St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Have you ever thought how oddly we Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? In Ireland, it’s a holy day. But in the states, we celebrate by dyeing everything green, pinching each other, and by drinking green beer and Guiness.
The holiday was started in the states in the 1700s by Irish immigrants, evolving over the years to become what it is now. Even though it may not look like it does in Ireland, Irish descendants actually shaped America’s St. Paddy’s Day celebrations.
Every year I like to make a special dinner for St. Paddy’s Day, as the hubby is half Irish and he’s pretty darn proud of it.
Grandma Devlin’s Handwritten Recipe Book
His grandmother wrote down a bunch of recipes in a notebook years ago, and I’m slowly going through them. Most of them are sweets, some of them are American or Italian, but there are several traditional Irish recipes in there as well.
I love trying to decipher this cookbook, as she used terms we don’t really use today, such as “bake in a quick oven” or a “lump of butter”. Sometimes she doesn’t give any cooking instructions, measurements, or oven temperatures. It’s fun to try them out.
Here are a few other recipes I’ve loved from this book:
The most recent recipe I tried was Grandma Devlin’s Irish Stew. It was so good, the hubby got seconds.
Grandma Devlin used lamb in this recipe. I’m sure it would be so good with lamb, but I can’t find it in Ljubljana. The butcher said he could get me a WHOLE lamb! Which I would totally do if I had a regular freezer (read: Virtual Tour of our Ljubljana Apartment). I’ve been told you can find it sometimes around Easter, which is coming up, so maybe I’ll be able to get it soon. Any Ljubljana locals know where I can score some lamb?
I used beef instead, and it was still incredibly delicious. So you could use either beef or lamb.
At the end of this recipe, Grandma Devlin wrote,
“In Ireland, this stew is served with boiled potatoes with skins on, or garnished with mashed potatoes around the serving dish”.
I went the mashed potatoes route. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did!
P.S. Here’s a behind the scenes shot while I was taking pictures of this dish. While living here in Slovenia, I’ve been photographing recipes in my apartment stairwell. Just keeping it real…
- 2 pounds lamb or beef, cubed into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (divided)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 1 leek stalk
- 1 small cabbage
- 3 stalks celery
- 4-5 very small potatoes, or two regular sized ones
- salt and pepper
- Dredge lamb in flour.
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat, and add butter.
- Sear meat in dutch oven, stirring as necessary.
- Meanwhile, peel potatoes and slice into quarters, and chop all other veggies.
- Add veggies to pot and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Mix 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons flour in a bowl. Add to pot.
- If needed, add a little more water to cover the meat most of the way.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer on low heat, covered with lid slightly ajar, until tender (roughly 2 hours). Stir occasionally and add a little more water if needed. Enjoy!