Celebrating My Irish Heritage Through Food (Cheesy Irish Soda Scones)

Cheesy Irish Soda Scones

Written by Jan of Family Bites.

In all the years I worked in catering, coordinating menus and planning parties, I was never once asked to create an Irish-inspired fête. There were the Scottish celebrations in honor of Robbie Burns Day, the English tea parties that commemorated the marriage of Prince William and Kate, and the almost weekly Italian/French/Mexican-inspired menus designed for lively weekend gatherings. Sadly, the Irish never got their “fare” share from our tiny commercial kitchen.

I’m on a mission to change that this March, and have grand plans to host an Irish-themed Sunday dinner later in the month. My husband’s grandparents were born in Ireland, as were my own great-grandparents, and I’ve been increasingly interested in learning more about the booming food culture of the Emerald Isle, specifically the regions that were home to our ancestors.

While we all know that potatoes are a staple in the Irish kitchen, I’m not sure it’s common knowledge that the country exports their prized dairy all over the world. The top-quality grass-fed milk produced by thousands of the nations farmers is pure liquid gold, and artisans are bringing the ancient methods of cheese and yogurt making to modern day Ireland.

Or how about the fact that the Connemara fields, in the Connacht region of the county, raise some of the most sought-after lamb in all of Europe? Nestled close to the waters of the Atlantic, the ocean spray enhances the growth of the wild grasses the lambs eat, infusing their meat with a naturally salty flavour.

Those food facts alone make the Irish worth celebrating, don’t you think?

Cheesy Irish Soda Scones 2

St. Patrick’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to explore my own personal heritage, but if your family is native to another land that doesn’t have a day of acknowledgment marked on the calendar consider creating your one of your own. Choose a date that’s significant to the history of where you come from, and host a dinner party complete with regional foods, specialty drinks, festive décor, themed music, and possibly even a dress code.

An Irish-themed dinner party

Here’s a sneak peak at what my Irish-themed dinner party is going to look like, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to celebrate your own heritage through a feast of food. This party menu is less about green food, and more about preparing the dishes you’d likely find if you went to Ireland and were lucky enough to be invited to someone’s home for dinner, plus something fun for the kids, of course.

The Menu:

The Music:

  • No party is complete without a few good tunes spinning in the background. Feel free to check out my playlist featuring songs about, and bands from, Ireland.

The Décor:

  • I’m staying away from the leprechauns and rainbows this year and going with a simple gold and green colour scheme for my table.

Cheesy Irish Soda Scones
4.7 from 3 reviews
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Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Irish
Author:
Serves/Yield: 6
These scones are best served warm on the day they are made. Feel free to omit the cheese and herbs and replace them with 1/3 chopped chocolate for a sweeter soda scone. Alternatively, leave out all flavour additions and serve the plain scones warm with butter and jam.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (or an equal mix of all-purpose and whole grain flours)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons dill weed
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cups aged cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl and whisk. Add the dill and stir. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk. Working quickly, use your hands or the end of a wooden spoon and mix until you have soft, moist dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape it into an 8” round disk. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal triangular sections.
  4. Set the scones on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle each with some of the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the centre of one of the scones comes out clean. Another way to test the doneness of the scone is to tap on the bottom of it, and if it sounds hollow then it’s baked through.

 

Tell me, where do your ancestors come from and do you like to celebrate your heritage with food?

About Jan

Jan Scott is a Canadian food writer, party planner, and mom of two active tween boys. She is the home cook and creative behind Family Bites, a blog inspired by the simple recipes and party ideas she’s put to the test on her family. Prior to making the transition to freelance writer, Jan spent five years as a party planner for a private catering company, but shifted to working from home in order to spend more time with her growing family.

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Comments

  1. My Irish grandma would be so happy if I made some of these!

  2. Not Irish, but these sound divine! I think I will be making them with my kids this weekend!

  3. These sound absolutely wonderful!

  4. These sound divine! I think I’m going to make them plain because I have some marmalade that would go awesome with them!
    My mother is and immigrant from Chile and my father’s heritage is German and Norweigan. I enjoy making foods from all facets of my heritage. If I’m throwing a football party, I’ll serve brats and sauerkraut (German), for Christmas Eve I’ll serve oyster stew (Norweigan), and it’s always the right time for Chilean Empanadas!

  5. These scones look delicious, and I have everything to make them for supper–I’ve got ham and bean soup (leftover, even better) warming, and was just thinking about a bread when the email popped up.
    I make foods that celebrate both my Scandinavian heritage and the places that I’ve lived. And, seeing the recipe that’s popping up below, the places that my spouse has lived, LOL!
    Thanks, Aimee and Jan!

  6. Oh my these scones look amazing!!! My mouth is watering!

  7. I’m of Irish descent and I didn’t know all those things about the food culture. I love it. You wrote about very beautifully and its way beyond just potatoes and soda cake. Thank-you.
    You’ve inspired me to hold my own dinner. =)

  8. What a wonderful blog about your Irish background and the amazinly differnet foods you will be making … hope I can do just one or two!! I can’t wait to share the blog with lots of friend who have some Irish in them or just love the Irish we know! Thanks sooo much for sharing such unusual fare.

  9. I am in LOVE with these! I love that they are cheesy and a change up from the traditional Irish Soda Bread. I can’t wait to try them!

  10. As someone who was born and raised in the west of Ireland, I appreciate this post and will be looking to repeat some of your recipes. Now, if I could just get my hands on some Irish smoked salmon..

  11. My heritage is Swedish, and I love to eat Swedish pancakes, tea ring, and cookies.
    While I’ve not made Irish soda bread before, this recipe tempts me to change that–soon.

  12. Oh, those scones all lathered in butter look fabulous. I used to have a neighbor who was Irish and he made the best Irish stew I’ve ever had. I’m kicking myself that I never thought to get the recipe from him.

  13. I remember my grandma making something just like this . . . so happy for a recipe! I love the idea of an Irish themed dinner party.

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  15. These look amazing!! I want one right away!

  16. Very yummy. Just bake those scones last night with my wife… we had a very fun date!
    Thank you!

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