The celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, is upon us, and the festivities wouldn’t be complete without traditional Irish food and drink. • Food connects people of different cultures and generations, said Catie McCarthy Niederee, president of the Omaha chapter of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. The Irish Catholic sisterhood organization has been in Omaha since 1894, created to provide a welcoming Irish-American community for women immigrants from Ireland. • Traditions such as cooking food and sharing recipes are important to preserving cultural identities. • “The Irish put a lot of emphasis on family, so being able to gather around the table with food and make memories is a large part our tradition,” McCarthy Niederee said. • Here are traditional Irish must-haves she recommends having this holiday.
» A quick bread using baking soda as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast.
» Ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk; dried fruit, optional.
» Brown bread is a quick bread with whole-grain wheat flour and molasses.
“Soda bread became popular in Ireland because it was inexpensive and easy to make. Brown bread is a really common bread — it is served with breakfast, lunch, dinner and stews.”
» Higher butterfat and less milk content than the average American butter.
» Cows are raised on a hormone free, grass-heavy diet.
“Kerrygold is a brand that you can get here in our grocery stores.”
» A meat and root vegetable soup that traditionally includes lamb or mutton.
» Ingredients: marbled chuck beef stew meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and parsley.
» A fried, potato pancake often served with fish and cream.
» Ingredients: grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and egg, optional.
» A meat pie with a topping of mashed potatoes.
» Ingredients: minced meat (beef, “cottage pie,” or lamb, “shepherd’s pie”) in gravy with onions, peas, celery and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes and grated cheese, optional
Phillip Bauersachs of Omaha is of Irish decent and serves as a board member on the Omaha chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He’s also a distributor for Anchor Beverage Company of Omaha. Bauersachs recommends the following Irish beverages.
» Guinness: a dry stout originated by Arthur Guinness in the 1750s and brewed in Dublin, Ireland.
» Harp: a lager created by Guinness in 1960 and brewed in Dundalk, Ireland; it is most popular in the northern province of Ulster.
» Smithwick’s: a red ale-style beer created in the 1700s, originally brewed in Kilkenny, Ireland, and now brewed in Dublin, Ireland.
Others: Magners Cider or O’Hara’s Irish Red.
» Donegal Estates: smooth and aged in bourbon barrels; founded in the 1930s and distilled in County Louth, Ireland.
» Tullamore Dew: a lighter, easy drinking whiskey; established in the 1820s and distilled in Tullamore, Ireland.
» Redbreast 12 Years: an award-winning, single pot whiskey; established in the 1850s and distilled in Dublin, Ireland.
» Others: Jameson and Kilbeggan.
» A warm beverage made with hot coffee, Irish whiskey and sugar, topped with thick cream.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soad
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon sugar
1¼ cup buttermilk
2/3 cup golden raisins
Heat oven to 400 F.
Sift flour, salt, soda and cream of tartar into mixing bowl. Sir in sugar, raisins and buttermilk mixing to form a firm, soft dough.
Knead gently on a floured board. Form into a flatbread round. Cut a deep cross on the top and brush the top with milk.
Place on a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Loaf is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove, wrap in a damp cloth, and turn on its side to cool.
Credit: Katie Drelicharz/Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Omaha