St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Eating and Drinking the Irish Way
This year, make your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations truly unforgettable by serving up a traditional Irish feast. For your menu planning inspiration, check out our guide to St. Patty’s Day food, including hearty stews, traditional Colcannon, soda bread and green-colored desserts. Plus get to the lowdown on why we drink green beer (and eat green cupcakes) on this Irish festival
The Traditional St. Patty’s Day Feast
The Feast of Saint Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Ireland for more than two thousand years. Today, the profane and devout alike attend morning mass and then sit down for a family-style feast, which isn’t complete with a pint of Guinness.
In the United States, the Irish American community has adapted their customs and recipes to fit their new land. No matter what side of the Atlantic Ocean you are on, though, Irish-inspired food features a lot of beef, pork, cabbage, and of course potatoes. And on St. Patrick’s Day, the greener the better!
Planning an Irish Menu
The most popular St. Patty’s Day feast menus start off with either Irish Brown Soda Bread or Irish Freckle Bread. Soda bread is a rustic bread flavored with rolled oats and buttermilk, which uses baking soda instead of yeast to proof the dough. Based on the same basic recipe, Irish freckle bread is freckled with currants, raisins or cranberries – making it an irresistible treat when served warm with butter.
For your main meal, you can try either a Dublin Coddle or a Quick Irish Stew. The Dublin Coddle is the ultimate Irish comfort food, made from a hodge podge of kitchen staples like potatoes, sausages and bacon. Steamy Irish stews feature tender chicken or lean lamb, together with potatoes, carrots, onion, mushrooms, and plenty of herbs and spices.
To round out your meal, try out a recipe for Colcannon – a perfect side dish or the ideal main course for your vegetarian friends. Colcannon is traditional St. Patrick’s Day mash of hearty cabbage, potatoes and leeks.
For dessert, you can stick with the traditional Irish theme, like an unpretentious apple tart, served warm with sweet custard. Or you can keep it simple and dye your favorite white cakes and sugar cookies green. Either way, it’s sure to be the perfect ending to a hearty Irish feast.
On St. Patty’s Day, going green isn’t about recycling. It’s literally about dyeing your food and drink green. From green Guinness to emerald mashed potatoes to lime-colored cupcakes, going green on St. Patty’s Day is one way to show your Irish spirit.
But why green? The color green represents the shamrock, a traditional St. Patrick’s Day symbol, which, according to legend, was used by Saint Patrick himself to help explain the Christian Trinity to pagan Druids.