While my Irish ancestors passed along their fair skin, blue eyes and monikers to future generations, their St. Patrick’s Day menu remains a mystery. My mom and dad adopted the Irish-American tradition of serving corned beef and cabbage on March 17 but now that I have my own family, I don’t stop there!
Corned Beef and Beyond
Corned beef is made from brisket that’s been cured or pickled in brine. The Wellshire Farms pre-packaged corned beef brisket Whole Foods Market sells is based on a slow-cooked recipe that has been passed down for generations and relies on simple ingredients like water, sea salt, raw sugar, beet powder, spices and garlic. (The beet powder adds a sweet flavor, as well as a pinkish color.)
Alternatively, some of our stores offer in-store cured beef brisket. Our brining technique yields a deliciously authentic and tender corned beef. Since we don’t add any sodium nitrates or nitrites, the brining process results in the beef taking on a grayish hue.
Tip: Corned beef and cabbage makes a fantastic hash with eggs the following morning for breakfast.
Remember, all meat in our meat department must meet these requirements:
No antibiotics, ever
No animal byproducts in feed
No added hormones (Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goat, veal and bison. We don’t allow them in beef or lamb, either.)
Plus, the 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating opens in a new tab is your way of knowing how the animals were raised for the meat you are buying. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey in our fresh meat case are currently rated.
Since those childhood days of corned beef and cabbage, I’ve widened my scope of acceptable St. Patrick’s Day entrées to include stews, soups, meat pies and more.
Searching for inspiration? Here are a few mouth-watering ideas:
Celebrating with Kids
With two kids, our celebration has an emphasis on wearing a lot of green (or else you’ll get pinched!) and eating green foods. Green Smoothies for breakfast will be a vibrant start to our day, and the kids’ lunches will include green grapes and peas. For dinner we’re thinking of making kid-friendly Bangers and Mash opens in a new tab (sausages, potatoes and peas or in this recipe, edamame). Here are some other ideas for "green goodness" opens in a new tab in the kitchen.
Included in my family’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration this year will be currant-studded Irish soda bread opens in a new tab. If you’re not familiar with soda bread, it looks like an oversized scone. Earn extra applause by serving it with Irish butter and your favorite preserve. This gluten-and wheat-free version of Irish Soda Bread opens in a new tab is flavorful and crumbly (but not too dry).
I know. You can’t imagine St. Patrick’s Day without a glass of your favorite rich and creamy Irish stout. And I get it — me either. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you need in the fridge. From strong and rich full-bodied brews to lighter crisper lagers, Whole Foods Market stores have a wide selection of offerings — including regional and craft beers too.
Tip: St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can make for a long day and night, so a session beer, with its lower alcohol content, might be just the thing.
For years, I’ve had great intentions of making a stout float (stout + vanilla, chocolate or coffee ice cream) or a stout chocolate cake, but the temptation of enjoying a irresistible stout as-is always gets the best of me. Maybe this year?
Tell me about your St. Patrick’s Day menu. Do you stick to tradition or try new dishes each year?