A Taste of Northern Ireland
When planning a trip to Northern Ireland, food is often just a side note to its challenging golf courses, remarkable scenery, and troubled past. While the cuisine is simple, it’s also surprising satisfying, especially when local ingredients are highlighted. Whether dining in a neighborhood pub or up-and-coming restaurant—which the country has plenty of—you’ll find tasty, honest, cooking for a reasonable price. Our recipes are an ode to the North and feature gratifying, hearty dishes that, although not too fancy, are meals you’d be proud to serve company.
*Note--in all of the recipes, we prefer to use Kerrygold butter.
The Ulster Fry is the quintessential dish of Northern Ireland, and it’s a carnivore’s dream: eggs, bacon, black and white puddings, plus two kinds of breads, with all the ingredients fried in bacon fat. Our scones take the best part of the Ulster Fry—bacon and the satisfying crunch of dough—and combines them into a portable treat.
Makes 12 to 14 scones
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Using your fingers, combine butter with dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add cheddar and bacon and stir well. Add milk and cream and stir until combined.
Dust flat surface and your hands with flour and remove dough from bowl. Knead gently and shape into a large circle that is about 3/4-inch thick. Using a 2 or 3-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into scones. (If you do not have a cookie cutter, you can either use a round glass or empty, cleaned metal can to shape scones.) Place circles on baking sheet and allow 1-inch between each scone. Brush each scone lightly with egg.
Gather scraps, reform into a circle that is ¾-inch thick, and repeat process with remaining dough.
Bake in oven until scones are a light golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with additional butter on side.
Whether you have spent a blustery afternoon on the golf course or sheltered inside a pub sampling whiskey or beer, nothing is more satisfying than a bowl of thick, hot soup. Since this soup is even better the next day, as the flavors develop, it’s a no-brainer for a quick bite that takes only a moment to reheat. If the consistency is too thick, thin it with a little water, and serve with bread and a big slab of butter.
Makes 4 servings
In a large stockpot bring water and ham hocks to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 90 minutes. Remove ham hocks from liquid and allow to cool. Slice skin off hocks and cut meat away from bone. Dice meat into small pieces and set aside for later. Reserve ham broth and bones.
In another stockpot, melt butter on medium heat and add carrots, leeks, and celery. Sauté until softened, about 7 minutes. Add bay leaves, peas, ham broth, and bones and bring to a simmer. Cook until peas are tender, about 90 minutes. Remove bones and allow soup to cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup until it is smooth but still retains some texture from peas. Adjust seasoning, return soup to stockpot, heat, and garnish with reserved pieces of ham.
The wild salmon in Ireland is some of the best in the world; with its delicate texture and subtle smoky flavor, it’s the ideal start to a meal. The aggressive flavor of rocket and spicy hint to the cream highlights the fish, and the various colors make a beautiful appetizer or brunch staple.
Makes 4 servings
Chill 4 serving plates.
Combine lemon juice, mustard, honey, and salt in medium glass bowl and whisk until well combined. While whisking, slowly add oil a little at a time, until it has emulsified. After all oil has been incorporated, whisk an additional 10 seconds.
Place 3 to 4 slices of salmon on each chilled plate and sprinkle with chives. Add a dollop of horseradish cream to center of plate.
Mix rocket and tomatoes in separate bowl and add a small amount of vinaigrette to salad. Gently toss and add additional vinaigrette or salt, if needed. Add pepper. Evenly divide salad among the four plates and add next to salmon.
Garnish plates with several pieces of rye toast and serve immediately.
Fishcakes and peas might seem a bit boring, but you’ll be surprised how the ordinary becomes divine with the addition of smoked fish, a hint of mint, and a generous amount of butter. Top the cakes with a bright, acidic sauce, serve with a cold oyster stout, and enjoy this classic meal on a rainy spring evening.
Makes 4 servings
Add mayo, mustard, lemon juice, and capers to small bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap with saran and chill in refrigerator until fish cakes are ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat oil in sauté pan on medium-low. Add leeks, a pinch of salt, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add mint and peas, cover with a lid, and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until mixture is steaming hot. Remove from heat and add mixture to food processor. Pulse until mashed but not pureed, about 30 seconds. Add butter, adjust seasoning, and serve warm.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in sauté pan on medium. Add onion and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add parsley and lemon zest and remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add flaked fish, eggs, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, mixture from sauté pan, salt, and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, form fishcakes into rounds about 2-inches wide and 1-inch thick. Dip cakes into bowl with remaining breadcrumbs until coated evenly on all sides.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in sauté pan on medium-low. Working in batches and adding additional butter as needed, sauté cakes until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Place cakes on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven, add a dollop of sauce to fish cakes, and serve with mushy peas.
Meat, potatoes, and butter are what some might consider the trinity of Irish cuisine and all three ingredients are the stars of this dish. If you spend more money and buy an organic, free range chicken, the added expense will pay off in the taste and juiciness of the bird once it is roasted. Stuffing the cavity with lemon and herbs is a simple, quick trick to boost flavor. If you have leftover potatoes, be sure to reheat them with a dash of milk to breathe new life into them the following day.
Makes 5 to 6 servings
Preheat oven to 450˚ F. Remove thyme leaves from two sprigs and reserve. Season cavities with salt and pepper. Add 1 lemon, 2 sprigs of thyme, and 4 sprigs of parsley to each cavity. Truss chickens with kitchen twine and season outside of birds with salt, pepper, and reserved thyme leaves. Place each chicken in an oven-safe sauté pan and put in oven. Bake for 1 hour or until leg meat registers 170˚ F with thermometer.
Remove chicken from sauté pans and place on large platter. (Allow meat to rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving.) Remove and discard most of fat from pans but keep brown bits and consolidate into one pan. Heat pan on stovetop to medium-low. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and reduce until half of liquid is gone. Add chicken stock and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Add juices that have dripped from chicken onto platter to sauté pan and mix. Remove from heat and drizzle sauce on chicken.
In large stockpot, add potatoes and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and pass through a food mill or ricer. Add butter and mix well, until butter has melted. Add milk gradually and stir. (The ideal texture is smooth but not watery.) Season with salt and serve with chicken and sauce.
This traditional Easter treat is delicious in the afternoon with tea or coffee and is an ideal feature of a holiday open house buffet. Paired with a selection of sandwiches, carved ham or turkey, roasted potatoes and vegetables, and candied fruit, these sticky buns will serve as a sweet finish to a slow-paced meal filled with family and friends.
Makes 20 buns
In a bowl, mix together warm (but not hot or boiling) milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and remaining light brown sugar. Using your fingers, crumble cold butter into dry ingredients until the texture resembles coarse meal. Form a well in the center of the mixture. Beat one egg with one egg yolk and place in center of well, along with raisins and zest. Gradually incorporate flour into center of well to form a dough.
Dust a flat surface and your hands with a small amount of flour. Place dough on surface and knead gently, about 8 to 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise about 90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400˚F
Grease two baking sheets. Roll out dough to about 10 inches long, then slice the dough in half vertically. Cut each half into 10 equal pieces, so you have about 20 pieces total. Roll each piece into a circle and place 10 on each baking sheet, allowing about 2 inches of space in between each piece. Allow dough to rise again, about 45 minutes, until pieces have doubled in size.
Combine 1 tablespoon of water with remaining egg yolk. Lightly brush each piece with egg wash and place in oven. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven.
Combine lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl until a glaze has formed. If too thick, add a tablespoon of additional lemon juice or water. Drizzle glaze over top of buns and serve warm.