Traditional Irish cuisine will appeal to those who love delicious and hearty food made from available ingredients. The population of the island is proud of its national dishes, because many of them appeared during the time of the Vikings. In order not to violate the technology of cooking, famous chefs from the Emerald Isle (another name for Ireland) often refuse stoves and cook food over an open fire, replacing firewood with peat.

General characteristics of the national Irish cuisine

The Irish cook their food from plant and animal products that have long been grown or harvested on their island. The basis of the diet is:

  1. Potatoes are the most popular vegetable on the island. It is boiled peeled and in a uniform, baked, stewed, fried, used as an ingredient in salads, pancakes, stews and other dishes.
  2. Cabbage, carrots and onions are used not only in the preparation of vegetable stews, but also in first courses, baked goods, etc.
  3. Fish and seafood found in the coastal waters of the country. Among them are herring, salmon, cod, trout, lobster, eel, oyster, lobster, etc.
  4. Meat is present in almost all first courses. Most often, the Irish eat veal and lamb. There are also many dishes of pork, beef, poultry and game in the national cuisine.

Key features

Traditional Irish food is made from simple, naturally grown ingredients. Other features of the kitchen include:

  • ease of preparation;
  • lack of rare ingredients and hot spices in recipes;
  • high calorie content.

Culinary traditions

Emerald Isle dishes have always been hearty and fatty. They remain so to this day. This is not a whim of gourmets, but a necessity due to the cold climate, in which a person needs a lot of energy to survive. In order for food to meet this condition, it is cooked in a large amount of fat. Of the methods of thermal processing of food, the Irish prefer frying, stewing and boiling.

Food is cooked with a lot of fat.

The locals do not accept small portions. Their food is served on large plates, which are always filled to the brim so that a person can eat. This tradition is observed not only at home, but also in catering establishments.

Those who travel to Ireland should remember that it is customary to combine food intake with alcoholic beverages. The latter can be served with or after meals.

The history of development

The culinary preferences of the modern Irish population began to take shape during the early Middle Ages. In those days, the territory of the island was inhabited by the Viking tribes. They raised cattle, pigs and sheep, receiving meat and milk from this trade. In addition, the Vikings ate fish, shellfish, wild animals and birds. Hazelnuts, berries and mari seeds predominated in their diet from plant-based foods.

Later, when society was divided into estates, meat became available only to the rich. The poor ate dairy products, fish, barley and oats. The most popular drink they used was milk mixed with melted butter and animal blood.

The situation changed in the 16th century when potatoes were brought to the island. From that moment on, it became a staple on the tables of the Irish and has not given up its positions to this day.

Things to Try in Ireland: Popular Dishes

Traditional Irish cuisine surprises with an abundance of meat, fish and potato dishes. Lovers of sweets will love the delicious airy desserts, in the preparation of which the secret ingredient – beer is used.

Irish stew

Locals call this dish Irish stew. It is made from tender lamb fillet, potatoes and onions. To emphasize the flavor of the stew and give it a flavor, a little carrots, rosemary and thyme are added to the meat and vegetables.

Irish stew is made from tender lamb fillet.

Irish stew is served in deep bowls, sprinkled with broth in which it was stewed. The dish is eaten hot, otherwise it will not warm in the cold season.

Blue oysters

To try delicious oysters, you need to come to the Emerald Isle in September – April, when it is officially allowed to fish here.

Fresh shellfish can be ordered at local restaurants. They are served on open shells along with sliced ​​lemon.

Barmbrack

Barmbrak is a sweet yeast bread with raisins or fresh grapes baked on Halloween, but you can try it on other days as well.

Previously, coins, rings and other small objects were hidden in baked goods, with the help of which they predicted the future. Modern housewives have abandoned this tradition, but there are souvenir bread on sale with a similar surprise inside.

Barmbrack is served with tea, before cutting it into portions.

Colcannon

In Ireland, colcannon is a dish made from mashed potatoes and white or kale. It is served as a side dish with sausages, ham and other meat products.

Due to its availability in the old days, colcannon was eaten throughout the year, it was the main dish on the tables of peasants. Today it is cooked mainly in the fall, when cabbage is harvested from the fields. Since harvest time coincides with Halloween, the colcannon is used to decorate the festive table.

Boxy

Boxty potato pancakes are common in the northern regions of the Emerald Isle. Previously, they were considered the food of the poor, but gradually they won the love of everyone, without exception.

Boksti – potato pancakes.

To make boksti, a dough is made from grated raw potatoes, buttermilk, mashed potatoes, eggs, flour and baking soda. Sometimes additional ingredients are added to it. Fritters are cooked in a pan or in a saucepan. They are served along with fried sausages.

Coddle

Irish Coddle is a soup made from bacon, pork sausages, potatoes and onions. Some chefs add carrots, turnips and barley to it. Sprinkle the soup with fresh parsley on top. Of the seasonings, only black pepper and salt are used.

Because of the abundance of meat, before, Caudle could only afford to know. On the tables of the poor, he rarely appeared. Today it is the favorite food of most Irish people. It becomes especially popular in winter, when a plate of hot and hearty meat soup is needed to keep warm and forget about hunger for a long time.

Herbal stuffed mushrooms

To prepare this dish, cavities are made in champignon caps, which are filled with chopped mushroom pulp mixed with onions, basil, thyme and other aromatic spices. After that, the mushrooms are sprinkled with grated cheese and baked in the oven.

Thanks to herbs, mushroom caps acquire a delicious aroma. They are served for breakfast or as an addition to the main course.

Champ

The second name of this dish is brutin. It is a mashed potato mixed with butter and green onion feathers sautéed in milk.

Champ is the daily food of the Irish, but a festive table for Halloween is not complete without it. They hide a silver coin in a dish, and then lay it out on plates.

The inhabitants of the island believe that whoever gets a treat with a surprise will not experience any setbacks throughout the year.

Irish fish stew

This thick chowder, common on the Emerald Isle, is made from a mixture of smoked and fresh fish (salmon, haddock, halibut, cod), potatoes, onions and cream. Sometimes it contains pieces of bacon and seafood (mussels, shrimps) fried until crispy.

The fish stew is considered the signature dish of Irish pubs. Here you can order it with beer.

Soda bread

Soda is often used in place of yeast in Ireland. Every local housewife has her own recipe for soda bread. Beer, nuts, honey, dried fruits are added to it, but most often they are made insipid. Despite the abundance of recipes, such baked goods are always based on 3 ingredients: soda, wheat flour and buttermilk.

Guinness cake

This chocolate dessert is one of the ten best delicacies of the Emerald Isle. Its main ingredient is the famous Irish Guinness beer. It gives the biscuit dough airiness, tenderness and colors it black, contrasting favorably with the head of snow-white butter cream.

It is customary to bake Guinness cake in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. This sponge cake, traditional for national cuisine, can be ordered in many restaurants and cafes.

Irish breakfast

The Irish are used to having a hearty breakfast so that they don’t feel hungry until lunchtime. In the morning, they eat sausage, hot dogs, bacon or ham with scrambled eggs and toasted bread. Beans, mushrooms, and potato pancakes are also great for your first meal.

People who honor the traditions of their ancestors eat black pudding for breakfast.

This dish has nothing to do with a sweet dessert, since it is made from animal blood, to which barley, oats, cheese, herbs, turmeric, etc. are added.

Chowder soup

Chowder is a milk-based soup made from fresh fish, seafood, potatoes, onions and parsley. To make it thick, wheat flour is dissolved in milk. In Irish restaurants, yeast-free unleavened bread is served with the soup.

Irish goulash

The classic Irish goulash consists of 4 main ingredients: fillet of beef, potatoes, onions and carrots. But each restaurant has its own signature recipe for this dish, which may additionally include tomato paste, beer, various spices and other products.

As a result of prolonged simmering over low heat, the meat becomes soft and tender. It is eaten as a holiday and daily food.

Beer cupcake

Porter cake is another delicious frothy dessert, but this time the Irish pastry chefs use the dark Porter beer instead of Guinness. A lot of nuts, candied fruits and dried fruits are added to the dough.

To make the cake more tender, some housewives, in addition to beer, add whiskey to it. The finished dessert does not have an alcoholic aftertaste or smell, since the alcohol is evaporated during the baking process.

It is not customary to consume beer cake immediately after preparation. First he must lie down. To do this, it is wrapped in parchment paper and left in a dark place for at least a week. It can be stored in this state for a long time.

Blaa

The recipe for white blaa buns was brought to the Irish County of Waterford by the Huguenots. More than 200 years have passed since then, but baked goods are still loved by the inhabitants of the country, as before.

The rolls are baked from wheat yeast dough. They come in 2 types: crunchy and soft. The former have a dark crust and leave a bitter aftertaste in the mouth, the latter are sweet in taste.

Blaa stale quickly and should be consumed shortly after preparation. Rolls are eaten for breakfast with butter, bacon, eggs, and other foods.

Emerald Isle cheeses

Irish cheeses are of the same quality as Swiss ones. Most varieties are made from the milk of Holstein cows, bred specifically for high volumes of milk yield.

Some of the most common cheeses include:

  1. Keshel Blue is a blue cheese. Keshel Blue. A dense, blue-mold rennet cheese that softens and becomes spicy as it matures. It is produced by hand in County Tipperary.
  2. Cheddar. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk and vegetable rennet, this semi-soft cheese is sourced from County Limerick cheesemakers. In addition to the classic cheddar, you can buy flavored (with the smells of elderberry, beer, whiskey, etc.). With prolonged maturation, the cheese acquires a spicy taste. A feature of the variety is the marble cut pattern.
  3. Dubliner. This tough, sweet cheese is the pride of County Cork. Its ripening period is 12 to 24 months. The cheese combines the pungency of mature cheddar and the butteriness of Parmesan. In its thickness, crystals of natural calcium lactate can come across, which look like white grains.
  4. Ardahan. This type of cheese is produced on the farm of the same name in County Cork. Its main ingredients are cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet. The cheese ripens from 4 to 8 weeks. During this time, it acquires a semi-soft texture, buttery taste and dark yellow color.
  5. Carrigalin. The cheese dairies where this semi-soft cheese ripens are located in the town of the same name (County Cork). The product is made from whole cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet. The cheese ripens for at least 12 weeks. It often contains natural additives that give it the flavor of herbs and garlic, smoked meat, cranberries, blueberries, etc.
  6. Durrus. This semi-soft round cheese with a pale yellow interior and a pink or yellowish gray shell is produced in Munster province from raw cow’s milk. To allow the durrus to mature, it is kept for 3-5 weeks. During this time, it acquires a mild creamy taste. When stored for a long time, a fruity flavor appears in the cheese. They eat cheese with toast, fondue and fruit.
  7. Boilie Goats. County Tyrone cheese makers use pasteurized goat milk to produce this soft cheese. It is sold in a marinade of vegetable oil, pepper and garlic. The product is used for making sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Traditional drinks

Many tourists, having barely set foot on the island’s land, rush to local pubs to taste the world-famous Irish alcohol. The most famous spirits here are:

  1. Whiskey. The Irish have been producing this drink since the 5th century. According to an ancient legend, the patron saint of the island, Saint Patrick, gave the recipe for its preparation to the local population. Irish whiskey is aged in wooden barrels for at least 4 years, where it acquires the necessary strength and soft taste. The most common brands of the drink are Bushmills, Jameson and Black Bush.
  2. Dark Guinness beer. It was first released over 250 years ago and has since become the island’s brand. Today this beer can be bought in any pub in the country. Over time, its recipe changed slightly, but the base remained the same as in the middle of the 18th century: barley, hops, yeast and water.
  3. Potin. This is a local moonshine made from potatoes, beets, molasses and barley. Potina can be as strong as 90%, making it the strongest alcoholic drink in the world. Until 1989, its legal production was prohibited. Now in the country there are several companies engaged in the production of potassium for export and for the needs of the domestic market.
  4. Irish coffee. Aromatic and invigorating coffee is not accidentally included in the list of alcoholic beverages, since in Ireland it is customary to dilute it with whiskey. If desired, brown sugar is added to the cocktail and garnished with whipped cream on top.

Homemade recipes

You don’t have to go there to experience Irish cuisine. You can cook traditional dishes of this country at home using available products.

Potatoes with apples and pork chops

For this hearty first course you will need:

  • 0.5 kg of potatoes;
  • 400 g onions;
  • 4 pork chops;
  • 3 large apples;
  • 1 egg;
  • 150 g butter;
  • ground crackers;
  • pepper;
  • salt.

Preparation:

  1. Season the broken pieces of pork with salt and pepper, then roll in breadcrumbs and a beaten egg. Place the meat in a skillet with oil and fry over high heat for 5 minutes on each side. When the pork is browned, transfer it to a separate bowl.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion, stew in the oil remaining after frying the chops until soft, then rub through a sieve. Cover the meat with onion puree.
  3. Boil the potatoes in their skins, cool, peel and cut into slices. Peel the apples and cut into the same pieces as the potato tubers.
  4. Grease the bottom of the pan with oil. Lay out potatoes and apples in layers. Simmer over low heat until tender.
  5. Place meat and onions in the middle of a wide plate, spread potato-apple stew around it.

Pour melted butter over the dish if desired.

Roast peasant lamb with herbs

For the dish you need to take:

  • a lamb thigh, free from bones, veins and fat, weighing 1 kg;
  • 100 g onions;
  • 1 lemon;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • 10 g ginger root;
  • 100 ml of water;
  • 2 tbsp. l. olive oil;
  • 100 ml of semi-sweet wine;
  • a bunch of parsley, mint and rosemary;
  • salt.

Preparation:

  1. Cut the lamb into portions and put it in a cast-iron cauldron, add water, salt and place in the oven, preheated to + 180 … + 200 ° C.
  2. The meat should be stewed for 1 hour. You need to make sure that it is in the broth. If necessary, you can add a little water to it.
  3. While the lamb is stewing, the onions, garlic and ginger should be fried in olive oil. Finely chop the greens. Add the sautéed vegetables and spices to the cauldron with lamb half an hour after the start of stewing.
  4. Transfer the finished roast to a large dish and pour the mixture of wine and lemon juice on top. Let the meat soak in the sauce for a few minutes, after which you can start your meal.

Simple potato pie

The pie, loved by many Irish people, is easy to bake if you adhere to the cooking technology and the necessary proportions of ingredients.

You need to prepare:

  • 200 g mashed potatoes;
  • 100 g flour;
  • 1 egg;
  • 1-2 tbsp. l. milk;
  • 3 tbsp. l. melted butter;
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder;
  • salt on the tip of a knife.

Preparation:

  1. Sift flour and baking powder into a dry container, add salt, butter, milk, beaten egg and mashed potatoes.
  2. Knead the resulting mass thoroughly, and then form a cake 2 cm high from it.
  3. The pie can be baked in an oven preheated to +220 ° C for 15-20 minutes or fried in a pan over medium heat until golden brown.

The dish is eaten hot. Cut it before serving. If desired, you can grease the cake with butter on top.