Real Irish food for St Patrick’s Day: Eight recipes to celebrate our national day with

Irresistible dishes from Paul Flynn, the Happy Pear, Lilly Higgins, Carmel Somers and more

Hands up who will be eating corned beef and cabbage tomorrow. Hmm. Despite what our American cousins think, it won’t feature on many dinner tables on these shores as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Much more likely there will be a big joint of bacon, or ham, with cabbage, kale or, better still, colcannon on the side. Our head chef Paul Flynn turns a rack of bacon and a head of Savoy cabbage into something worthy of a celebratory feast.

Now that pasta is practically an Irish national dish, the chef Brian McDermott takes bacon and cabbage and turns it into an Irish-Italian dinner that can be on the table in 15 minutes.

The food writer, film-maker and photographer Imen McDonnell takes the same two ingredients and brings a multicultural spin with her recipe for bacon and cabbage potstickers.


Perhaps it’s chowder you’ll be hankering after tomorrow, to remind you of Ireland’s wonderful seafood, blustery spring walks and a visit to the pub for a big steaming bowlful. Carmel Somers’s version has a piece of carrageen added, to amplify the taste of the ocean, but you could add any dried sea vegetable, now fairly widely available.

The vegetarian chowder created by the Happy Pear twins, Stephen and David Flynn, could be the Irish flag in a bowl, with its vibrant green, white and orange palette. Samphire is becoming easier to find, often stocked alongside packets of fresh herbs in supermarkets, and at fishmongers.

If you’re looking for a kitchen project to keep you occupied tomorrow, you could have a go at chef Gary O’Hanlon’s kale and ham-hock terrine, in which you’ll also learn how to make his version of salad cream. An afternoon well spent.

Or perhaps it’s a more easy-paced family lunch, or dinner side dish, that will be your nod to Irish food traditions on our national day, in which case Lilly Higgins’s colcannon baked potatoes may fit the bill.

And for dessert, or afternoon tea, Vanessa Greenwood’s Irish whiskey cake is just about perfect for the day that’s in it. But you’ll have to get going on that one today, as the boozy dried fruit, butter and sugar mixture has to macerate for nine hours in total.

Or maybe it’s the perfect Irish coffee that will round off your St Patrick’s Day celebration of Irish food and drink. You can read about how to make the perfect Irish coffee here.