A Traditional Irish Dinner Menu on a Budget
Authentic Irish cooking can be very affordable. For an Irish-themed dinner my go-to is usually corned beef, but it can be quite pricey. It's often paired with cabbage or potatoes and carrots, but the meat alone can run you anywhere from $10 to $20 to feed a family. A shepherd's pie is a much more economical dish if you want to serve an Irish dinner. While the one pictured above is made with lamb, you can certainly substitute in ground beef. From there you can use what you have. The only ingredients that are essential are the meat, broth, and the mashed potatoes for the topping. Then you can add in whatever you have on hand whether it's carrots, peas, celery, onion, etc. It's such an easy and affordable hearty dish. Image above via The Brown Eyed Baker / recipe originally from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews.
Irish soda bread is another extremely affordable traditional Irish dish. It's actually one of my favorite breads to make. Most American versions call for white flour and fruit, but I like to make it the traditional way with coarse whole grain flour and no fruit or sweeteners. Trust me when I tell you this is one of the easiest breads in the world to make, and it's wonderfully versatile. You can add in sweet things like honey or dried fruit and nuts, or even herbs and cheese. It gets its rise from baking soda and buttermilk instead of yeast, so there is no kneading involved. I however have to make mine without dairy, and it's very easy. Simply substitute the buttermilk with a non-dairy milk plus one tbs of vinegar. Image above by Mommie Cooks. Get her recipe for honey and caraway seed Irish soda bread here.
Here is another great version and step-by-step Irish soda bread recipe by my favorite Irish food blogger Donal Skehan.
Browse around his blog for more traditional Irish recipes, including his Top 10 Traditional Irish Dishes, Irish Lamb Stew, and his Irish Apple Crumb Cake.
Finish off your traditional Irish dinner with an apple cake. It's an affordable dessert and is actually one of those dishes that comes from all over eastern Europe with slightly different versions by country and region. The Germans have their German Apple Cake, the Hungarians have their own Hungarian Apple Cake, and so on. The best Irish apple cake recipes I've seen are packed with fresh apples, have some sort of crumble topping, and are best served with a cream or caramel sauce. Pictured: Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce / recipe, food styling, and photography by Kayley at The Kitchen McCabe.
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