﬂour has had malted wheat added to it to improve its ﬂavour and texture, and is usually used in bread-making.
Traditionally, bread, muffins, biscuits, and cakes, known locally as kets, were cooked on a griddle over the open ﬁre. Bread cooked this way tends to keep longer than those baked in an oven.
Herb bread and rolls are lending a traditional ﬂavour of the countryside. These are made by adding ﬁnely chopped fresh herbs and olive oil to the dough. Cheese and onion, and walnut with olive oil breads are also becoming popular in Irish cuisine.
- CLASSIC BOXTY
- FARMHOUSE FARLS
- TRADITIONAL SODA BREAD
- WHOLESOME WHEATEN BANNOCK
- COUNTRY HERB SCONES
Soups and Stews – Irish Food Dishes
In Ireland, the traditional main meal of the day was dispensed from the soup or stew pot which simmered over the stove during the day.
There was no real distinction between a soup and a stew. It was a hot, hearty and robust dish with adding whatever ingredients were available at the time. Most farmers kept cows and made their own butter and cream, these were also common ingredients of soups and stews.
The most famous Irish stew is Dankey stew. ‘Dankey’ means slightly drunk and one of the main ingredients of this stew is a hefty measure of Irish stout.
- TRADITIONAL POTATO SOUP
- BLUE CHEESE SOUP
- IRISH NETTLE SOUP
- CELTIC CARROT SOUP
- DANKEY STEW
- TRADITIONAL IRISH STEW
- DUBLIN CODDLE
Traditional Irish Seafood
There is evidence from the ancient kitchen in Cork, of a thriving trade in oysters going back to the Stone Age. Mussels have been collected for food since ancient times.
Ireland’s coastal waters provide ideal conditions in which clams thrive. Around ten types of native clams are to be found in the seas around Ireland. Ireland is famous for its oysters.
It is traditional to eat Irish oysters raw with a drop of lemon juice and a thick slice of soda bread, all washed down with a favorite Irish stout, they can be grilled, steamed or sauteed. Freshly smoked or canned smoked oysters are also on sale in some ﬁshmongers.
Dublin Bay prawns are also known as the Norway lobster. The reddish-orange or pink prawn has a body around 20 cm (8 inches) in length, with long, narrow, striped claws.
Lobsters are also a delicacy in Irish ﬁsh markets and are sold live and fresh, resplendent in their blue-black shells.
The shrimp found in the waters around Ireland are brown shrimp and are generally less than half the size of the smallest prawns.
Edible seaweed in Ireland has red-tinged color and turns it to a greenish color when cooked.
It is often used as a vegetable or can be added fresh to salads. All seaweeds contain gelatinous agar-agar, a thickening agent used as a substitute for gelatine by vegetarians. Some seaweeds are used in Irish cooking for thickening ﬁsh stews and soups.
- MOLLY’S ONION MUSSELS
- MACHA’S MUSSELS
- BUTTERED GIGAS OYSTERS
- PRAWNS IN COCKTAIL SAUCE
- DUBLIN LAWYER
Fish recipes in an Irish cuisine are few and far between. Irish have preferred meat and vegetable dishes to ﬁsh meals.
But Ireland does have a long tradition of fishing. In Ireland, popular are cod, flounder, plaice, brill, crudan, haddock, while wrasse, conger eel, ling goes, mackerel. All these fish you can find on Irish menus either baked, fried, grilled, poached or steamed. Irish food dishes with fish not popular but testy.
Salted and smoked ﬁsh also popular in Ireland. These are the main herrings, cadan, cod, salmon and bradan.
Salmon has always been highly regarded in Irish cuisine and smoked salmon is a particular specialty use the traditional peat or oak smoking methods.
- IRISH TROSC BAKE
- RONNACH IN GOOSEBERRY SAUCE
Potatoes and Vegetables
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the potato became the staple diet in Ireland, as under British rule the wealth of Irish dairy produce and cereals were reserved for export to England. Potatoes were easy to grow in Ireland’s rich soil. In the early days, potatoes were cooked in a special, usually three-legged, iron pot over a turf ﬁre, and they were then drained in a wicker basket. Then it was used in Irish food dishes.
The versatility of the potato gave rise to a wealth of imaginative ways of cooking with potatoes. With protein, vitamins, minerals and ﬁbre, little fat or salt and plenty of easily assimilated starch, they are among the most nutritious foods.
- LEEK AND POTATO CASSEROLE
- IRISH CHAMP
- IRISH POTATO CAKES
- FARMER’S POTATOES
- RED CABBAGE BAKE
Meat and Poultry Recipes
Pork and ham ﬁgure substantially in Irish cookery. In olden times most homesteaders had at least one pig.
In Ireland, there is an old history of street food. Spoileens was the term used for commercial travel kitchens. These were in the form of tents, in which two ﬁres heated large pots of spoileen, a type of boiled mutton stew sold with bread.
These spoileen tents would be found in fairgrounds and at any public celebrations, and were very popular across Ireland during the mid-nineteenth century.
Mutton is the meat of a sheep over 18 months old; animals younger than that yield lamb. Mutton is very popular in Irish recipes and the local mutton is ﬁrm textured and close-grained.
Veal comes from two- to three-month-old calves which have been especially milk-fed. Probably the ﬁnest veal in Ireland comes from County Kerry, which is almost the only place you will ﬁnd the native Kerry cattle.
The Irish are avid smokers of food and use it in Irish food dishes. In many country cottages, smoked ham or two hangs from the beams. Smoke-houses exist all over Ireland.
The Irish smoke anything: from beef and pork to pheasant and chicken, and from salmon, haddock, and eel to trout, cod, and herring. Wery popular is smoked ham in the traditional way.
Drisheen is the name for dark blood sausage. Drisheen is made by combining pigs’ blood with ﬁnely minced pork fat trimmings, onions and herbs. Oatmeal or breadcrumbs are often added, and usually some cream and herbs such as mace or tansy. A shallow, wide pan is used in which to steam-bake the sausage in an oven.
- TRADITIONAL ULSTER FRY
- GAMMON WITH WHISKEY SAUCE
- SPICY ROAST PORK
- HONEY-TRUSSED CHICKEN
- POT ROAST PHEASANT
Ireland’s brewing industry has a long history going back to medieval times and local ale fast became the island’s national drink. By the mid-1660s Dublin was the center of the Irish ale business.
The addition of roasted barley to the ale gave the drink a distinctive dark color and a slightly malty taste.
The most famous beer brand in Ireland is Guinness. It was found in Dublin in 1759 by a 34-year-old Irishman named Arthur Guinness. He brewing a traditional Dublin ale, and later developing a strong porter which he called Extra Stout Porter, later shortened to stout, or Guinness stout.
By the early part of the nineteenth century, the Guinness brewery was producing 66,000 barrels of stout a year. By 1833 Guinness had become the largest brewery in Ireland and in 1855, had become the largest brewery in the world.
Cider is one of the ﬁrst alcoholic beverages ever to be fermented. It is thought that the art of cider-making in Ireland originated with the advent of the Vikings, and the drink quickly became more popular than the local mead.
Irish whiskey has been distilled from a base of barley and malted barley in Ireland for centuries, and records of whiskey distilling date back to the sixth century.
The whiskey is made with barley dried on a solid ﬂoor over ﬁres, which prevents the smoke from permeating the barley. Most Irish whiskey is pot stilled three times and matured for around ﬁve years before reaching the market.
Drinking toasts is a common Irish custom, and in the early days, the peasant’s drinking vessel was a wooden mug or madder. However, in the grand country houses, some drinking glasses were long and thin without a base, so the drinker would have to drink the entire contents before replacing it on the table.
- ORCHARD APPLES IN WHISKEY SAUC
- YALLER SPOTTED DOG
- WHISKEY CHOCOLATE CAKE
- IRISH COFFEE