Traditional St Patrick’s Day recipes for the perfect dinner

beef, Guinness and smoked oyster pie

If anyone knows how to party, it’s the Irish. There’ll be dancing, singing and Irish music. Everybody’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. One of our founders, Molly, grew up in Cobh in County Cork. She shares her recipes for a delicious traditional St Patrick’s Day dinner.  Sláinte!

Every 17th March, Ireland celebrates one of its patron saints, St Patrick, with a national holiday and a traditional feast. St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. For most, it is another excuse for a party! Traditionally, I start the evening with a Black Velvet cocktail (1 part sparkling wine or champagne, 1 part stout beer) served with Irish smoked salmon on buttered brown Irish soda bread.

Every time I go home, I bring back some of Frank Hederman’s smoked salmon. I truly believe it is the finest handmade smoked salmon in the world. He focusses on small batch production, and eschewing mechanisation or automation where possible. He has spent decades refining the rare traditional skills of hang–smoking in an authentic timber smoke house. It is delicious.

For main course I recommend preparing something you can do in advance – giving you more time to enjoy time with your guests. Stout or Guinness and St. Patrick’s Day go hand in hand so here is a recipe for a delicious beef, Guinness and smoked oyster pie. You will need a pie dish with a ‘flat’ rim for the pastry.

Serves 4

For the filling

Oil for frying

500g of chuck steak, diced approx. 2 cm

1 large carrot, peeled, quartered and cut into 2cm long pieces

12-20 smoked oysters (a whole tin)

3 medium onions, peeled and chopped

flour for dusting

1 pint of stout, Guinness or porter

1 tsp mushroom ketchup, (if you don’t have it, leave it out or use 1 tsp balsamic vinegar)

2 tsp French mustard

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs of thyme

salt

pepper

 

For the pastry

300g of plain flour

100g of unsalted butter

100g of suet, shredded

salt

iced water

1 egg, beaten

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
  • Sweat the carrots and onion in a cast iron casserole and colour over a medium heat in some oil. Dust the meat with the flour, season and add it to the vegetables, stirring until nicely browned all over. Add more oil if necessary. Immediately pour in the stout, mushroom ketchup, mustard and herbs. Add a little more liquid to cover the meat if necessary.
  • Once boiling, put on the lid and place on a low shelf in the oven for approximately 3 hours. Check on it regularly – it is done when the meat is just about to fall apart

This stage can be done the day before (or frozen in advance).

  • For the pastry lid, combine the flour, butter, suet and salt in a large mixing bowl and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour. Keep on doing this until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in the water and start pressing the liquid into the breadcrumb-like mixture. Be gentle as you must be careful not to overwork the dough. When you have created a rough dough, wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or more. You can prepare the pastry the day before.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
  • Ladle the stew into your shallow pie dish and distribute the oysters neatly so everyone will find some in their plate. Use the beaten egg to eggwash the edges of the pie dish
  • Take your pastry out of the fridge and place on a floured work surface. Roll out to a 1cm thickness, ensuring it is larger than your pie dish. Carefully pick up the pastry and drape it over the pie dish. Trim the edges of the pastry so you get a nice neat lid, then crimp the edges by using your thumb or a fork so the pastry lid is closed tightly.
  • Decorate the pie lid if you like and egg-wash generously before baking on a low shelf of the oven.
  • The pie should be nice and golden after 40–45 minutes. I would traditionally serve it with cabbage and creamy mashed potatoes.

 

Irish Soda bread

Ingredients

50g of butter

250g of wholemeal flour

100g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting

5g of bicarbonate of soda

3g of salt

5g of caster sugar

250ml of buttermilk

150ml of milk

Method

  • For the bread, brush a loaf tin with 25g of butter and sprinkle flour around the tin to coat the butter. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
  • Make sure the bread ingredients are at room temperature, which will help the bicarb to raise the dough as it bakes. Alternatively, warm the milk before adding to the mix.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar. Rub the remaining 25g of butter into the flour until the mix resembles breadcrumbs – this should take approximately 4-5 minutes.
  • Tip and scrape the dough into the prepared tin, cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for a further 20-25 minutes. The cooked loaf should produce a hollow sound when tapped on the base.

Tip

If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, the closest substitute would be another dairy product with a little acidity added — milk with a spoonful of lemon juice or white vinegar does the job quite nicely. This mixture won’t get as thick and creamy as buttermilk, but it will perform its role in the batter just as well. Incidentally, yogurt or sour cream thinned with milk (or plain water, in a pinch) also work well as buttermilk substitutes.

 

To finish

I would finish the meal with delicious Irish cheeses like Gubbeen, Cashel Blue and Milleens served with oatcakes, Ballmaloe relish and Irish butter followed by Irish coffees!

SLÁINTE!

 Beef, Guinness and smoked oyster pie