How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (deliciously) in the kitchen

Bread, knife and sauce
Ireland’s national dish is rashers and cabbage, smoked pork chops, shoulder, or even smoked turkey work equally well. Serve with potatoes and Irish Soda Bread. Here's the recipe.
Beth Dooley

With rain and snow in the forecast, maybe you're looking for a quieter way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year.

James Beard Award-winner and cookbook author Beth Dooley joined us on All Things Considered with some ideas.

And a bonus for those who observe Lent? One dish includes meat, which bishops across much of the state have OK'd for the holiday, which falls on Friday. 

Traditional Irish Rashers & Champ with Parsley Sauce 

Serves 4 to 6 

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Ireland’s national dish is rashers and cabbage, smoked pork chops, shoulder, or even smoked turkey work equally well. Serve with potatoes and Irish Soda Bread (recipe below). If you have extra parsley sauce, save it in a covered jar in the refrigerator to drizzle over chicken, vegetables, or fish and use within about 3 to 4 days. 


  • Approx. 1 pound smoked pork shoulder, smoked pork chops, or smoked turkey leg 

  • 1 large head Savoy or green cabbage cut into large wedges 

  • 1 tablespoon butter 

  • Freshly ground black pepper 

  • Approx 1-1/2 to 2 pounds waxy potatoes (red B, Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, etc) 

  • Parsley sauce 

  • 1 tablespoon butter 

  • ¼ cup chopped shallot 

  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus a little whole milk if needed 

  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish 

  • 1 sprig thyme 

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Put the meat into a deep pot and cover with cold water. Slowly bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, skimming off any white foam that rises to the surface, for about 20 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir and simmer until the cabbage and meat are very tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. 

To make the parsley sauce: Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, parsley, and thyme and simmer, stirring constantly for about 2 to 3 minutes, adding a little whole milk if it seems too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

To serve the dish, lift the meat from the pot and cut into chunks, removing any rind, skin, or fat. Strain the cabbage, dot with butter, and season with ground pepper. Serve the meat and cabbage, and boiled potatoes or champ (if using), and drizzle all with the parsley sauce.  


Serves 4 to 6 

  • 4 to 6 floury or Idaho potatoes 

  • 6 scallions, trimmed, white and pale green part, chopped 

  • 1/2 cup whole milk, or more if needed 

  • 3 tablespoons butter 

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Peel the potatoes, place in a pot and add enough water to cover by 1-inch. Add enough salt so that the water tastes “briny.” Set over high heat, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Place the scallions, milk, butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper into a saucepan, set over medium heat, and cook until the butter is melted. Reduce the heat to low. 

Drain the potatoes of excess water. Mash in the milk and scallion mixture thoroughly and season to taste. 

Soda Bread 

Makes one 7-inch round loaf 

  • 1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a little more for sprinkling 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 

  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats 

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

  • 1 teaspoon salt 

  • ¼ cup, 4 tablespoons, cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 

  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (not Greek-style) 

  • 1 tablespoon honey 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly sprinkle flour over a baking sheet or cast iron skillet. 

Whisk together the flours, oats, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and toss to coat with the flour and then use your finger-tips to work it into a coarse meal. In a small dish, stir together the buttermilk and honey, then add this to the dough and stir until it is evenly moistened but still lumpy. 

Using floured hands, form the dough into a ball and pat out into a 7-inch round on the floured baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Cut a shallow X in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.  

Bake the bread until golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack before slicing.