Our chef put together the best Irish-inspired recipes so you can take your tastebuds on a trip to Ireland this St Patty's Day. These authentic dishes like corned beef are perfect for your weeknight meal or take your dinner party to the next level with our beer cheese spread (which includes bacon!).
Mincemeat Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s Pie is one of those comforting dishes that can really warm you up on a cold and dreary day. Shepherd’s pie consists of mincemeat stewed in a delicious gravy with vegetables and topped with creamy mashed potatoes, baked to a golden brown crust on top. It is very humble in nature yet extremely delicious and satisfying in every way..
The two basic components are the filling and the potato topping. I really enjoy a horseradish and sour cream mashed potato for my Shepherd’s Pie crust. It is an easy way to add another layer of flavor to the dish without a ton of extra effort. The filling is traditionally made with ground lamb or ground beef, and usually contains peas, carrots, onions, and celery in a rich, herbaceous gravy that holds everything together.
This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare. The potatoes will take about thirty minutes, with about 18 minutes of inactivity that will allow us to get the filling started. Multitasking can keep the active prep time to about 40 minutes, while the final product will bake for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Allow about 75 minutes to complete this dish from start to finish.
Let’s start with the potatoes.
Yukon gold potatoes are perfect for a creamy mash. It is important that they are peeled and cut into very similar sized pieces so that they will all cook to doneness at close to the same time. One piece of undercooked potato can cause the whole batch to be lumpy and starchy. The best way to check for doneness is to insert a fork into the potato to check for tenderness. If the fork slides easily into the center of the potato, it is ready. This will take about 16-18 minutes in salted boiling water, depending on how large your potato pieces are. Heavy cream, or half and half if you are looking to lower the caloric content of this dish a bit, should be heated while the potatoes are cooking so that when it comes time to whip the potatoes, you have everything at the ready.
What You'll Need
1.5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped to roughly the same sized pieces
¼ C Heavy Cream
¼ C Butter
½ C Sour Cream
2 T prepared Horseradish
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
Peel and chop the potatoes and place in a large pot.
Cover with cold water and season with 2 T kosher salt.
Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat the heavy cream to steeping in a small sauce pot on the stove top. Add the butter to the heavy cream and set aside.
Once the potatoes are done, drain them and then return them to the pot. Using a fork or a potato masher, begin mashing the potatoes.
Add the hot cream and butter and whip together just until they are smooth.
Now add the sour cream and horseradish, Adjust the seasoning with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Finally, fold in the two egg yolks. The yolk will help in browning the top of the pie. Set the potatoes aside until the filling is finished.
What You'll Need (for the filling)
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ t kosher salt
4 turns cracked black pepper
1 T tomato paste
2 T AP flour
1 C chicken or beef stock, plus more if needed
1 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t soy sauce
½ C frozen english peas
1 T fresh chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, tarragon)
In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Sweat the onion, carrot and celery until the onions are translucent and the carrots begin to soften.
Add the ground meat and season with the salt and pepper. Brown the meat with the vegetables and then add the tomato paste.
Cook for about three minutes, until the paste begins to rust. Sprinkle with the flour and then cook for about 2 more minutes.
Add the stock, soy and Worcestershire sauce and simmer until it thickens to the desired consistency.
Add the peas and herbs and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish that is at least 2” deep, spreading it evenly across the bottom of the pan.
Place the mashed potatoes on top and spread them out to cover the meat filling. Be sure to push the potatoes all the way to the edge, creating a seal on the filling so that it will not bubble out. Alternately, the potatoes can be piped on to the top, using a decorative tip to up the presentation a bit, or just drag a fork through the top layer of potatoes, creating a ridged pattern.
Bake for about twenty minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and or parsley and serve piping hot.
Corned Beef with Chuck Roast
Traditional recipes have gone unchanged for centuries for several reasons. Certain ingredients beg for specific treatments. Most folks will identify pork belly as bacon, even in its raw state. It is always possible to make bacon from other similar cuts of pork, or even lamb or beef. The point is that traditions aren’t always written in stone. It is okay to step outside of the box and attempt fresh takes on traditional foods. As long as you understand the basic mechanics of a recipe it should be easy to switch out certain components of the dish with favorable results.
Corned beef is one of those age old recipes that you see little variation from the standards due to the mechanics of the recipe. Corned beef is essentially the ham of beef cuts. Just like ham, the main ingredient for corned beef is salt. There are several different other seasonings that go into the corned beef brine, but salt is essential. When we think about corned beef, there are certain characteristics that stand out. That pink color is probably the first to come to mind. This color comes from the use of sodium nitrites, which is a super salt preservative. This high concentration of salt is also important in tenderizing the meat.
If you are uncertain about nitrates and nitrites with this recipe, you don’t HAVE to use them. Just know that the corned beef will not have the same look or taste as one that contains nitrites. If you are okay with natural nitrite products, find a source for celery, cherry or even beet powder. These products are nitrite rich and will make a great substitute for Prague powder #1, which is traditionally used in the production of corned beef. I will include both in the recipe below.
The traditional cut of beef used for this recipe is the brisket. We did a twist on this recipe by using the chuck roast instead. The beef should be brined for about a day per pound of meat. So if you have a 3 pound cut of beef, it should be brined for at least 3 days. This brining process is essential to tenderizing and flavoring the beef throughout. Other spices used in this brine are all found in a pickling spice blend. You can easily just purchase a pickling spice blend to simplify things, or you can build your own using a combination of any of these spices; cinnamon stick, mustard seed, peppercorns(black, pink, green, or white), clove, allspice, juniper and bay leaves. I tend to dislike heavy clove and allspice, so I build my own blend for corned beef. I also prefer a bit of ginger in there, either ground ginger or crystallized ginger will work in this brine.
After brining the beef, it should be carefully rinsed in cold water before being placed in a pot of water with some carrots, celery, and onion and simmered for several hours until fork tender. Simmering as opposed to boiling will ensure a juicy and delicious end result. Boiling can result in a greater loss of water weight, thus drying out the meat rather quickly.
What You'll Need
For the brine:
1 QT water
12 oz Kosher salt
4 oz dark brown sugar
For the flavoring:
4 Tbsp Pickling spice
1 cinnamon stick, broken
2 t mustard seeds
1 ½ T peppercorns
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice berries
8 juniper berries
2 bay leaves, crushed
2 tsp crystallized ginger
Any combination of the above ingredients that aligns with your personal preference
Add 2 ½ tsp of pink salt, also known as Prague Powder #1, or curing salt
1 Tbsp celery or cherry powder
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.
Boil until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 pounds of ice. This should cool the brine to a usable temperature and also increase the volume appropriately to what is needed for this recipe.
What You'll Need (for the meat)
3-5 lbs of chuck roast
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
Ensure that the brine is cooled to at least 45 degrees and submerge the meat in the brine. Leave in the brine for at least 5 days, checking each day and stirring the brine. You can even rub the meat each day, but it is not necessary. It is always nice to give your food a little extra love though.
After 5 days, remove the meat from the brine and rinse gently under cool running water.
Place the beef in a large pot along with the carrots, celery and onion and bring to a boil. Cut back to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours, or until fork tender.
Remove from the cooking water and set aside.
Remove the celery, carrots and onions and discard.
The beef will slice much easier if you let it cool first. Keep the corned beef in the cooking liquid in the fridge. This should keep for about 5 days in the fridge. If you have used nitrites, the beef will keep for longer, up to 10 days.
What You'll Need(for the vegetables)
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 head of cabbage cut into wedges
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Using the same water you used to cook the beef, cook the carrots, potatoes and cabbage until they are all tender.
Serve with the sliced corned beef and enjoy.
Irish Stout Beer Cheese Spread with Bacon
Beer and cheese have always paired well together. The yeasty, malty deliciousness of beer just melds with the funky sharp flavors of a well aged cheddar. This classic combination is found in several different recipes for soups, hot dips, and spreads such as this one.
Beer cheese spread is a perfect dip for a snacky get together. Serve it with soft pretzels or warm rye toast points alongside pickles and mustard. This spread will also work well on a variety of sandwiches, be it corned beef or ham with kraut, or a roasted vegetable sandwich. No matter how you decide to serve this spread, it is sure to become a favorite recipe. It is easy, versatile and delicious.
What You'll Need
½ Lb Bacon, either strips or ends and pieces, cooked, cooled and chopped
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz sharp Irish White Cheddar, shredded, at room temperature
4 oz Irish Stout Beer, either Guinness or Boddington’s
1 t Worcestershire sauce
2 t grainy mustard, (dijon with whole seeds)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ t kosher salt
2 turns of fresh cracked black pepper
2 Green onions, thinly sliced
First, set the cream cheese out on the counter to soften. Shred the cheddar with a box grater and set aside with the cream cheese.
Cook the bacon until it is crispy. Reserve the fat for later use. Place the cooked bacon on paper towels to soak up any excess fat. Chop the bacon by hand and set aside.
Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or a mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix all of the ingredients until fully incorporated. If mixing by hand, use a rubber spatula to fold all of the ingredients together until they are fully incorporated.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours at the very least to ensure that the flavors are well blended.