A Few Traditional Irish Recipes

I recently picked up an interesting cookbook at a used book sale:  George L. Thomson’s Traditional Irish Recipes.  Thomson apparently traveled all over the country to select the most traditional representations of the nation’s cuisine.  Hearty and relatively straightforward in preparation, many of these recipes make great additions to your kitchen arsenal.  I’ve decided to present a few of them here.  The average person may find it difficult to obtain traditional Irish ingredients like eel, cockles, nettle tops, and carragheen moss, so I’ve made an effort to pick recipes that are likely to be more practical.  I’ve prepared each of these dishes and can tell you that they are very good.

Leek and Potato Soup (Anraith preataí agus cainneann)

Leeks are a great vegetable to have in a soup, and when you combine them with potatoes, you get a very satisfying dish that is practically a meal in itself.  I’ve eaten this both hot and cold.

1 lb potatoes

1 lb leeks

2 pints stock (chicken or beef)

2 tblsp heavy cream

1 oz butter

1 cup croutons

1 stick celery

Dice the potatoes and chop up the leeks and celery.  Melt the butter in a pan, and add the vegetables and toss thoroughly.  Replace the lid and cook lightly for at least 5 minutes without sizzling.  Add the stock.  Half milk and water will serve if you have no stock.  Season to taste, and simmer for about an hour.  Fry a cupful of croutons and whip the cream.  Place croutons in a soup tureen and pour in the soup.  Stir in the whipped cream and serve immediately.


Crubeens (Cruibini)

1 dozen pig’s trotters

1 carrot

1 onion

1 bay leaf

Thyme and parsley

Salt and pepper

Take a large saucepan and in it place te pig’s feet, one large carrot and one large onion cut up roughly, the bay leaf, thyme and parsley, and add sufficient water to cover completely.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Crubeens can be served hot or cold.  When cold, they will be in a savory jelly.  Soda bread and a glass of good stout (I recommend a good oatmeal stout) are traditional accompaniments to this dish.


Wicklow Pancake (Pancoga chille mhantain)

4 eggs

2 cups white breadcrumbs

1 pint milk

1 oz butter

Chopped scallions

Parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper

Beat the eggs, then add the milk, breadcrumbs, scallions and herbs.  Season to taste.  Melt the butter and pour over the mixture.  Allow to set over a low heat, and when firm enough, turn over and cook on the other side.


Corned Beef and Cabbage (Mairteoil shaillte agus cabaiste)

4 lbs corned beef

1 large cabbage

1 large carrot

Thyme and parsley

1 tsp dry mustard

Cloves, salt, pepper

Place the corned beef in a large saucepan.  Add the carrot, sliced; the whole onions, one stuck with a few cloves; the mustard and the herbs.  Bring to the boil and skin, then cover and simmer slowly for 45 minutes.  Now add the cabbage, cleaned and cut into quarters.  Cook for about 2 hours, then serve the meat surrounded by the cabbage.  The saved stock may be used as a soup base, and is good with dried peas.


9 thoughts on “A Few Traditional Irish Recipes

  1. My mother does a bitchin take on an Irish lamb stew, 4 lamb gigot chops, flour, salt, pepper, carrots, onions, potatoes. Put cup of flour on bottom of baking dish add salt and pepper. Lightly brown flour in oven. Lay chops over flour. Put back in oven for 10 minutes until juices come out. Remove from oven. Mix in some stock and water to make a light paste with the browned flour. Add back in the chops and thick cut carrots, onions, potatoes pepper and salt and another cup water. Cook slowly at about 180 C. Keep an eye on the consistency of the stew. I like it fairly thick so I can mash in the potatoes and onions. Also the thicker the consistency the more flavourful.


  2. Great peasant food! I live in MA now and Irish-Americans here love their corned beef and cabbage but in Ireland we use pork shoulder, which we call bacon. Thanks for this and the other interesting articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m also from MA originally. Grandparents on mother’s side emigrated from Ireland in the 1930s. I know this food intimately, you might say. I’m wondering if I should post some more recipes. People love this stuff.


  3. These sound delicious. I’ve made some basic Irish Soda Bread in the past and it beats ANY bread you will find in the store. I might have to whip up a batch of that leek and potato soup this weekend. It sounds fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

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