Irish heritage extends to the kitchen, too

Although not necessarily known for its cuisine, Ireland does boast many delicious dishes that have withstood the test of time. Sampling some of these hearty and delicious dishes may not require a trip overseas, especially for people who live in communities with a heavy Irish influence. Many eateries and chefs are rediscovering Ireland’s culinary heritage. Here’s what you might find on the menu.

· Irish stew: Irish stew is the ultimate in one-pot cooking. Traditionally made with mutton, Irish stew is stewed for hours until tender. Potatoes, onions and carrots may be added to the pot. Today, you may find Irish stew made with lamb, stock and herbs to give it an intense flavor profile.

· Crubeens: Derived from the word crúbin, meaning “pig’s trotter,” this is an Irish dish made of boiled pigs’ feet. Often they are battered and fried, broiled or baked.

· Bacon and cabbage: This tasty dish consists of unsliced back bacon boiled with cabbage and potatoes, and sometimes turnips and carrots are added. The bacon used may vary, but the bacon is usually cured using brine. Corned beef and cabbage was born in the late 19th century when Irish immigrants living in the United States began substituting corned beef for the bacon because corned beef was more readily available.

· Black pudding: Despite its designation as “pudding,” this is neither a dessert nor the pudding Americans are familiar with. Pudding in many areas of the United Kingdom is used to describe savory sausage. In the case of black pudding, the sausage is made from pork blood and a high proportion of oatmeal, oat groats or barley groats. White pudding is similar, but it does not contain blood and may have bits of meat and bread.

· Colcannon and champ: These mashed dishes feature one of the most prolific ingredients known to Ireland: the potato. Potatoes became a staple of the island when they were discovered to be an inexpensive and plentiful food source that offered a number of nutrients. Colcannon pairs mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale and cream. It’s usually flavored with scallions. Champ is similar to Colcannon and is flavored with scallions, butter and milk.

· Coddle: This is the ultimate way to use leftovers come the end of the week. The name comes from the coddling of ingredients in a one-pot stew. Boiled bacon, potatoes and onions can be paired with slices of pork sausage and left to simmer.

· Dublin Lawyer: Shellfish is a popular dish in Irish coastal cities. In this dish, lobster is cooked in cream and whiskey. Carrageen moss and dulse, two types of red algae, also may be featured with Irish seafood dishes.

Ireland is a country full of historical and cultural significance. Its cuisine is varied and flavorful, with many interesting dishes to try.

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