As a fan of Ireland, you’re sure to have tried a few of the country’s most well-known foods in your time. You’ve likely had a full Irish breakfast, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, or some corned beef and cabbage. These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wealth of culinary options that Ireland has to offer. Whether you look for these on the menu of an Irish pub here or there, or find a recipe online to make them yourself, we recommend trying one of these five Irish dishes. Let us know your own favorite Irish meals in the comments.
Bacon and Cabbage
Now, when we talk about bacon, we don’t mean the typical American pork belly bacon that we’re used to, but a real rasher of British bacon. This bacon comes from the back and is cut thicker than its American counterpart. While adding cabbage to the meat may not sound like the most appetizing dish, it’s pretty common to do so in Ireland. Most servings tend to add either mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes to it. However you choose to accessorize the meal, it’s worth giving this Irish dish a try.
Coddle is a working-class dish that is a stew less well-known than Irish stew. The name comes from how the dish would be made using leftovers from the rest of the week, “coddled” (or simmered) in a pot. As such, the ingredients typically involve Irish bacon, sliced potatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage, slow-cooked in a pot for at least a couple of hours. There are a lot of good recipes out there if you want to make it yourself, but one of my favorites involves using Irish cider in the stew’s stock. In either event, you might want to serve the coddle with our next entry.
Soda bread is one of those Irish dishes with a thousand different ways to make it. No one Irish county or family within that county has the exact same recipe, however, most of the common ingredients include flower and baking soda. From there, the sky is the limit, as some recipes use buttermilk, raisins, spices, and more. As such, it’s a wonderfully utilitarian dish that can accompany the rest of your meal or be enjoyed on its own. We recommend searching all the recipes out there to find the one that most appeals to you.
Colcannon and Champ
It’s certainly true that Ireland loves a good potato dish and certainly has dozens of them to pick from. Colcannon is a mix of mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale that’s so famous it has its own song, a traditional folk song mostly sung to children. Meanwhile, champ is a similar dish without the cabbage but with buttermilk. No matter which version of the mashed potatoes you choose, it’s typically served with pork, most often ham. Feel free to find a recipe for either and prepare it for your next St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the last entry on this list is also a potato dish. Boxty is a potato pancake that’s made from both grated potatoes and mashed potatoes, mixed in with flour and salt, then boiled, pressed flat, and grilled to a lovely brown. Boxty can also be fried in butter (creating “boxty dumplings”) or baked (creating “boxty bread”). It allegedly got its start during the Potato Famine with its etymology supposedly related to the Irish “aran bocht ti” meaning “poor house bread”. It is traditionally served on St. Brigid’s Day with cross-shaped oat bread or bride bannocks.