St. Patrick's Day: Your Guide to Irish Eats

PHOTO: Emeril's braised cabbage with corned beef hash is shown here.
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St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, and restaurants are preparing by offering Irish specials like bangers and mash or black pudding. Not exactly sure what you’re ordering, though? Click through for explanations of traditional Irish fare. And as the Irish say, “Slainte!” (Cheers!)

PHOTO: Emeril's braised cabbage with corned beef hash is shown here.
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Ireland has a rich history exporting this salty meat product which became popular since the cured meat keeps longer. Corned beef is made by brining beef brisket in water, sugar, salt and seasonings for a week or more. It’s then typically simmered for two to three hours until meltingly tender and served with braised cabbage.

PHOTO: Rachel Allen's Irish soda bread is shown here.
Courtesy Lis Parsons

No, not soda as in the drink. Soda as in baking soda, which leavens this bread instead of yeast, creating a denser product. Raisins and nuts are also commonly added for a sweet flavor.

PHOTO: Gourmet Comfort's beef and Guinness pie is shown here.
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Stew has a long tradition in Ireland as a way of tenderizing less expensive, but tougher cuts of meat. Adding Guinness for flavor was a natural fit as it’s the country’s top beer.

PHOTO: Smoked salmon
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Salmon plays a big role in Irish mythology, which makes sense since this small island is surrounded by water and thus has excellent access to fresh seafood. Smoking it lends a different flavor and a silkier texture to the meat, as well as extending its shelf life.

PHOTO: Bangers and Mash
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Bangers and Mash

The title is much more intimidating than the actual dish, which is actually just sausage and mashed potatoes and is common on pub menus. While the name “mash” is easy enough to understand for mashed potatoes, bangers has a different explanation: sausages used to be made with a higher water content, and could sometimes explode, or bang, when cooked.

PHOTO: Sliced black pudding
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Black Pudding

More commonly known as blood sausage, black pudding is sausage that’s made with pork blood and oatmeal to bind the meat. In Ireland, it’s often served at breakfast.

PHOTO: Fish and Chips
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Translation: fried battered fish, usually cod or haddock, and French fries, traditionally served with malt vinegar.

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