W HEN I THINK of St. Patrick’s Day, the first dish that comes to mind is a boiled dinner. You know it, too — corned beef brisket simmered in seasonings with carrots, potatoes and cabbage.
This was the standard St. Patrick’s Day feast at my house growing up. It was it was the only dish ever prepared for the occasion and the only time of year my family celebrated their Irish roots.
Regardless of whether you are Irish, or whether it is March 17 or a random day in August, it’s always a great time for Irish food.
I didn’t keep the boiled dinner tradition going over the years because I found other Irish foods I enjoy. Of course, potatoes are always on the menu.
This St. Patrick’s Day I’m serving smashed cheddar crisp potatoes. The crisps can also be made with Parmesan cheese but I found a good cheddar cheese from Ireland that I used to create the crisps.
To make them, you simmer baby potatoes in water or vegetable broth, then set the cooked potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then you squash the potatoes with the bottom of a glass and drizzle olive oil over the top, add seasonings and shredded cheese, and stick them in the oven. In 20 minutes, you have delicious, crispy potatoes.
Another new dish I added to my Irish food repertoire is Irish bangers with caramelized onions. Irish bangers are a type of sausage. They’re called “bangers” because they often pop when cooking (a phenomenon I experienced while cooking a batch).
They have a slight sweetness to them and they’re excellent with caramelized onions and mashed potatoes.
I picked up a package of Irish bacon, which is different from American bacon. Irish bacon is typically thicker and round and is made from the back of the pig while American bacon is cut in long strips and is made from the belly.
It reminds me of Canadian bacon and is excellent simmered or sautéed with cabbage, another staple food of Ireland.
Smashed Cheddar Crisp Potatoes
1 pound baby potatoes
2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Add potatoes and broth to a pan and cover with a lid. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender and cooked throughout. Drain the potatoes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and space them evenly apart, leaving enough room between each potato so you can flatten them out.
Use the bottom of a glass to press down on each potato until flattened (about 1/4-inch thick). Drizzle each flattened potato with about a teaspoon of olive oil, then season with Kosher salt and pepper.
Top each potato with shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) and set the baking sheet in an oven preheated to 325 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheddar is lightly browned and the potatoes are crisp. Top with fresh parsley for garnish before serving, if desired.
Bangers with Caramelized Onions
4 sweet onions, sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
12-ounce package Irish bangers
Add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil to a deep skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is warmed, add the sliced onions and season with salt, pepper and sugar. Stir well to combine.
Saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions start to brown slightly, then lower heat to medium-low and cover with a lid.
Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions aren’t sticking or drying out. (If the onions start to stick, add a couple of tablespoons of water). When the onions are deep brown and softened, remove from the pan and transfer to a plate.
Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and set over medium heat. Add bangers and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bottoms are browned, then turn the bangers over and cover again. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the bangers are cooked throughout.
Return the onions to the pan and cook for an additional minute to warm.
Irish Bacon, Cabbage & Carrots
2 teaspoons olive oil
8-ounce package back bacon
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Medium-sized head of cabbage cut into wedges 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, for serving
Add olive oil to a deep skillet and set over medium-high heat.
When the oil is warmed, add the bacon. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the meat starts to brown, then turn over and cook the other side. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate and set aside.
Add broth to skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and carrots to the skillet. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.
Add butter to the skillet and heat until butter is melted; evenly distribute butter in pan. Push vegetables to the edges of the pan and place the bacon in the center. Cook for about a minute to warm the bacon. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve.