St. Patrick's Day Fare

9 Recipes
Corned beef, cabbage and vegetables with a horseradish mustard cream sauce.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

9 Irish-inspired recipes to accompany your green beer


With March 17 approaching, it is time to pull out St. Patrick’s Day recipes. Not necessarily Irish recipes because many of the foods Americans — even Irish Americans — eat on St. Patrick’s Day are not particularly Irish or representative of Irish cuisine. For example, the mainstay of St. Patrick’s Day fare in America, corned beef and cabbage, is seldom eaten in Ireland. The dish became popular during the Irish influx to America when pork products were not affordable for most immigrants. They turned to the least expensive cut of meat, beef brisket, paired it with the least expensive vegetable, cabbage, and an American tradition was born.

Made from a tough cut of meat, cured brisket of beef becomes tender corned beef after it is cooked for several hours. It can be boiled New England style and is also delicious and flavorful when steamed. A next-day corned beef sandwich is inevitable, however, corned beef in bourbon-brown sugar sauce applies some Southern-American style to those leftovers. Cooked similarly to corned beef and cabbage but made with fresh rather than cured meat, Irish stew is also an option. Traditionally (i.e., in Ireland) made with lamb, this version works just as well with beef tri-tip and may be easier on your budget.

Neither corned beef nor Irish stew will feed your vegetarian diners, but root vegetable shepherd’s pie will. Made with brioche in addition to the diced vegetables and squash purée, this variant of the ground-meat-smothered-with-mashed-potatoes casserole is somewhat like a savory bread pudding.

Irish soda bread is decidedly eaten in both Ireland and the US, but beer soda bread and lemon-lime blueberry soda bread, while still technically soda bread, are purely American creations.


Holiday or not, no meal is complete without dessert and Gilliland’s Irish bread pudding with caramel-whiskey sauce suits the occasion. What ostensibly makes this version Irish is the Irish whiskey used to soak the raisins and make the sauce.

Whether authentically Irish or allegedly so, these dishes will surely satisfy a yen for the foods of St. Patrick’s Day and complement the hallmark beverage of the day: Irish beer (green or otherwise).

New England corned beef, cabbage and vegetables

Corned beef and cabbage is a popular dish year-round, not just on St. Patrick's Day. Although it takes a while for the corned beef to cook, it's always sensational.
Time3 hours 55 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Steamed corned beef and cabbage

We put a corned beef brisket in a steamer basket lined with cabbage leaves. We did not use any seasonings. It came out full of flavor.
Time15 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Corned beef in Bourbon-brown sugar sauce

This Southern-flavored sauce--a blend of brown sugar, spices and Bourbon--gives new life to leftover corned beef and cabbage.
Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Irish stew

Marion Cunningham's simple Irish stew will cheer you. Serve it with corn bread and finish the supper with warm applesauce sweetened with brown sugar and drizzled with cream.
Time2 hours 20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Root vegetable shepherd's pie

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen's root vegetable shepherd's pie with butternut squash puree is a vegetarian take on the classic meat-and-mashed-potatoes shepard's pie.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Classic buttermilk Irish soda bread

Crusty, rustic and hearty, most authentic Irish soda breads are whole wheat, but a combination of half white and half whole wheat or white whole wheat also makes for a good loaf.
Time1 hour 45 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Beer soda bread

This take on Irish soda bread used beer instead of buttermilk. A robust stout, beer or ale will lend a hearty jolt, just don't use green beer.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Lemon-lime blueberry soda bread

Culinary creativity notwithstanding, this is still quite identifiably soda bread -- a rounded, spare quick bread, neither too sweet nor too savory, scored with a distinct cross mark.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 12 to 16

Gilliland's Irish bread pudding with caramel-whiskey sauce

Rich, creamy bread pudding is spiked with Irish whiskey and then doused in a caramel-whiskey sauce.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 6