If you can’t get to Ireland for the annual four-day St. Patrick’s Day Festival, raise a glass of beer and celebrate at home with easy Irish dinner ideas from Foodland Ontario.
Local beef, fresh vegetables and apples from Ontario make these classics extra delicious.
Take Colcannon. Songs and poems have been written about this beloved Irish mash-up of potatoes and braised cabbage. Pat leftovers into patties and fry until crisp and golden in bacon fat (or not) for a weekend brunch.
Ireland’s patron saint would also approve of our silky Creamy Parsnip Soup, starring locally-grown roots simmered in light cream.
A spring dinner from Eire isn’t complete without a satisfying Slow-Cooker Irish Stew. Instead of a traditional three-legged pot, we’ve used a modern slow-cooker to coax the rich flavours from Ontario stewing beef, carrots and onions.
After dinner, try both a decadent dessert. The first is a light-as-air Sponge Cake with Caramelized Apples, topped with honey-glazed McIntosh apples.
Since the Irish love puddings, we created Warm Carrot Puddings with Irish Cream Sauce.Made in muffin cups, these moist individual puddings come with a sticky caramel sauce spiked with a wee dram of liqueur.
Here’s a traditional Irish potato-and-cabbage dish which is a St. Patrick’s Day favourite.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 to 25 minutes
- 1-1/2 lb (750 g) Ontario Russet Potatoes
- 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter
- 5 cups (1.25 L) coarsely chopped Ontario Green Cabbage
- 1 Ontario Shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) skim milk
- Pepper (optional)
Peel potatoes and cut into quarters; place in medium saucepan. Pour in just enough cold water to cover; add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt. Cover and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add cabbage and shallot; stir until well coated. Cover with tight-fitting lid; reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add milk; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mash potatoes; add cabbage mixture and remaining salt. Stir well. Season with pepper, if using.
Cream of Parsnip Soup
Velvety smooth, this decadent-tasting creamy soup is a great way to introduce your friends and family to the wonderful world of Ontario Parsnips.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: about 30 minutes
Serves: 6 (Makes 6 cups/1.5 L)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) each butter and vegetable oil
- 2 Ontario Onions, diced
- 1 lb (500 g) Ontario Parsnips, scrubbed and sliced into 1/2-inch (1 cm)thick coins
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried rosemary leaves
- 2 cups (500 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
- 2 cups (500 mL) 5% cream
- Salt and pepper
In large saucepan, melt butter with oil over medium heat; cook onions, stirring often for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened and golden brown. Add parsnips and rosemary; cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add broth and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until parsnips are very soft.
Add cream, stirring well. In a blender, purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return to heat if cooled down, or serve right away. (Can be made 1 day in advance and reheated over low heat.)
Slow-Cooker Irish Stew
Cooking Time: 4 to 5 hours
- 6 large Ontario Carrots, peeled
- 4 Ontario Onions, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp (5 mL) pepper
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme leaves
- 2 lb (1 kg) Ontario Stewing Beef, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
- 3 cups (750 mL) sodium-reduced beef broth
Chop carrots diagonally into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. Place carrots and onions in slow-cooker.In large bowl, whisk together flour, pepper and thyme; add meat and toss to coat.In large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; add half of the meat and brown. Add to slow-cooker. Repeat with remaining oil and meat. Sprinkle with any remaining flour.Add broth. Press meat into mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours or until meat is tender.
Sponge Cake with Caramelized Apple
Baking Time: 30 minutes
- 4 Ontario Eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) pure Ontario Apple Butter
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
- 4 medium Ontario McIntosh Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Ontario Liquid Honey
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) pure Ontario Apple Butter
Cake: In large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks on high speed for 2 minutes. Add 6 tbsp (90 mL) of the sugar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, beating until thick, creamy and pale yellow, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.In glass or metal bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites until foamy; beat in cream of tartar until frothy. Add remaining sugar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, beating until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in yolks. Gently fold in flour until no streaks remain. Spoon in apple butter and gently fold in. Spoon into 9-inch (23 cm) tube pan, smoothing top with back of spoon. Bake in centre of 325°F (160°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Turn pan upside down and let hang on legs attached to pan, or on a bottle, until completely cooled. Remove from pan.Honey-Glazed Apples: In large skillet on medium heat, melt butter. Cook apples, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in honey to coat apples; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until apples are slightly softened and glazed. (If you prefer softer apples cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer). Pour into heat-proof dish; cover and set aside for up to 4 hours.Cut cake into 8 equal slices. Spoon Honey-Glazed Apples over each slice. Top each with 1 tbsp (15 mL) Ontario Apple Butter.