The History of St. Patrick
With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching more than 1 billion people will be getting ready to spend the day celebrating. This tradition has been celebrated as far back as the 9th century. Around this time, it was only celebrated in Ireland and was known as the roman catholic feast day of St. Patrick. St. Patrick was brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of just 16. He did, however, manage to escape and return to roman Britain where he was originally from. After escaping he didn’t spend very long in his home country before returning to Ireland. Upon his return to Ireland, he was credited based on the belief he brought Christianity to the people, and so he became the patron saint of Ireland. After his death on the 17th of March 1631, he became a well-known figure with many myths surrounding his life. Over the years he has become an ingrained part of the Irish culture.
St. Patrick’s Day Now
Nowadays we celebrate him on the 17th of March all round the world. The date of his death has been served as a religious holiday in Ireland for over 1,000 years. People living in Ireland tend to celebrate by taking part in church services. Shamrocks also play a big part in the day with most people donning at least one and bar tenders dropping them in drinks with the theory that ‘downing the shamrock’ brings good luck for the year. The tradition that most may look forward to however is the permitted breaking of lent in order to fully celebrate the Saint for the day.
With so many people celebrating St. Patricks day worldwide, these traditions change depending on where you live. One thing that you can do to celebrate no matter where you are is join in on the worldwide tradition of wearing green. In the USA, they celebrate the day by holding parades and eat meat and potatoes in honour of their Irish ancestors. The Chicago River (since 1962) has also been famously died green to celebrate the day.
This year why not get inspired and impress your family and friends by making a traditional Irish meal of bacon and cabbage to celebrate the day.
Irish Bacon and Cabbage Recipe
- 1½kg loin of bacon
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 leeks
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1kg cabbage, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp oven-dried breadcrumbs
- ½ tbsp brown sugar
- Knob of butter
- 50g butter
- 25g flour
- 1 tbsp Mustard
- 250ml mixture cooking liquid and cream
Meat & Vegetables
- First start by chopping up your vegetables
- Then add the peppercorns and vegetables to a pan along with the joint of bacon and cover with water.
- Whilst bringing the water to the boil set the oven to gas 6 or 200c. At this stage you can also place your potatoes in a pan to boil and check throughout the cooking process.
- When the water is boiled let it simmer for approximately 20 mins. After it has simmered remove the bacon joint from the water.
- Then place the liquid to one side to save for later and remove the rind and score the fat.
- Place the joint into a roasting dish and spread mustered, breadcrumbs, sugar and a knob of butter on to it before placing it in the oven for 15-20 mins.
- Melt butter then add the flour and mix.
- Let this cook for two minutes then whisk in the cooking liquid and cream.
- When the liquid is added bring it to the boil then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for 3-4 minutes
- At this stage the sauce should have the consistency of thin cream. Keep it warm and season to your liking.
- Add the cabbage along with barley to a saucepan and cover it with some of the reserved cooking liquid. At this stage you should check your boiled potatoes and if ready drain and leave to the side.
- Secondly bring the cabbage to the boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- After it has simmered for 2-3 minutes drain the cabbage well and toss it in some butter.
- Season to your liking.
Bring It All Together
- Slice the bacon up.
- Serve the bacon on a bed of cabbage accompanied by a little of the mustard sauce and boiled potatoes.
- Finally serve to your family and friends and enjoy.