Comforting, flavourful and easy to make, these traditional Irish recipes will help you celebrate St Patrick’s day in authentic Irish style. Be inspired by the festivities at Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle, and create your own Gaelic feast at home with these classic dishes. This hearty Irish stew offers a delicious way to keep warm in the face of the unpredictable Irish weather, whilst Colcannon mashed potatoes are a real crowd pleaser. Round off your meal with the wickedly good Chocolate Guinness Cake, which utilises Ireland’s most famous export to very tasty effect.
Recipe courtesy of Donal Skehan
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 kg lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm chunks
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre beef or lamb stock
900g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
Good knob of butter
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Slices of white bread, to serve
Preheat the oven to 160°C /325°F/Gas Mark 3.
Place a large, flameproof casserole pot over a high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and brown the lamb pieces in two batches. Remove and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium–high, add another tablespoon of oil and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 4–6 minutes or until the onions have softened.
Return the meat to the pot, along with the bay leaf and stock, season with sea salt and ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and push the slices of potato down into and across the top of the stew. Dot with a little butter and give a final seasoning of sea salt and ground black pepper. Cover and place in the oven to cook for about 1½ hours or until the meat is tender, then remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes until the potatoes have coloured.
You can serve the stew straight away or leave it covered overnight in the fridge for the flavours to develop. Serve in deep bowls with slices of white bread to soak up the liquid.
Recipe courtesy of Delia
Use a potato peeler to pare off the skins as thinly as possible and then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks, not too small. If they are large, quarter them and if they are small, halve them. Put the potato chunks in a large saucepan, then pour boiling water over them. Add 1 dessertspoon of salt, put on a lid and simmer gently until they are absolutely tender – they should take approximately 25 minutes (the way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part; the potato should not be hard in the centre. And you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps!)
Meanwhile, melt 25g butter in a large frying pan and sauté the cabbage for about 3 minutes, keeping it on the move until it's tender and slightly golden at the edges. Then add the chopped spring onions and continue to cook for another minute.
Next, drain the potatoes, return them to the pan, cover with a clean tea-cloth and leave them aside for 2 minutes to allow the cloth to absorb the excess steam. Now, using an electric hand whisk, add the nutmeg, cream and remaining butter. Whisk the potatoes to a light fluffy mass before tasting and seasoning.
Finally, stir in the contents of the frying pan and serve with or without extra melted butter.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Recipe courtesy of Nigella
Makes approx. 12 slices
For the cake
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
142ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the topping
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125 millilitres double cream (or whipping cream)
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm/9-inch springform tin.
Pour the Guinness into a large, wide saucepan and add the butter (in spoons or slices) and heat until the butter's melted, at which point you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
When the cake is cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitzing to remove lumps before adding the cream cheese.
Add the cream and beat again until it’s a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.