Eight Traditional Irish Winter Recipes

By Leora Mansoor / November 25, 2019
Traditional Irish Winter Recipes, woman cooking chicken

Try out these eight traditional Irish winter recipes that will fill your stomachs and keep you warm this Christmas.

Have you got friends or family visiting soon and want to wow them with some traditional Irish winter recipes to make them gush over how Irish you are and immersed in the culture you’ve become? Well never fear, we’re more than happy to help you spin a web of lies that will fool your loved ones and, you know, make them think you’re doing well here and everything! These traditional Irish winter recipes are warm, wholesome and perfect for the upcoming winter months – but be warned, the recipes that lie ahead are pretty carnivorous…. We promise that an article on vegetarian alternatives is in the pipeline.

1. Colcannon

This traditional Irish recipe of creamy mashed potatoes is a classic staple on any Irish dinner table, so if you’re planning an elaborate Irish ruse then you will probably want to start here. There are many different ways of approaching this creamy dish but there is one mandatory rule: never let your colcannon be crumbly. Like, ever.

traditional Irish winter recipes, colcannon

Time: 45 mins    Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 250g savoy cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 75ml of milk
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Optional: crumbled cooked bacon 
  • Fresh parsley for garnish 

Method:

  1. Peel and dice your potatoes and then add them to a pot of cold water, cover, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  2. Slice your cabbage into fine strips and steam cook until tender. If you do not have a steamer you can boil the cabbage for about ten minutes or until tender. 
  3. Drain the potatoes and then mix it with the butter and milk.
  4. Mash the potatoes, butter and milk until smooth and creamy. If the texture is crumbly – add more milk or butter.
  5. Add in the spring onion, cabbage, seasoning and stir.
  6. Stir in cooked bacon if required and parsley for garnish

2. Beef and Guinness Stew

It doesn’t get more Irish than a good old, warming stew – even more so with this distinguished beery twist. Here’s another warm, comforting traditional Irish recipe to warm you up this winter and fool your dinner guests you’ve gone all Irish. And oh, you’ll need a big pot for this one. 

traditional Irish winter recipes, Guinness stew

Time: 120 mins     Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp of any oil 
  • 1kg shoulder of beef, cut into one-inch chunks
  • 2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • As much garlic as you like, finely sliced
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 500ml of Guinness
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 30g of plain flour

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot until piping hot and fry your meat till nicely brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper as you go. 
  2. Scoop the meat out when done and transfer to a plate, do not drain the juices – they’re important! 
  3. Add another drop of oil to the pot if necessary and fry the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the leftover juices and stir. 
  4. Pour in the Guinness
  5. Add the meat back into the pot and stir.
  6. Add the stock, season to taste and stir it all together. Add the bay leaf, place the lid on and leave your stew to gently simmer until the liquid has reduced and the meat is delicious and tender. This should roughly take 1½ hours
  7. If you want your stew to be thicker transfer the excess liquid from the top into a smaller saucepan and mix in the flour slowly, on a medium heat, until you have the desired effect. Mix back into your main pot.

3. Beef and Guinness Pie

The above stew actually provides the perfect foundations for a beautiful beef and Guinness pie. You will need the exact same ingredients as listed in the prior recipe, plus the ingredients for the pastry, all of which are listed below.  

traditional Irish winter recipes, Guinness pie

Time: 150minutes   Serves: 6

Ingredients: 

  • 1-2 tbsp of oil (whatever kind you like)
  • 1kg shoulder of beef, cut into one-inch chunks
  • 2 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • As much garlic as you like, finely sliced
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 500ml of Guinness
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 30g of plain flour
  • 2 sheets of ready to roll puff pastry
  • A little butter to grease the baking dish
  • 1 egg to brush

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot until piping hot and fry your meat till nicely brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper as you go. 
  2. Scoop the meat out when done and transfer to a plate, do not drain the juices – they’re important! 
  3. Add another drop of oil to the pot if necessary and fry the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the leftover juices and stir. 
  4. Pour in the Guinness
  5. Add the meat back into the pot and stir.
  6. Add the stock, season to taste and stir it all together. Add the bay leaf, place the lid on and leave your stew to gently simmer until the liquid has reduced and the meat is delicious and tender. This should roughly take 1½ hours
  7. If you want your stew to be thicker transfer the excess liquid from the top into a smaller saucepan and mix in the flour slowly, on a medium heat, until you have the desired effect. Mix back into your main pot.
  8. It is important your stew is not too wet or it will disintegrate the pastry. 
  9. Grease a baking dish with butter – the size is your preference – you could make lots of small pies in separate small ceramic pots, or in one largeish tray. 
  10. Lay one sheet of puff pastry inside and press the pastry along the sides of the tray up to the rim. 
  11. Fill with the beef and Guinness mix and place the second layer of puff pastry on top and pinch the edges of the two pastry sheets together.
  12. Cut one or two holes in the top pastry to allow steam escape and then brush all over with egg.
  13. Place the pie into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry has risen and is a crisp golden colour.

4. Roast Lamb With Rosemary, Garlic and Pesto

This flavoursome dish is the perfect combination of festive and classic. This hearty show stopper is one of the most versatile additions to your arsenal of traditional Irish winter recipes. It is suitable for any occasion (apart from vegan conventions perhaps), from Sunday roasts to Christmas dinners and casual dinner parties.

traditional Irish winter recipes, roast lamb

Time: 120      Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the lamb:

  • 1 leg of lamb, on the bone (roughly 2½ kg to serve 6-8)
  • As much garlic as you like, sliced finely
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp of oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the wild garlic pesto: (optional)

  • As much garlic as you like, minced 
  • 50g of pine nuts
  • 75g of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 350ml of extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 
  2. Place the lamb in a roasting dish and make a number of incisions over the lamb and stuff the rosemary and garlic in the holes. 
  3. Drizzle with oil and generously season 
  4. Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes per ever 500g/1lb for medium-rare or longer if you prefer your meat more well done. 

Optional: 

  1. For the pesto place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. 

5. Boxty

Boxty is essentially a potato pancake made up of last night’s mashed potatoes and fried with leftover veg. Don’t worry however if you didn’t have mashed potatoes or veg the night before, it’s perfectly okay to make this traditional Irish dish from scratch (your dinner guests will never know). This dish is super easy to make in vast quantities and will go perfectly with your favourite dips and garnishes. 

traditional Irish winter recipes, boxty

Serves: 4     Time: 30 minutesIngredients:

  • 250g of raw potatoes, grated 
  • 250g of leftover mash
  • 250g of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/4 cup of milk 
  • Butter or oil for frying
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced (optional)
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

Method:

  1. Put the mashed potato, raw grated potato, flour, baking soda and spring onions in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly combined. 
  2. Slowly stir in the milk until you have a pancake-like batter.
  3. Season to taste with sea salt and ground black pepper.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat with the butter or oil. When the butter begins to foam, spoon heaped tablespoons of the mixture into the frying pan and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. 
  5.  If you fancy, you can melt some grated cheese into them once they’ve been turned for that extra dimension of flavour.
  6. Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the oil before eating.

6. Dublin Coddle

A coddle is a traditional Irish recipe that can basically be anything. The dish, which originated in Dublin, is traditionally made up of any leftovers you may have from the week, thrown together in a big pot and left to simmer on the hob for a couple of hours. The beauty of this traditional Irish dish is that it can be whatever you want it to be, so those pesky dinner guests of yours can’t say a thing.

Traditional warming Irish Recipes, Dublin Coddle

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Serves: 4      Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6-8 bacon rashers, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into small slices
  • 8 sausages
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 100g pearl barley
  • A good handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • A generous helping of butter

Method:

  1. Fry the bacon and sausages on a medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  2. Place the onions across the base of a casserole dish with the bay leaf, bacon, sausages, pearl barley and finish with a layer of potatoes. Pour the stock over it and place the dish, covered, on a high heat and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220˚C/425°/Gas Mark 7.
  4. Remove the lid and dot the potatoes with butter. Season to taste and transfer the casserole dish to the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden brown.
  5. Add parsley for garnish if desired!

7. Guinness Mustard

Here is a delightful dish that would go perfectly with your freshly made boxty. If you couldn’t wait and have already eaten your boxty, never fear! This unique dip can be used to brighten up any sandwich. Even if you don’t like mustard, give this recipe a try – you may be surprised. Not that everything’s about you.

traditional Irish winter recipes, Guinness mustard

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Time: 10 minutes   Serves: 6 

Ingredients:

  • 175g of coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of regular Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of Guinness
  • 1 tablespoon of minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon of golden brown sugar

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and blend.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. 

8. Shepherd’s Pie 

If you really want to pull out the big guns and go for something all comforting, super traditional and wonderfully warming, we’ve saved the best of our traditional Irish winter recipes till last, for those special ones who read all the way through… Shepherd’s pie is the ultimate blend of creamy potatoes, veg and meat to warm you up and fill you up and make you feel wholesome. 

traditional Irish winter recipes, shepherd's pie

CC BY 2.0

Time: 90 mins    Serves: 4

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 of medium carrots, chopped
  • 700g of minced lamb or Quorn/meat substitute
  • 2 tbsp of thyme, roughly chopped
  • 400ml of beef stock (or veg option)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 800g of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 75g of butter
  • 100ml of milk
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

Method:

  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and soften the onion and carrots over a medium for 5-6 minutes. 
  2. Turn up the heat and allow the pan to get hot before you add the minced lamb/meat substitute and thyme. 
  3. Pour over the stock and stir through the tomato purée, peas and Worcestershire sauce until combined. Bring to a steady simmer, then partially cover and cook for 45 mins.
  4. For the mash topping, add the potato chunks to a pot of cold water, cover, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water and add the butter and milk. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy.
  6. Add in the spring onions and season with sea salt and ground black pepper to the mash and stir
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and transfer the lamb and veg mix to an ovenproof baking dish and cover with the mash. 
  8. Bake for 25 mins until the top starting turning a beautiful brown colour
How many of these traditional Irish winter recipes have you made? Which ones are you most excited to make? Let us know in the comments section below and share your creations! Happy cooking!
About the author

Leora Mansoor

Leora is a freelance journalist who is currently working for Babylon Radio, covering all things current and cultural

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