We are about to begin making our way again through the alphabetical list of state affiliates for providing recipes, but this month, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we have gathered some favorite Irish recipes. So, even if you can't make it to County Down on March 17, you can conduct your own celebration.


Carla McQuillan
Carla Mc Quillan

Corned Beef and Cabbage

by Carla McQuillan


            Carla McQuillan serves as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon and is a member of the NFB Board of Directors. She is also an Irish lass proud of her heritage. She frequently gathers interested Federationists together to sing Irish folk songs, so it's not surprising that she prepares and serves dishes like this traditional Irish favorite, which is amazingly simple and delicious. The key, she says, is to simmer the corned beef for hours and to cook the vegetables in the same pot. Corned beef comes in either a point or a flat cut. The point cut is generally less expensive and more fatty, but no less tasty.



1 corned beef brisket, any size

Red potatoes, halved and cleaned, but not peeled (if you use white potatoes, you will want to peel them)

1 head of green cabbage, cored and quartered


            Method: Place the corned beef in a large pot or slow cooker. Add enough water to cover the meat. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for at least four hours. Add the potatoes about thirty to forty minutes before desired meal time. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the beef and add the cabbage to cook till tender. The beef must rest for at least ten minutes before cutting. Slice the meat across the grain. Serve with mustard for the beef and vinegar for the cabbage. Note: Leftover corned beef and potatoes may be ground or chopped finely for hash. Serve corned beef hash for breakfast with eggs and toast.

                                                                  Irish Ale Stew

                                                              by Carla McQuillan


            Carla reports that this is by far the tastiest stew she has ever made.



3 to 4 pounds lean beef, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 pound large onions, thinly sliced

1 to 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cooking oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 small bay leaves

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

1 tablespoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 10-1/2-ounce cans beef broth

24 ounces beer (dark ale will enhance flavor)

Dumpling batter (recipe below)


            Method: This recipe will serve eight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut the beef slices into pieces about one inch by two inches. Flour them lightly, brown them a few at a time in hot oil and put them into a large oven-proof casserole. (A deep six- or eight-quart size is about right.) Add onions and garlic to oil in pan and brown them lightly, adding more oil if necessary. Put them in the casserole, then add sugar, two tablespoons of the vinegar, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir once or twice. Pour off any oil remaining in the skillet. Put in the broth and heat over low flame, stirring to loosen all browned bits. Pour over meat mixture in casserole. Add the potatoes and the beer. Cover casserole and bake for two hours. Transfer the casserole to the top of the stove. Stir in the remaining vinegar. Cook over medium heat until the sauce bubbles. Drop dumpling batter by teaspoonfuls on top of the hot stew, cover, reduce heat and cook for fifteen minutes. Do not remove cover during these fifteen minutes.




2 cups sifted self-rising cake flour

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter


            Method: Combine all ingredients, mixing lightly. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into simmering stew or stock, cover, and cook for fifteen minutes or until fluffy. Do not remove lid during fifteen minutes--just let them steam.


] Picture of Barbara Pierce

Barbara Pierce

Irish Stew

by Barbara Pierce



1-1/2 pounds lamb or mutton

3/4 cup onions

2-1/2 pounds potatoes

salt and pepper

1 bay leaf

2 cups boiling water or stock

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

            Method: Note that this famous stew is not browned. Cut the lamb, onions, and potatoes into 1-1/2-inch cubes. In the bottom of a heavy pan arrange a layer of potatoes, a layer of meat, a few slices of onion. Repeat this twice, ending with potatoes on top. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Add to the pot the bay leaf. Pour water or stock over the layers and add parsley. Bring to a boil. Cover tightly. Simmer gently over very low heat for about two and a half hours or until done. Shake the pot periodically so that the potatoes do not stick. When done, all the moisture should have been absorbed by the potatoes.

                                                     Key Lime Shortbread Cookies

                                                                by Sylvia Cooley


            Sylvia Cooley is the secretary in Barbara Pierce's office. Perhaps this is not truly a St. Patrick's Day recipe, but it goes well with tea, and with a few drops of green coloring added, these cookies keep the spirit of the day.



1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon Key lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated Key lime zest

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch or rice flour

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

a few drops of green food coloring (optional)

Lime sugar for garnish (optional)


            Method: In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, sugar, lime juice, salt, and one half the lime zest (1-1/2 teaspoons) until light and fluffy. Stir in the cornstarch or rice flour, then all-purpose flour, beating only enough to incorporate. The dough will be very soft. Divide dough in thirds. Spoon each portion onto wax paper or plastic wrap and form a log about 14 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Fold the paper over the log, then roll with your palms until smooth. Twist ends of the paper and refrigerate or freeze until firm, one to four hours.

            To make the lime sugar, place sugar and remaining zest in a blender or coffee mill and whirl until zest is very finely minced and sugar is lightly colored, about three minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve, discarding any bits of peel that remain. Set aside.

            Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Slice chilled dough into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. If garnish is desired, lightly butter the bottom of a flat-bottomed jelly glass and dip into the lime sugar. Press lightly onto tops of cookies, dipping the glass into the sugar mixture before pressing each cookie to prevent dough from sticking. (Or lightly sprinkle the sugar on each cookie, being careful not to get any sugar on baking sheet). Bake fifteen to twenty minutes, until light golden. Cookies will be very fragile, so let cool about five minutes on baking sheets before removing with a spatula to continue cooling on wire racks. Makes five dozen.

                                                           Quick Irish Soda Bread

                                                               by Barbara Pierce



2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons chilled shortening

1/2 to 1 cup raisins

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk


            Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Have all ingredients at about 75 degrees. Sift together in a large bowl flour, soda, salt, and sugar. Cut chilled shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until it is the consistency of coarse corn meal. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Gradually add the buttermilk. The mixture should not be dry. Knead briefly and shape into a round loaf or a 9-by-5-inch one. Put the dough in a greased bread pan. Cut a bold cross on top, letting it go over the sides so the bread will not crack in baking. Brush the top with milk. Bake for forty to fifty minutes. If loaf pulls away from the sides of the pan, it is done. Another test is to tap the bottom of the pan to release the loaf. Then tap the bottom of the loaf, and, if it sounds hollow, the loaf is done. Otherwise return the loaf to the pan and bake a few minutes longer. When the bread has finished baking, remove it to a wire rack immediately to cool. Keep it shielded from drafts, which cause shrinkage.

                                                        Irish Shrove Tuesday Buns

                                                               by Barbara Pierce


            Shrove Tuesday is the day before the beginning of Lent, and these buns are worthy of the tradition of finding something rich and tasty to enjoy before the rigors of Lent begin.



1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1-3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1 egg yolk, beaten

Approximately 5-1/2 cups flour

Melted butter


3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup fine dry cake crumbs, preferably macaroon crumbs


1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk, cream, or Irish whiskey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (if using milk)


            Method: Dissolve yeast in warm water. Heat milk to scalding and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until butter and sugar have dissolved. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in yeast. Add beaten egg and egg yolk and blend well. Fold in flour. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Cover with a clean cloth. Set in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk, about two hours. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Divide dough into about two dozen pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place side by side on a greased baking sheet and spread with melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until increased two and a half times in bulk. Bake for about ten minutes in a 350-degree oven or until lightly brown on top. Cool on rack before filling.

            Filling: While buns cool, prepare filling. Beat cream until stiff, but not dry. Beat in sugar and cake crumbs. Cut off tops of buns and scoop out a little of the center. Fill with cream mixture.

            Icing: Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the milk or other liquid. Blend well. Spread icing around rims of the openings in the buns, and press tops over filled halves. Ice the tops of buns. Serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.