Irish Shepherd’s Pie

It’s March.

In my world, that means that all of the stores near me are selling St. Patty’s day goodies, from food to home decor to holiday outfits.  Everything is shamrocks and leprechauns and ‘kiss me, i’m irish’.  

For someone like me, who is part Irish, I like to use this time of the year to focus my attention on my Irish heritage.  This goes for not only food, but celebrating different Irish traditions as well.  At some point in the year, my claddaugh ring comes off and I only remember to put it back on in March.  I decorate my house with lots of green pillows, shamrock crafts and Gaelic quote boards on the wall.  Almost everything I bake is infused with green food coloring. 

If you couldn’t tell, I take things way too far, way too often.

I love celebrating even the smallest things, so Saint Patrick’s Day for me is an all-month event.  So, it would make sense that I spend all month sharing my favorite Irish recipes. Some of these recipes are pretty authentic while some are more inspired by flavors I associate with St. Patrick’s Day.

So, in honor of this wonderful, bright green holiday, I’m devoting this whole month to giving you some Irish-influenced recipes that will get you in the Erin Go Bragh spirit!

This recipe, in particular, is a favorite of mine because it uses up all those goodies for leftovers. Since I love a good shepherd’s pie, I love turning my corned beef dinner into a tiered masterpiece of flavor. And, since most of the food is already cooked, it’s super easy too!

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

2 tbsp butter

1/2 medium white onion, finely diced

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. of Apricot Glazed Corned Beef, diced

1 cup Slow Cooker Cabbage

3 cups Champ potatoes

1/2 stick butter

In a large skillet, melt butter.

Add onions and cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly. Remove from heat and drain the liquid from the beef. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven 350F.

Add the corned beef to the ground beef and stir.

Grease an 8″x 8″ pan. Spoon the beef mixture into the bottom of the pan. Spread the cabbage over the top of the beef. Top the cabbage with Champ potatoes.

Cut the butter into 6-8 pats and place on top of the potatoes.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top of the potato layer begins to lightly brown.

Serve hot.

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Slow Cooker Cabbage

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m really not a big fan of cabbage.

I like a little coleslaw now and then. But, for the most part, it’s not one of my favorite vegetables.

By far.

That being said, cabbage tends to be one of the mainstays of a good, traditional Irish dinner. That means that if I want to serve my family an Irish dinner, I have to come up with a way to make cabbage more palatable.

Again, I scoured the internet for different recipes that I could use to make this side. Most of the recipes I found just kind of let the cabbage do its own thing with minimal seasoning or addition of flavor. There were some recipes that incorporated onions and carrots to help boost the cabbage and I definitely felt like that was a good idea.

Since we were having so many people over for our Irish dinner, I knew that I needed to make a very large side of cabbage and I also knew that since we were making everything from scratch, I didn’t want to have to spend a lot of time watching the cabbage. That’s where the slow cooker comes in.

I decided to go with a sweet and tangy flavor to go with my sweet and tangy glaze for the corn beef. To do this, I decided to add a little bit of the apricot marmalade for sweetness and some apple cider vinegar for a little acidity. Turns out, when you make cabbage like this, I actually really like it!

When you compare it to all the other food on the plate of a good Irish dinner, it’s hard to make cabbage your favorite. But, I definitely feel like this version is a great side vegetable with a ton of a good flavor as opposed to a bland pile of cooked cabbage!

Slow Cooker Cabbage

1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced into 1/2″ strips

1 1lb. bag of baby carrots

1 medium white onion, diced

1 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup apricot marmalade

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in a slow cooker.

Cook on high for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot.