St. Patrick's Day is about more than wearing lots of green and getting plastered—it's also about having a hearty Irish meal first. In all seriousness, though, no matter how you celebrate, a great dinner is central to the holiday. From corned beef and mashed potatoes to stout-battered onion rings and one jaw-droppingly rich Irish coffee ice cream, we've put together a menu of rib-sticking fare that'll keep you going full steam ahead all evening long.
Want more variety? See our full collection of 19 Irish recipes for St. Patrick's Day!
Corned Beef Brisket, Potatoes, Cabbage, and Carrots
It's too late to start corning your own beef for St. Patrick's Day, but that doesn't mean you can't make the best of a store-bought corned beef brisket. Our recipe calls for cooking the meat in a Dutch oven for a whopping 10 hours, guaranteeing incredibly tender, moist meat. Ideally, get started a day in advance to allow the beef to cool in its cooking liquid—it'll be even more flavorful if you do. That way, you'll also be able to cut the beef while it's still cold, so you can get nice, even slices. Then, when it comes time to eat, all you'll need to do is simmer cabbage, carrots, and potatoes in a pan and gently reheat the beef in some of its cooking liquid. Just make sure to save some, so you can make this awesome corned beef hash.
What's that? You're a vegetarian?!? Look no further than this Irish Cheddar Fondue With Stout and Whiskey.
Guinness Beef Stew
In most versions of this pub favorite, the mild, roasted character of Guinness is completely lost by the time the stew's long cook is complete. Adding a couple of surprise ingredients—strong brewed coffee and bittersweet chocolate—helps to reinforce the beer's flavors, and savory powerhouses, like soy sauce and Asian fish sauce, make this hearty stew taste especially meaty, without intruding at all on the overall flavor profile.
Real Irish Soda Bread
When traditionally made, soda bread bears no resemblance to an oversize muffin or oddly bland scone, no matter what some latter-day recipes would have you believe. Relying on an old-school formula of nothing more than flour, baking soda, salt, and lots of buttermilk, this recipe produces a beautiful, deeply burnished loaf, with a satisfyingly crackly crust. Minimal handling of the hyper-hydrated dough will lead to a craggier, more rustic crust, while an extra 20 seconds or so of stirring results in a smoother, better-risen bread. Either way, a slice or two makes a perfect accompaniment to your corned beef or bowl of stew.
Stout-Battered Onion Rings
Onion rings may not be part of the Irish culinary canon, but stout's totally fair game, right? This recipe capitalizes on the bold, rich flavor of stout for the batter, adding paprika, honey, and mustard for some sweetness and spice. The result? All the greasy crispness of your typical onion ring, plus some actual flavor to round things out.
There's mashed potatoes, and then there's champ, mashed potatoes' creamier, scallion-studded cousin. Enriched with butter and milk, seasoned with salt and pepper, and finished with sliced scallions, it's extra zesty and rich. This recipe happens to include cooking instructions for sausages as well, but you can certainly omit those if you already have a main course in mind. And if you just want to stick with a simpler mash, worry not! You can find a recipe for ultra-fluffy mashed potatoes right this way.
Irish Coffee Ice Cream
This Irish coffee–inspired dessert is loaded with buttery caramel, roasty coffee grounds, and a generous pour of Irish whiskey. It's a sweet and creamy, pleasantly bitter, faintly smoky, all-around jolting combination. Each serving is finished off with a crunchy garnish of candied pecans and shaved dark chocolate for good measure.
For those interested in forgoing the green-tinged beer in favor of something stiffer, we've got eight Irish whiskey cocktails to lend a little inspiration. Bottoms up!