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St. Paddy's Party

Get your green on at a true Irish celebration.


Before you break out the corned beef for Saint Patrick’s Day, consider a menu of authentic fare from the Emerald Isle. Despite being associated with March 17, that dish didn’t originate from the old country. It was developed by Irish-American immigrants ​using corned beef from kosher butchers. Green beer, the Black and Tan, and the Irish Car Bomb are also later Irish-American inventions. (Irish coffee? That comes straight from the homeland.)

In contemporary Ireland, the culinary scene is driven by briny seafood (creamy oysters, rich salmon, tender mussels), as well as delectable pastured beef and lamb. Nutty artisanal cheeses, farm-fresh eggs and butter, and of course, the island’s famed whiskey and beer round out the staples. But on Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone in Ireland celebrates with the traditional dish of ham and cabbage served with parsley sauce.

So, cue up Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl,” and serve an authentic Irish feast where your guests can glean a few tidbits of food history along with their boiled dinner.

Those averse to cooking should head over to Sláinte, the charming Irish pub that opened last spring near Oakland’s Jack London Square. Sláinte (pronounced slahn-cha)—which means “cheers” and “good health” in Gaelic—offers a lineup of true Irish delights: Guinness on tap, crispy fish and chips with mushy peas and mint, savory shepherd’s pie, and satisfying house-made brown soda bread.

After growing up on the blustery northwest coast of Ireland, Sláinte owner Jackie Gallanagh created a place that is reminiscent of her youth—a soul-warming pub that serves hearty food and drink. “Back home, we called it ‘pub and grub,’” Gallanagh says in an Irish accent as thick as her stews.

For anyone celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day at Sláinte, Gallanagh promises “a grand party” complete with live music, dancers, and authentic food and drink. “We’ll be serving the traditional holiday dish: ham and cabbage,” she says.

The festive holiday falls on a Saturday this year, and if permits allow, Gallanagh plans to host the East Bay’s largest Irish street party at the corner of Second and Broadway. Sláinte! slainteoakland.com.

Feast Like an Irishman

Sláinte serves this authentic dish with mashed or whole boiled potatoes, and parsley sauce. Pair with Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale or Magners Irish Cider.

Sláinte’s Ham and Cabbage

Smoked ham shoulder (2–3 pounds)


Black peppercorns

Juniper berries

Green cabbage

Bacon fat

Boil smoked ham shoulder for 30 minutes in water with whole cloves, black peppercorns, and juniper berries. Remove ham from pot. Quarter the cabbage, and boil in ham broth for about 5 minutes. Remove cabbage, and let dry. Roughly chop. Add bacon fat to frying pan on medium-high heat, and fry cabbage.

Parsley Sauce

¼ cup butter

4 tablespoons flour

1 pint heavy whipping cream

4 stalks curly parsley, stems removed and finely chopped

Sprig of thyme (remove before serving)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring for 2–3 minutes. Add cream, then simmer for 4–5 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer until just boiling for 4–5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over boiled or mashed potatoes.


Click here for Irish Brown Soda Bread and Seafood Chowder recipes.


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