St Patrick’s Day at Ballyknocken House & Cookery School

As the feeling of spring begins to lift our hearts and everything is coming alive again after the big snow, the true Irish colour of green is beginning to show all around. This weekend at Ballyknocken House & Cookery School we are really looking forward to celebrating St Patrick’s Day and we are celebrating with our much-loved cookery class “A Taste of Home” enjoying all things Irish.

Catherine, who is 3rd generation here at Ballyknocken remembers from a young age going out to the fields with a fork to dig up the shamrock. She tells us that her Gran used to wear so much shamrock on her lapel that it looked like she was wearing half the field!!!

On St Patrick’s Day, everyone loves being able to enjoy a traditional Irish dinner, especially after the parade when the whole family gathers together for dinner. This year we packed Catherine off to New York to make a traditional Beef and Guinness Stew with Champ for NBCs Today Show. So for a little inspiration, here’s the TV clip and we’ve detailed the recipe below.


St Patrick’s Day Recipes

Beef and Guinness Stew

Serves 6-8


1125g stewing beef, trimmed of fat

Flour with salt & pepper added

3 large onions, thinly sliced

275g mushrooms

1 dessertspoon sugar

1 tsp powder English Mustard

1 ½ tbsp tomato puree

A bouquet garni (4 parsley sprigs, 1 fresh thyme sprig and 1 bay leaf, tied together)

1 pint Guinness

Salt & Pepper to taste

Olive oil



Cut the meat into 1 ½ inch cubes and toss in the flour.  Heat some of the olive oil and fry the beef until nicely browned on all sides.  Put the meat into a deep, heavy bottom saucepan.  Add some more oil to the frying pan and gently fry the onions.  Deglaze the pan with some of the Guinness.  Add the fried onions, the Guinness and juices from the pan, the sugar, mustard, tomato puree and bouquet garni to the saucepan.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for 2 hours approximately or until the meat is tender.  Be careful during this time not to stir the dish too much as it can break up the meat.

In the meantime, wash and quarter the mushrooms.  Fry in a little melted butter and season with salt and pepper.  When the stew is cooked, add the mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt & pepper if required.

Garnish with chopped parsley when serving.

Top Tip: Use a bouquet garni as it is so simple but gives so much flavour to the stew (A few sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves, orange peel and parsley, tied together with a thin string) in any casserole or stew will amaze your taste buds.



Ballyknocken Irish Stew

Serves 4

Catherine has included a roux, a mix of flour and butter, in this recipe but if you like your Irish stew with a lot of liquid, then don’t stir in the roux. There is nothing better than a comforting home cooked lamb casserole. It freezes well so prepare ahead so you can enjoy the day. 


  • 6 gigot lamb chops (about 2cm thick), trimmed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1.5 litre lamb or vegetable stock
  • 4 – 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced thickly
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


For a roux

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil



  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4
  2. Trim off the excess fat from the chops and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the chops and lightly brown on both sides and transfer to a casserole.
  4. Add the carrots and onions to the frying pan and gently cook for about 6 minutes.
  5. Add the thyme and potatoes, season well and pour in the stock.  Bring to the boil and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the carrots and potatoes, stock and herbs over the lamb in the casserole and place to the oven.
  7. Cook for about 1 and ½ hours depending on the size of the chops. If you require a thicker sauce, add the roux and stir well until it begins to thicken. Remove the bay leaves and serve with broccoli.

Tip: Catherine knows that this is not traditional but add some small shallots and a few rosemary croutons on the top for a garnish would add a little extra crunch.


 Saint Patrick’s Soup


  • 4 Tablespoons of butter or margarine
  • 1 Cup of diced raw potatoes
  • Half cup of sliced onions
  • 1 Cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 pound of spinach
  • 4 cups of Chicken Stock
  • Quarter Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
  • Half Cup of Irish oatmeal
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Whipped cream



  1. Melt the butter over a low heat in a skillet or pan. Add diced potatoes,
  2. Mushrooms and sliced onions and fry until soft.
  3. Wash spinach. Remove stalks and tough stems and chop finely.
  4. Transfer carrots and onions, mushrooms and spinach to a saucepan and add the stock, salt and pepper (to taste), cloves and diced potatoes.
  5. Stir in a ½ cup of Irish Oatmeal and Simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Puree in blender or food processor.
  7. Serve into open soup dishes with a teaspoon of whipped cream floating in center.

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