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How to Make Traditional Irish Recipes with a Modern Twist

Since travel is limited I am writing several posts this month on Irish food, drinks, and tales in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I have updated these traditional Irish recipes to make them healthier, easier to cook, and using more easily accessible ingredients.

Not so Traditional Irish Recipe for Cockles & Mussels

This traditional Irish recipe was made with cockles and mussels that could easily be gathered from the shore. However, we are using clams instead of cockles and I am modernizing the recipe by including shrimp and fish as well.

I use precooked frozen mussel and clam meat for this recipe due to convenience. They can be easily thawed while in packaging in a pan of water. We also used halibut, but any firm whitefish will do.

Dish of a traditional irish recipe for cockles and mussels
Modern Cockles &Mussels

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces frozen cooked mussel meat
  • 8 ounces frozen cooked clam meat
  • pound of firm white fish cut in small pieces
  • 8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • cup of day old crumbs from herbed bread
  • Stick of butter

Directions

Onions cooking to prepare traditional Irish recipes
Onions browning in oil
Onions and seafood mixture in a casserole dish in the process of making the traditional Irish rr pie of cockles and mussels
Onions and Seafood Mixture
Traditional Irish Recipe of cockles and mussels fresh out of the oven with bread crumb topping
Time to Eat!

  1. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan at medium high heat. Once you melt the butter add the onions and saute until soft about 5 minutes. When the onions are done place them in an au gratin dish.
  2. Then using the same pan, cook the fish pieces and shrimp for about two minutes. You don’t need to cook them all the way through. When they are cooked add them to the onions.
  3. At this time add the mussels, clams, lemon juice and zest, garlic and parsley to the au gratin dish and mix well.
  4. After that melt remaining butter and mix with bread crumbs, dill and salt and pepper. Then spread the mixture on top of the seafood in the au gratin dish.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 435F until crumbs are golden and crisp and seafood is thoroughly cooked.

I make a lot of homemade bread in my bread maker so I used two day old rosemary bread for the crumbs which really added to the flavor.

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Not so Traditional Irish Recipe for Beef & Stout Pie

Traditional recipe of beef and stout pie ready to go into the oven
Beef & Stout Pie Ready for Cooking

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons almond flour (I use this to make a healthier version)
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck steak or eye round cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • onion coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, stems removed, and quartered
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • tablespoon tomato paste ( you can use ketchup in a pinch)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • cup of stout ( I actually used Yeungling Chocolate Porter)
  • pie crust

Directions

Chopped onions, carrots, and mushrooms to make beef & stout pie
Mushrooms, carrots, and onions
Beef in a plastic bag mixed with flour pepper and salt
Beef mixing with flour in a bag
Traditional Irish recipe if beef &stout pie cooking on the stove
Beef and Vegetable Mixture Cooking on the Stove
  1. Begin by mixing flour, salt, and pepper in a Ziplock bag. Then add your meat, seal, and shake. In short, make sure to coat all the pieces well with the flour mixture.
  2. Once the meat is coated with flour, heat some cooking oil in a pot over medium high. When the oil is hot add the meat to brown on all sides.
  3. Once the meat is browned, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. If necessary you can add a bit of stock to scrap any pieces sticking to the pot. Then add the vegetables to the pot. Cook stirring frequently until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. After that, add tomato paste, thyme, stout, and stock. Return the meat to the pot and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, if making homemade pie crust do that now and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Once stew is cooked, transfer to a deep pie plat or a casserole dish.
  7. After that, roll out your pie crust on a lightly floured surface and cut shamrocks or other shapes with small cookie cutters. Then decorate the top of your stew with crust designs.
  8. Brush the top of your crust with egg .
  9. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 400F for another 5 minutes.

Tips

I am terrible at making pie crusts so I adapted this traditional Irish recipe to make a healthier version by avoiding the bottom crust altogether and just placing small shapes on top. This way you are eating less dough but still getting the taste and effect.

I got my vegetable cutter set almost 20 years ago from Pampered Chef but I was able to find these similar items through these Amazon sponsored links:

Traditional Irish Recipe for Chicken, Leek & Potato Pie

This is an Irish version of a Shepherd’s Pie. I have added additional vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 6 yukon gold potatoes
  • 8 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 sliced leek
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • teaspoon dried sage
  • stick of salted butter
  • 1/2-1 cup chicken broth

Directions

Traditional Irish recipes often use a lot of potatoes. If you are using Yukon Gold potatoes feel free to leave the skins on to pump up vitamin intake.

  1. Peel and chop potatoes. Then cook them in salted water for about 10 minutes. Once they are cooked, drain them. Then mash them with half the butter and 1/4 cup of milk. Season with salt and pepper. When the mashed potatoes are done, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the leeks and mushrooms over medium high heat in the remaining butter for about 5 minutes. Then add carrots for 2 minutes.
  3. After that, stir in the flour and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling add the sage, mustard, chicken and peas. Season with salt and pepper and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Add enough chicken broth so that the mixture doesn’t dry out and maintains a creamy consistency.
  4. When mixture is done pour it into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. To complete the dish, spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top of the casserole.
  5. Bake uncovered in an oven preheated t 350F for about 30 minutes.

I hope you enjoy making these variations of traditional Irish recipes. If you have any requests for additional traditional Irish recipes, please let me know and I will try to add them. Also. for information on traveling to Ireland, check out our favorite travel writer, Rick Steves.

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