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Cooking a St. Patrick's Day feast at home? These recipes can help

Make yourself a feast this St. Patrick's Day.

An Irish soda bread is sitting on a cutting board covered with Irish St-Patricks-Day-themed decorations Credit: Getty Images / rojoimages

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In any year, folks in our neck of the woods would be busy attending social functions throughout this week of St. Patrick’s Day—going to a Dropkick Murphys concert, watching the Southie parade in Boston, or throwing a big family gathering on the day of. Though this year things may look different, our spirits are still high.

To make up for the gatherings that aren’t happening this year, we decided to double down on delicious traditional Irish food. We included the mainstays like corned beef and cabbage, as well as not-so-traditional choices like Irish stew and desserts. But who’s there to judge if you aren’t serving a group of guests?

Regardless of your choice of cooking vessel—be it be a cast iron pan, a slow cooker, or an Instant Pot, these recipes are approachable for home cooks of all levels.

Irish Soda Bread

A loaf of Irish soda bread is chilling on a cooling rack.
Credit: Getty Images / vm2002

Soda bread is easy to make, even for beginner bakers.

Let’s start with Irish Soda bread, a sweet-and-savory bread that tastes like a mix between scones and bread. This quick bread is incredibly easy to make using your cast iron skillet. In case you're in the market for one, check out our favorites we've tested.

Because the bread is leavened using baking soda, it doesn’t require any kneading or resting for the dough to rise. The lactic acid in the buttermilk reacts with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda to create carbon dioxide and make the bread rise. It’s a super basic chemical reaction, though you don't need to understand the science to make a great loaf.

The classic recipe calls for flour, salt, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes raisins or caraway seeds (my mother-in-law uses currants in place of raisins). For the best soda bread, mix the dough as little as possible and use high quality butter such as Kerrygold Pure Irish butter.

Alternatively, you can order your loaf from Miller’s Bakery in Pennsylvania.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

A pot of corned beef and cabbage cooked in a Dutch oven.
Credit: Getty Images / PoppyB

Remember to add the cabbages one hour before dinner time to make sure the texture is perfect.

Corned beef with cabbage is the traditional centerpiece to any Irish-American St. Patrick’s Day celebration. And if you’re looking around for the corn, you can stop because "corned" refers to the large "corns" of salt that this dish was traditionally prepared with, not the yellow kernels you pop for movie night.

Cooking corned beef in a cast iron Dutch oven is definitely one of the preferred methods. A low-temperature oven combined with cast iron cookware creates the perfect environment for the tough meat to slowly break down, resulting in incredibly juicy, fall-apart-tender slices of beef.

If low-and-slow isn’t realistic in your household, our former editor Cassidy Olsen also has a killer corned beef recipe that’s cooked in an Instant Pot in less time.

Irish stew

A black pot of Irish stew containing mutton, carrots, potatoes, and spices.
Credit: Getty Images / sumnersgraphicsinc

This hearty stew can last a few days after cooking.

Irish stew may not appear on most people’s St. Patrick's Day menu, but it’s surely a traditional Irish dish that brings warmth and happiness, plus it's super simple to whip up in a slow cooker. Typically prepared with mutton, more modern variations with lamb or beef are becoming popular as well. And since we’re on the tail end of freezing winter months, now is the time to cook a hearty pot of stew before it gets too hot.

Potatoes Colcannon

A traditional Irish dish, potato colcannon.
Credit: Getty Images / from_my_point_of_view

This creamy potato dish is popular in Ireland.

This dish is all about simplicity. Potatoes colcannon can be made by mashing potatoes with cabbage or kale, the latter sautéed in bacon if you wish or simply simmered in garlic butter and milk. Once it’s mashed and seasoned to your liking, into the cast iron it goes to bake for 10 to 20 minutes, giving it a twice-baked potato flavor without much fuss. If you have leftovers, fire up the cast iron again the morning after to make deliciously crispy potato pancakes.

Irish lemon pudding

There are three jars of lemon pudding topped with lemon slices.
Credit: Getty Images / Gokcemim

Lemon pudding is a low-maintenance dessert.

Finally, let’s talk about desserts. Irish lemon pudding is easy to make. You can bake it in a springform cake pan or a pie dish. As it bakes, the batter separates into two layers. The top layer has the texture of a sponge cake while the bottom layer, on the other hand, is custard-like. The pudding can be topped with fresh whipped cream and served with berries.

It’s light and soft, which balances out the heaviness of corned beef. Pair with Irish coffee or a shamrock shake made at home.

Corned beef hash

Corned beef hash cooked in a stainless steel skillet.
Credit: Getty Images / bhofack2

Nothing beats a corned beef hash the next morning after St. Patrick's Day.

If you've got leftovers, break out the cast iron skillet for corned beef hash. The layer of food making contact with the pan will sear nicely, giving you crispy potatoes, while the food above it will continue to cook by the cast iron's radiant heat. Make small pockets in the hash and crack the eggs directly into them, cover the pan, then toss it in a 350° F oven to create creamy baked eggs.

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