St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes, Cabbage, and Sheperd’s Pie | Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! It has become a tradition to host our family and friends for some delicious Irish dishes. I am Irish on my Dad’s side, and his mom grew up in a little town in Iowa that featured two buildings in the town center– a bar and a church- with a large Celtic cross in the street between them. I think that sums up an Irish immigrant town in the US!

I thought I would share the recipes we make each year. To be honest, they are not incredibly authentic, but it is all for fun and celebrating, right? I hope you enjoy them too!

This post is already making me hungry, but here goes nothing…



Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
(we make this vegetarian, so we omit the bacon and chicken stock, but add butter!)

Total time: 2 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings (we usually double or triple it)

1 cabbage, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
2 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 1/2 pounds
2 cups yellow onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp smoked paprika
butter as desired for taste/coating

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the hard core. Cut the cabbage quarters into halves and place, rounded side down, in a roasting pan.
3. Cut the potatoes in half crosswise and peel. Cut the peeled potato halves into quarters, and arrange in the roasting pan, alternating with the cabbage pieces.
4. Add the sliced onions on top and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and paprika.
5. Evenly distribute butter over the vegetables, then pour the stock on top.
6. Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving. Serve the vegetables with the broth spooned over them.




Adapted from Alton Brown

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings (we usually at least double it)

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken or veggie broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
4 carrots peeled and diced

A generous helping of Irish cheddar (or your favorite cheese) to top

1. Peel the potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds.
3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
4. In a small pot boil the carrots until soft and mash.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
6. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
7. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes.
8. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute.
9. Add the tomato paste, chicken or veggie broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine.
10. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
11. Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed carrots and spread evenly.  They may not cover the beef mixture completely but that’s okay.
12. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Add cheese on top a few minutes before the dish is fully cooked, just keeping it in the oven until it melts. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Note: if you are not a fan of peas and corn, they can be left out. Or make this dish vegetarian by removing the beef and adding a little extra potatoes and veggies (of any kind, really)!  




Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 24 cupcakes

1 Cup Stout Beer
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
¾ Cup Quality Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
¾ Teaspoon Salt
2 Large Eggs
⅔ Cup Sour Cream

Irish Cream Buttercream:
4 to 5 Cups Confections Sugar
2 Cups Unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 Tablespoons Irish Cream Liqueur

Irish whiskey droppers
^These make the taste quite strong, so it is only advised if you’re a whisky lover! We used these inexpensive droppers from Amazon. The presentation is really fun.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cups with paper liners.
2. Prepare the cupcakes– Put the butter and the stout beer in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs and the sour cream together. Add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly just to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined, making sure to incorporate little pockets of flour on the bottom so that the batter is of equal consistency everywhere.
4. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way if you want flatter cupcakes and 3/4 if you want domed. Bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature.
5. Prepare the frosting– In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Slowly drizzle the Irish Cream and whip until combined. Add the rest of the powdered sugar until your desired consistency has been achieved.
(Guys, this frosting is HEAVEN. It does make a lot of buttercream, so you can be generous with each cake, or halve the recipe for less.)
6. Fill a pastry bag and pipe buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles or other adornments. (Such as a whiskey dropper, just before serving.)

These recipes are the best. Are they completely authentic? Probably not. Are they delicious and in the right spirit of celebration? Yes, they are!

And of course some festive decor (even Zora, courtesy of my sister), is in order!


Are there any fun ways you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Please share!

This entry was posted in food and drink, holidays, lifestyle, recipes.
  • Arni

    Love the festive St. Patrick’s Day decor. I haven’t tried adding liquor to baked goodies. I should try this.