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Traditional Irish Recipes

Irish Stew

This dish is well known all over the world. The traditional recipe calls for mutton, potatoes and onions. Nowadays you will find lamb has replaced mutton, with carrots and pearl barley added for extra colour and interest. A good Irish Stew should be thick and creamy, not swimming in juice.

The traditional recipe is as follows:

750g (11/2lb) potatoes
1kg (2lb) gigot chops or Breast of mutton.
Chopped parsley and thyme
5 medium onions, Salt and pepper, 375ml (3/4pt) water

To Cook: Trim the meat and cut into fairly large pieces. Peel and slice the potatoes and onions. Put layers of potatoes, meat and onion with seasoning into a large pot, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour the liquid over and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about two hours or bake in a slow oven Gas 2/150°C/300°F. Check during cooking, adding more liquid if necessary.


This dish goes well with boiled bacon or red meat. It can also be eaten on its own with an extra knob of butter on top.

450g (1lb) cooked potatoes
1 small onion
225g (1/2lb) cooked green cabbage
2 tablespoons cream
50g (2oz) butter
Salt and pepper

To Cook: Chop cooked cabbage roughly. Chop onion and cook gently in the butter until soft. Drain the potatoes, season and beat well. Add cooked onion and cream. Fold in the cabbage. Serve hot.

Irish Soda Bread

Wherever you go in Ireland you can always count on being served traditional Irish Soda Bread. More often than not it is home made on the day, as it is best eaten fresh. There must be a thousand and one ways of making this bread, as families pass their “special” recipe down through the generations. This is a simple and quick version that is easy to make. Serve with lashings of good Irish Butter.


300g (10oz) coarse wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g (6oz) plain white flour (sieved)
1/2 teaspoon salt
250ml (1/2pt) buttermilk or plain live yoghurt and milk 50/50

Soda Fruit Bread:

Mix 3/4 cup of sultanas with the dry ingredients and continue as per Brown Soda Bread. Optional - brush the top with milk and sprinkle a little sugar on top before baking.

To Cook: Sieve all the dry ingredients together (except the coarse wholemeal flour) and make a well in the centre. Add enough of the liquid to make thick dough. Mix well with a wooden spoon, bringing the flour from the sides to the centre. Add more milk if the mixture seems too stiff. Lift the mixture on to a lightly floured board and kneed lightly. Flatten the dough into a circle and put on a baking sheet, scoring the top with a knife in the form of a cross. Bake in a moderate oven at Gas 6/200°C/400°F for about 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and “knock” on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s done.

Potato Bread

This is usually served with breakfast as part of the traditional “Ulster Fry”.

225g (8oz) warm mashed potatoes
25g (1oz) Irish butter
50g (2oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

To Cook: Add the butter and salt to the warm mashed potatoes. Work in the flour to make a dough. Split the mix in two and roll on a floured board into two circles about 1/2cm (1/4”) thick. Cut the circles into quarters and bake on a lightly greased hot griddle or heavy pan until browned on both sides - about 5 to 6 minutes. This is also delicious served warm with Maple Syrup or with sugar and a little lemon wedge.

Yellow Man

This particularly delicious confection is a Northern Ireland speciality. It is traditionally sold at the “Oul’ Lammas Fair”, Ireland’s oldest traditional market fair.

11/2 cups golden syrup
1 cup brown sugar
50g (2oz) Irish butter
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda

Take great care with this one as boiling sugar can be very dangerous!

To Cook: Gently mix the syrup, sugar, butter and vinegar together in a large saucepan. Then bring it slowly to the boil (do not stir). Boil until a drop hardens in cold water, then carefully stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up when the soda goes in!
Pour out on to a lightly greased slab and when cool enough to handle, work the edges into the centre. Keep doing this until the mixture turns to a pale yellow colour. Pop it into a lightly greased flat tin and leave to cool and set. When cold, break it into bite size chunks with a clean hammer. Bag-it-up, then off you go to the Auld Lammas Fair.


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