On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish when it comes to food

Irish soda bread practically fool-proof.
Irish soda bread practically fool-proof. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Even those with no trace of Irish blood are Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

What makes this day so special? Perhaps it is the heritage or the parades or perhaps the comforting foods or the alcoholic beverages.

Think about it, Irish food is comfort food: shepherd’s pie with ground meat and mashed potato topping, corned beef hash, cabbage and corned beef and colcannon. These dishes fairly shout about home-cooked dinners around the table and lively family discussions.

Even my 5-year-old granddaughter enjoys sitting at the dining table; it makes the meal taste better.

Now for St. Patrick’s Day, she is certain that leprechauns are little green men who play tricks. I tried to explain that wee folk are not green but are pictured in green suits.

Where she gets her ideas, I am not quite sure, but she associates leprechauns with St. Paddy’s Day. Perhaps it is because she likes to eat Lucky Charms cereal right out of the box.

Of course, this picky eater probably will not try shepherd’s pie or Irish soda bread, but one day we hope she will come to enjoy these foods, too.

I am sharing a few favorite recipes today, and easy skillet shepherd’s pie, my favorite Irish soda bread and corned beef hash.

My grandmother made corned beef hash from a can of corned beef, and added cubed potatoes, onions and seasonings. She would serve this diner-style with eggs. As a child, I loved it, but then I liked the canned corned beef just on a sandwich. Now, I probably wouldn’t touch it. I like a good, spicy corned beef.

This corned beef hash with eggs has that spicy taste. Cajun seasoning is used in it.

Irish soda bread is practically fool-proof. It is easy, another plus for this bread. More than 150 years ago, bread was made with baking soda instead of yeast in Ireland. At that time, the type of flour needed for yeast breads was scarce in Ireland, so soda was used to leaven the bread, according to a 2003 article in Family Fun magazine.

While the following shepherd’s pie recipe uses ground beef, the dish can be made with leftover roast beef, another money-saving idea.


The National Garden Bureau has named 2018 the Year of the Beet, according to Beth Heidel, NGB membership chairman who read my column on beets in the Bradenton Herald.

The root veggie has captured the attention of chefs, home chefs, nutritionists and the health conscious. As a superfood, beets keep gaining in popularity for the high Vitamin A and C content, folic acid, iron, potassium and antioxidants.


“I found this years ago in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine,” said Rose Marie Luke of Gautier

This is an old-time non-alcoholic eggnog. Of course, bourbon or whiskey can be added to it.

Note: Since the egg whites are not cooked, I would suggest using pasteurized eggs.


What are you serving for Passover or Easter? Share your ideas and recipes with fellow readers. Is it the traditional roast lamb or brisket for Passover or the ham or lamb for Easter? Fresh veggies should be coming in, so what are the side dishes?

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, chilled

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups butter milk or plain yogurt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Cut in the butter until it is pea-sized. Stir in the raisins and buttermilk or yogurt. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, knead 1 minute and shape into a disk.

Cut an X in the top and bake on a greased baking sheet for 45 to 50 minutes.

Makes one 8-inch-wide loaf.

Note: I love to serve this bread with lemon curd. So good.

Family Fun magazine

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

1 pound ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups frozen corn, thawed

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

1/2 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup sour cream

3 1/2 cups mashed potatoes, prepared with milk and butter

3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the corn, peas, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve bouillon in boiling water. Combine cornstarch and sour cream until smooth; stir into beef mixture until blended. Add bouillon mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook and stir until thickened.

Spread mashed potatoes over the top; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook until potatoes are heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

Taste of Home magazine in 2009

Cajun Corned Beef Hash

6 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup each finely chopped green onions, sweet red pepper and green pepper

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked corned beef

1 tablespoon white vinegar

8 eggs

Additional Cajun seasoning and hot pepper sauce, optional

In a large skillet, cook hash browns in butter until almost tender. Stir in onions, peppers and seasonings. Cook until hash browns are lightly browned, and peppers are tender. Add corned beef; heat through.

Meanwhile, in a skillet with high sides, bring 2 to 3 inches of water and vinegar to a boil. Reduce, heat; simmer gently. For each egg, bread cold egg into a custard cup or saucer. Hold the cup close to the surface of the water and slip the egg into simmering water.

Cook 4 eggs at a time, uncovered, until whites are completely set, and yolks begin to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove each egg. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Serve over hash mixture. Sprinkle with additional Cajun seasoning and serve with hot pepper sauce if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Editor’s Note: if poaching eggs using a metal poaching insert, increase poaching time to 6 to 7 minutes.

“The Taste of Home Cookbook”


1/2 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

4 cups milk

3 egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or rum flavoring

Beat 1/2 cup sugar into egg yolks and stir in milk. Cook in heavy saucepan until mixture coats the spoon, stirring constantly. Cool.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add in 1/4 cup sugar; beat well. Add to custard with flavoring. Mix well and chill for 4 hours.

Submitted by Rose Marie Luke