Written by Shaina Olmanson.
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Tomorrow, in fact. I’ve been cooking up a few Irish-inspired meals for the family to celebrate with stews, corned beef and plenty of potatoes. You’ll find no green beer here, but a pint of Guinness may be consumed by the of-age participants.
With Chicago dyeing the river green, parades and people dressed as leprechauns, it’s hard not to get swept up in the magic of St. Patrick’s Day and embark on a treasure hunt for that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. It all begs the question: What is St. Patrick’s Day really?
Photos by Shaina
St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday in Ireland to honor the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, who served as a bishop in Ireland and sought to Christianize the pagans there. Did you know the reason the clover and the color green is worn and used in St. Patrick’s Day decor is because Saint Patrick would use it to explain the Holy Trinity?
Today, St. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated to show allegiance to Irish heritage more than for its religious significance. During the 1798 rebellion against British occupation, Irish rebels dressed in all green. It is under that same British control that Irish farmers were limited in land and needed to choose a crop that would give the most bang for their buck. Potatoes were then widely cultivated for their complete nutritional properties, which made them a staple in the Irish diet.
More Irish-Inspired Fare:
:: Corned Beef and Cabbage – thank the Irish-Americans for this classic.
:: Colcannon – mashed potatoes with kale, cabbage and cream.
:: Irish Soda Bread – dense brown bread made with whole wheat flour.
:: Leprechaun’s Rainbow Cookies – can you find the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow?
:: Beer Mug Cupcakes – no drinking required.
:: Shepherd’s Pie – mashed potatoes, beef and vegetables all in one.
:: Irish Brownie Bombs – Guinness brownies, Bailey’s cheesecake, Jameson clovers.
Recipe: Guinness Beef Stew
This Irish beef stew is deep and rich with flavor and made with the Irish stout, Guinness. Serve it over a bed of colcannon or with a wedge of Irish soda bread to sop it up. This type of meat and potatoes meal is one I could get used to.
- 3-5 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds stew beef like chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups beef stock or beef broth
- 12 ounces Guinness
- 2 prunes, minced
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups parsnips, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Salt the beef and dredge through the flour. Brown the beef chunks in the oil for 2-3 minutes, stirring to turn. Don’t overcrowd the pot, and remove from the pot into a separate bowl when finished. Add the remaining oil as necessary.
- Once the beef has been browned, add garlic to the oil and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until incorporated throughout.
- Add the beef back to the pot and pour in the beef stock and Guinness, then add in the prunes, caraway seeds and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for one hour.
- After one hour, remove the cover from the pot and add in the carrots and parsnips. Continue simmering, uncovered for 30-45 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Serve alongside boiled potatoes or over colcannon. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings.
What do you do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Have you baked up any Irish-themed goodies or done crafts with the kids?