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Dining In: Plenty of choices for St. Patrick's Day

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There are plenty of dishes to choose from if you decide to make your own Irish-themed meal this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, colcannon, Irish stew, and corned beef and cabbage are all favorites this time of year, and none are particularly difficult to make.

If you opt for corned beef, the butchers at Haring Brothers outside Doylestown will be happy to give directions, and they sell beef briskets that are already brined as well as those you can brine yourself.

Bangers and mash is simply mashed potatoes served with sausages, while colcannon is mashed potatoes with cabbage and bacon and Irish stew usually favors lamb instead of beef. Make the stew using Guinness in place of water and you will enjoy the flavor of Ireland’s favorite brew. The easiest of all is shepherd’s pie (see recipe below), a favorite comfort food any time of year.

If you prefer to dine out for your Irish-themed meal, the Green Parrot in Newtown is having an Irish festival today through Sunday (greenparrotrestaurant.com) and the Dubliner on The Delaware in New Hope always has Irish favorites and music on the menu. McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar in Bethlehem also is known or its Irish food.

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, those will do nicely for this recipe from delish.com:

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Potato mixture:
1½ pounds potatoes, peeled
Kosher salt
4 tablespoon melted butter
¼ cup milk
¼ cup sour cream
ground black pepper
Beef mixture:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1½ pounds ground beef
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley,
for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Make mashed potatoes: In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until totally soft, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth. Add melted butter, milk, and sour cream. Mash together until fully incorporated, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make beef mixture: In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and thyme and cook until fragrant and softened, 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, 5 minutes more. Drain fat.

Stir in frozen peas and corn and cook until warmed through, 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle meat with flour and stir to evenly distribute. Cook 1 minute more and add chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and let mixture thicken slightly, 5 minutes.

Top beef mixture with an even layer of mashed potatoes and bake until there is very little liquid visible and mashed potatoes are golden, about 20 minutes. Broil if desired.

Garnish with parsley before serving.

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