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Find a pot of gold for St. Patrick's Day
Soups, stews and pies abound in honor of favorite Irish holiday
0316PATTYS
Traditional Shepherd's Pie is an easy dish that's low cost and filling. The recipe can be modified to add your own unique flavors and leftovers can be stored in the freezer. - photo by Michelle Boaen Jameson

Shepherd's Pie

  • 1 pound freshly ground beef, 80 to 20 percent beef to fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (12 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 small can red peppers diced and drained
  • 1 bag frozen garlic green peas with mushrooms
  • 4 cups mashed red potatoes
  • Salt and pepper

Saute ground beef with diced onions. Do not drain meat or onions. Add undiluted cream of mushroom soup to the meat and onions in pan, and add the chopped red peppers, stirring until thoroughly mixed - juices will hold it together.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Into individual crocks or bowls, spread the frozen green peas and mushrooms. Fill crocks with meat mixture. Top each crock with 1 cup of mashed potatoes, in a big dollop or piped through a pastry bag to make them more elegant. Bake until potatoes are crisp and slightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: The shepherd's pies may be stored, unbaked and covered, for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator.

Adapted from a recipe courtesy Red Lion Pub, Chicago, and Foodnetwork.com

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Corned Beef Reuben Soup

If wearing your "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirt isn't enough to get you in the St. Patrick's Day spirit, maybe you want to set the mood from the inside out by sampling some traditional Irish eats.

Since Ireland is known as the "Emerald Isle" one way to pay homage is by adding a few green dishes to your table. A simple, and Dr. Seuss-inspired start to your St. Patrick's Day celebration could be a breakfast of green eggs and ham.

A few drops of food coloring to your beaten eggs would make them sufficiently green, but if you'd like to take a more sophisticated approach, try adding a tablespoon or two of pesto. A typical pesto is derived from blending pine nuts, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

One dinner option is Shepherd's Pie. Potatoes, hearty stews and fresh vegetables are staples of the Irish dinner table. Shepherd's Pie combines all of those things into one dish.

The filling portion is a mixture of meat, peas and carrots or mushrooms. The more traditional version calls for ground lamb, but many of today's recipes feature ground beef. The pie's "crust" is actually a layer of mashed potatoes, which are sometimes topped with shredded cheese.

Corned beef and cabbage is one dish that is often associated with St. Patrick's Day. Corned beef is simply a beef brisket that has been cooked slowly in a broth punctuated with pickling spices. A bottle of beer is sometimes added to the cooking liquid.

If you want to take a different approach to your corned beef and cabbage, try turning the ingredients into a Reuben, a sandwich bursting with Emerald Isle flavor. For this sandwich, layers of thinly slice corned beef are placed on rye bread, topped with sauerkraut — fermented cabbage — and swiss cheese.

Since Ireland is surrounded by water, dishes featuring seafood would also be appropriate St. Patrick's Day fare. With the popularity of Irish pubs and their brews, beer-battered fish and chips could prove to be a crowd pleaser.

A sweet ending to your Irish-minded feast: chocolate stout cupcakes, which includes a bottle of beer in the batter. While you're at it, why not share an ode to a true Irishman, Arthur Guinness. Guinness started brewing Guinness beer, a dark beer with Irish roots, in 1759 in Dublin.

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