Each country comes with its own food specialty. The food of the country is not just a delicacy but a story, depicting the culture, and the history of a place. The Irish cuisine that originated in the North Atlantic island, with deep influences from the British cuisine, evolved across the centuries and through the various socio-political changes in the society. Irish cuisine is the style of cooking that originated from Ireland, an island in the North Atlantic; or was developed by the Irish people. It developed over centuries, and through the amalgam of British, Irish and other cultures in Ireland. The traditional food to try in Ireland are namely colcannon (kale or cabbage, mashed potato, and butter), Irish stew (beef, lamb, or mutton), boxty (potato pancake), bacon and cabbage (with potatoes), coddle (bacon, sausage, and potato), and the list goes on.
1. Stobhach Gaelach (Irish stew)
One of the most well-known dishes across Ireland is Stobhach Gaelach. There are a number of recipes to make this dish. The more traditional manner to make this dish is to add ingredients like mutton chops, potatoes, and onion along with water. Other variations of the recipe would include vegetables like carrots, turnips, etc. There have been debates about whether such ingredients spoil the authentic flavor of the dish. Preparation of the dish includes boiling the ingredients and simmering them for at least two hours. There have been records of Irish stew which date back to the 1800s.
2. Smoked salmon
Smoked salmon is to Ireland what fish n’ chips is to Britain. This preparation takes a lot of time to cook. Usually, it takes between four to five hours but the same is compensated due to the soft texture of the fish which makes it an exceptional and must-have dish when you are visiting Ireland. Usually, the fish is marinated, covered in a foil and cooked for three hours in low or medium heat which gives it its soft brownish or orange hue. Smoked salmon can be served with eggs, butter, bread or even mashed potato.
3. Irish pudding
Black and white pudding is made using pork, oatmeal, bread crumbs, and fat. White and black pudding is similar to black pudding in preparation. This is one of the most iconic dish in Ireland. You can add spinach, broccoli, and the likes while serving it to make it a superfood. The puddings are a staple diet since they are high in protein and help the person consuming them to stay warm. The meal preparation takes between 25 to 30 minutes if all the ingredients are cut out and are at room temperature.
4. Barmbrack (Halloween bread)
Barmbrack is a bread made by adding extra yeast to the bread dough. This bread is a staple during Halloween. It usually contains nuts and cherries. The bread can be had with tea or coffee during the winters in Ireland. It is perfect for high tea. The recipe is similar to that of regular bread except that it uses whiskey and extra yeast as a raising substance. You can also add currants to it to resemble a fruit cake. The bread takes about 90 minutes to cook in the oven before it can be taken out and served cold.
5. Colcannon and champ
Colcannon and champ is a simple dish that goes well as a side to fish, chicken fry or any main course Irish dish. These are similar to mashed potato. To prepare Colcannon (Southern Ireland version), potatoes are boiled afresh and then mashed with kale or cabbage, milk, butter, and salt if required. The serving is high in carbohydrate and is extremely filling and takes normally around 20 minutes to cook and prepare. Champ (Northern Ireland version) is prepared in the same manner, but instead of kale or cabbage, they use scallions.
Colcannon and champ is a regular side dish and the same is consumed in the United States and most parts of Europe termed simply as the “mashed potato”. You can also add mint or coriander leaves and green chili to add more taste to it.
6. Galway oysters
Galway oysters as the name suggests is a way of making Irish oysters. There are different types of recipes famous in Ireland to make Galway oysters. Recipes like Oysters Kirkpatrick, oysters made in chive sauce and even fried oysters. The recipes need special sauces such as Worcestershire sauce. They are either cooked in shells or shucked. The meal preparation is anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Coddle is a dish using potato, sausages and rashers. It is one filling dish which can be made by using leftover meat and potato. The preparation requires meat cubes, potato, sausages, rashers, parsley, pepper, and salt. The dish is filling and is best had on a winter day with fresh soda bread. The potatoes have to be boiled and the grilled meats have to be layered on the pot with the potatoes, garnished with salt and pepper. Pour hot water on this mixture. This has to be bought to heat and cooked slowly for three hours and then served hot!
8. Boxty (Irish pancakes)
Boxty is a traditional pancake which is made by combining mashed potato and raw ones. It will be a favorite for any potato indulgent. They are usually prepared during Christmas but can be had in the morning as well. The pancake tastes like a combination of has brownies and potato. It is made by mixing mashed potato and raw potato after adding buttermilk. It has a dough like consistency unlike the normal pancakes and then more buttermilk is added to make the consistency like a thick liquid. The recipe can take anywhere between 30 to 35 minutes to cook.
9. Irish soda bread
Soda bread is used making flour, bicarbonate soda, buttermilk, wholemeal flour and a pinch of salt. The recipe is similar to any other bread recipe. The recipe takes about 30 to 45 minutes to make. Soda bread is a staple bread and is served with coddle or other famous Irish food.
10. Guinness cake
Chocolate Guinness cake (26063287595)
Source: Photo by user Luca Nebuloni used under CC BY 2.0
Guinness cake is a must-have in Ireland. The cake is served commonly during festivities and wedding events. Guinness is a famous beer brand in northern Europe which is used to make this cake, hence the name. The cake is usually topped with white frosting. The recipe is simple like other chocolate cake but the difference lies in adding buttermilk – a common ingredient in Irish dishes and Guinness cake.
Have a mouthwatering journey in Ireland
Being a neighbor to the UK, Ireland has some of its dishes that resemble those of the former. Say, for example, the most famed ‘mashed potato’ that is widely consumed in the UK, and various parts of Europe and USA, is modified a bit and called ‘colcannon’ or ‘çhamp’ in Ireland. Then you read about Irish stew and also its pancake, the roots are similar just the styles are different. So if you really want to experience the Irish flavors, pick what you love, eat as much as you want, but never miss the Guinness cake at the end of your meal. That’s the signature we would like to say.