Corned Beef and Cabbage with a side of Irish Soda Bread is undeniably delicious, but adventurous diners may not be “wowed” to see it on your menu this St. Patrick’s Day. After all, they’ve had it before! Infuse a little excitement into your “luckiest” menu by trying a new direction this year, whether you reach back into Irish history or look forward to its new generation of inspiring chefs.
Traditional: Dublin Coddle
“I never ate corned beef and cabbage until I moved here,” says Irish-American chef, Luke Kyle, who heads up The Draft Horse and The Anchor Fish & Chips in Minneapolis. If you want to aim for a bit more authenticity (and a name that’s fun for your servers to say), consider serving something else as your St. Patrick’s Day special this year, like Dublin Coddle.
It’s a dish that’s will capture any operator or chef’s heart, since it began as a way to use up whatever leftovers were in the kitchen. And it’s got some high-flying literary connections, too, since many of James Joyce’s characters tucked into it during his stories and novels. The slow-simmer version of Irish comfort food usually includes pork, bacon, potatoes and onion (recipe below).
New: “This is Irish Food”
There’s been a movement within Ireland to celebrate the accomplishments of its new breed of high-flying chefs who celebrate Irish food and the people and places who make it. As Marie Claire Digby says in an Irish Times article: “Cooking with wonderful Irish ingredients, respectful of tradition and terroir but openly embracing modernity, a new generation of Irish chefs is putting the spotlight on world-beating produce and talent.”
Irish celebrity chef Rachel Allen has said that much of what is “new” about Irish food involves going back to its roots and celebrating traditional ingredients. For example, there’s the iconic potato, of which Allen says: “There is no denying the fact that we have fantastic spuds.” She extols the joys of the traditional dish called Colcannon: “I love a buttery mashed potato with shredded and cooked kale or dark green leafy cabbage stirred through.”
If you’d like to see what some of these chefs are cooking, follow This is Irish Food on Twitter or Facebook. Or check out the work of Allen, Kevin Dundon or Darina Allen, founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork.