St Patrick’s Day
In this post I am going to give you my suggestion for a perfect St Patrick’s day meal. But who is St Patrick and what is St Patrick’s Day?
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and also ridding the country of snakes. Probably of English, Welsh or Scottish descent, he first came to Ireland as a slave. He spent sixteen years as a shepherd, much of it in isolation in the hills of County Antrim and he turned to prayer to help him with the loneliness. After escaping to England he became a priest. Legend has it that he had a vision telling him to return to Ireland. Over three decades, he established schools, churches, and monasteries from his ministry in the north. By the time of his death on 17th March AD461, he had become the Bishop of Ireland.
St Patrick’s Day Celebrations
On the anniversary of St Patricks death the Irish, those living in Ireland and the diaspora around the world day, invite everyone into their community to join in the celebrations. Everyone can be Irish for a day. And (Oh Danny) boy, do they know how to celebrate. The rules of Lent are relaxed for a day and the 17th is definitely a Feast Day, or more correctly a drinking day.
Obviously growing up in the North East of Scotland it was a day that passed us by. Our own patron Saint, St Andrew, has no worldwide party or celebrations attached to his day on the 30th November, although you can attend St Andrew’s Day Balls held in larger towns and cities. Despite being both of Celtic origin the Scots tend to be as more serious and sober. There are still many parts of the country, especially in the Highlands and Islands that are dry and where dancing is considered to be the work of the devil. Thats not to say that we don’t know how to have fun. There is no doubt, however, which of the two Celtic nations is seen as the one that know know how to party!
Celebrations in America
Now there is a little bit of truth in saying that America loves an excuse to party, or at the very least to buy all the trimmings for a party. I was amazed to find that leading up to St Patrick’s Day everything was green. Even the flowers are all dyed green.
Slight irony is that blue, not green is the color associated with St Patrick.
You can buy Irish bangers in Trader Joes, together with soda bread. The shops are full of shamrocks and Leprechauns and obviously Guinness is everywhere.
The first St Patrick’s day parade was held in New York city in 1762. Americans do love a parade and now there are parades in most major cities. Chicago even goes one better and dies its river green.
St Patrick’s Day in Copenhagen
There are several Irish pubs in Copenhagen. The Globe, in the center of town, is holding it annual St Patrick’s day pub crawl. The rules are that you have to run to six specified pubs and drink a pint in each of them. Oh and its a three-legged race! We are the Globe for a pub quiz last week. Apparently the record for fastest time is 19 minutes.
Think I may be giving that a pass and hyggying inside with some stew.
Beef in Guinness
I know everyone in America eats corned beef on St Patricks day but I still do not have the courage to try it. For me, corned beef is something that comes in a tin (can) with one of those fiddly keys that rarely works. My first choice for a homage to Irish cooking would be bangers and mash but I recently made a beef stew with guinness and it was fabulous. Obviously, I would suggest serving it with mashed potatoes, did I mention my mashed potato obsession, or colcannon and any green vegetable.
Beef in Guiness with Orange
A warming beef stew with a rich gravy made with Guinness and orange zest. Perfect for St Patrick's Day.
- 4-5 lbs /2 kilos of stewing beef or chuck cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 bottles or cans of Guinness together with some beef stock or water
- large onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 4 sticks of celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Step 1 Pre heat Oven to 150C/300F
- Step 2 Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan then quickly brown the beef on all sides.
- Step 3 Once browned add each piece to a large oven and stove proof casserole dish or dutch oven. Sprinkle the beef with the flour.
- Step 4 In the same skillet sauté the vegetables for five minutes , adding a little more oil if required. Add the vegetable to the meat, then add a little guinness to the frying pan to deglaze and capture all that lovely flavor, pour over the beef and vegetables.
- Step 5 Place the dutch oven on the stove, add enough guinness to cover the meat and bring to a simmer. Add some salt and pepper then cover and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours.
- Step 6 Add the zest and juice of an orange half an hour before the end of the cooking time.
- Step 7 Serve hot, or refrigerate and reheat on the stove.
- Step 8 Freezes beautifully.
Wherever you are in the world, Happy St Patrick’s Day!