Special Report

20 Irish Foods Explained Just in Time for St. Patrick’s Day

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6. Brotchán Foltchep

An early Irish recipe — said to have been a favorite of the Irish apostle to Scotland and the north of England, St. Columbkille or Columkille (521-597 A.D.) — combining oatmeal with leeks cooked in butter, along with milk and chicken stock.

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7. Carrageen pudding

A substance called carrageenan (or carrageenan gum) has long been used by the commercial food industry as an emulsifier, thickener, and stabilizer, and is one of the ingredients that figures in the culinary trickery of so-called molecular gastronomy. Carrageen, from which the substance is derived, is centuries-old news to the Irish, though. A kind of seaweed, also known as Irish moss, it has been employed for both medicinal and culinary purposes on the Emerald Isle for centuries. One thing it’s used for is to gel desserts, like the carrageen pudding that’s been served at the acclaimed Ballymaloe House hotel and restaurant since the 1970s.

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8. Champ

Champ is a relative of colcannon (see No. 10). While the latter specialty is mashed potatoes with kale, champ leaves out that leafy green and substitutes scallions or leeks, chives, garlic, parsley, and even sometimes nettles). As with colcannon, milk and butter are definitely involved as well.

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9. Coddle

Also known as Dublin coddle, this is a home-style dish, combining leftover bacon and sausage with onions and potatoes in a kind of stew. Some recipes include barley and carrots. Irish housewives used to prepare coddle during the day and leave it on the stove for their husbands when they came home from a night of drinking at the pub.

10. Colcannon

Aside from simple boiled potatoes eaten with nothing but salt, colcannon is probably the most famous and popular Irish potato dish. It’s simply spuds mashed with kale, milk or cream, and plenty of butter. It’s so well-loved that there’s even a poem about it, probably from the 19th century, that begins “Did you ever eat colcannon ’twas made with yellow cream / And the kale and pratties [potatoes] blended like a picture in a dream?”

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