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Go green with envy this St. Patty's Day

These traditional Irish dishes really are worth celebrating

POSTED: March 14, 2012 12:30 a.m.

This hearty version of Shepherd's Pie incorporates a cornucopia of vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn and green beans.

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Although many St. Patrick's Day gatherings center around certain beverages made from hops and other ingredients, traditional celebrations were all about the food.

According to National Geographic, the holiday was originally established as a feast day paying tribute to St. Patrick, a British-born aristocrat, turned priest and later a patron saint of Ireland.

If you're looking to have your own St. Patrick's Day feast, you don't have to depend on the luck of the Irish to create a traditionally, yummy spread.

According to chef Heather Hunsaker, recipe developer for the meal planning website, many Irish dishes like Corned Beef and Cabbage are easy to prepare.

So is Shepherd's Pie.

"Depending on the region, this dish is also known as Hunter's Pie or Cottage Pie," Hunsaker said.

"Shepherd's Pie is a historical Irish casserole that is traditionally made of lamb meat or mutton and topped with mashed potatoes."

Whereas most recipes are focused primarily on meat and white potatoes, this hearty version of Shepherd's Pie incorporates a cornucopia of vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn and green beans.

All in all, this dish can be on your table from start to finish in a little over one hour.

If you're a purist, Irish stew is one of the easiest dishes to make for St. Patrick's Day. That's because according to culinary lore, the only ingredients are lamb, potatoes, onions and water. Supposedly, adding anything else clouds the true flavors of the stew.

And if you're really going to stay true to tradition, all you're allowed to do is dump those ingredients in a pot - preferably over an open fire - and walk away for the day.

The good news is that making a far more flavorful version of this stew isn't all that difficult, and your efforts are rewarded with a rich, brothy meal with layers of flavor that complement - rather than compete with - the core ingredients. And no open fire or all-day simmering needed.

Associated Press contributed to this article.


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