What is Traditional Irish and what is American Irish is an interesting question? A little Irish history and a tasty recipe will go a long way in helping you be more Irish on St Patrick’s Day. Ask your friends “How did the Black and Tan get its name and is it cool to order one in Ireland?” or “What do the Irish in Ireland eat on St Patrick’s Day?” You won’t need the luck of the Irish to figure this one out, it’s all right here for you!
Black and Tan
Contrary to popular belief, Black and Tan is not a drink commonly consumed in Ireland. When we visited “The Old Sod” my husband ordered a Black and Tan and got funny looks to say the least! We inquired and found that the drink has image problems in parts of Ireland because of what the Black and Tan really refers to. “It’s just not desired” was the response to a “Black and Tan” request.
The Black and Tans or Tans, composed largely of British World War I veterans, were employed by the Royal Irish Constabulary as Temporary Constables from 1920 to 1921 to suppress revolution in Ireland. Although it was established to target the Irish Republican Army, it became notorious through its numerous attacks on the Irish civilian population.
Due to the ferocity of the Tans’ behavior in Ireland and the atrocities committed, feelings continue to run high regarding their actions. “Black and Tan” or “Tan” remains a disparaging term for British in Ireland and they are still despised by many in Ireland. You can catch the reference to the Black and Tan in many an Irish folk song.
So on St Patrick’s Day, if you want to enjoy a Black and Tan, pour Smithwick or Harp (Irish), not Bass Ale (British) topped with Guinness and drink it like an Irishman!
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Ask someone in Ireland what they eat for St Patrick’s Day and you will probably get an Irish answer, full of humor. A local radio station, South East Radio, which serves south Wicklow and parts of counties Wexford and Kilkenny, conducted an informal telephone poll to see what people liked to eat on St Patrick’s Day. The responses were things like, “Eat? I eat pints.” (One person referred jocularly to the pint of Guinness as a “shamrock sandwich”.)
Many Irish people got their first taste of beef when they emigrated to America or Canada, where both salt and meat were cheaper. During the worst years of the Great Famine, Irish tenant farmers were exporting hundreds of thousands of barrels of salt beef to Britain and Canada, along with lots of other kinds of food. Farmers were raising the beef on behalf of the landlords who owned the land on which they lived and worked. They couldn’t touch it themselves!
So the tradition of Corned Beef (“corned” beef, it came to be called, because of the grain or “corn”-sized chunks of salt used in the preserving process) became an American Irish food and the symbol of all things Irish at St Patrick’s Day.
Everyone has a recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage and if you slow cook it long enough, it should be quite tasty. Instead of bringing yet another one to print; another Irish favorite seemed like a grand idea. Shepherd’s Pie is a favorite at holidays like Easter, Christmas, Halloween and St Patrick’s Day!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 lb ground beef or lamb
1 large onion, diced
3-4 large carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas
3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
8 oz red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock
6 cups mashed potatoes, great use for leftover potatoes
1 egg, beaten
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Pre-heat oven to 400.
Saute carrots in the olive oil until tender. Add in the onions and sauté until translucent. Season the meat with black pepper and thyme cook until browned. Drain the fat from the mixture.
Add the butter and peas. Sprinkle with flour and stir thoroughly. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow sauce to reduce down until the sauce is a thick, meaty gravy. Season the mixture to your taste.
Remove from heat and pour into a greased a 9×13 oven proof dish.
Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato browned and crusty on top.
Serve with some crusty bread or Irish Soda Bread to mop up all the yummy sauce!
Now I ask you, “What was St Patrick’s main claim to fame?” Well, it was driving the snakes out of Ireland, of course!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 lb ground beef or lamb
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3-4 large carrots, diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 oz red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 cups mashed potatoes, great use for leftover potatoes
- 1 egg, beaten
- Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
- Pre-heat oven to 400.
- Saute carrots in the olive oil until tender. Add in the onions and sauté until translucent. Season the meat with black pepper and thyme cook until browned. Drain the fat from the mixture.
- Add the butter and peas. Sprinkle with flour and stir thoroughly. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
- Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow sauce to reduce down until the sauce is a thick, meaty gravy. Season the mixture to your taste.
- Remove from heat and pour into a greased a 9x13 oven proof dish.
- Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato browned and crusty on top.
- Serve with some crusty bread or Irish Soda Bread to mop up all the yummy sauce!