We had a St. Pat's party with a friend's Home Ec class a few weeks ago. Of course we explained the whole St. Pat's thing and how it's really more of an American holiday now. The Irish don't really do anything more for St. Pat's than for any other feast day.
But the traditional dishes we eat on that day are great for teaching students about stewing and braising and other food prep techniques.
They really enjoyed the cooking and all ate the food, even though none of them had had lamb or corned beef before. Here is the recipe for the Irish Stew with Lamb:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 lbs. boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes, or 3 lbs. lamb shoulder chops
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or ¾ teaspoons dried thyme
6 medium potatoes, peeled & slice 2 of them, halve the other 4*
3 cups chicken stock
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
8 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into ½ inch slices
¼ cup pearl barley
¼ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat butter and onions in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the meat, thyme and salt and pepper. Add potatoes, chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. Salt and pepper liberally.
Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and add carrots, barley and heavy cream. Stir well to incorporate.
Cover and return to oven. Bake until the meat is fork-tender and barley is softened, 45 – 60 minutes more. Adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
*The potatoes are cut two different ways so that the sliced ones will break down and thicken the stew. The halved potatoes will remain intact for eating.
From “The All New, All Purpose Joy of Cooking,” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. Scribner. 1997.