Not gonna lie–it’s way easier to cook a locally-sourced, authentic meal for Saint Patrick’s Day around here than it is to cook for last week’s midwinter holiday, Mardi Gras. No, we don’t have local shrimp, crawfish or crab for gumbo, and okra is so far out of season it isn’t even funny, but St. Patrick’s Day? Here in Pennsylvania we’ve got pork and cabbage ON LOCK. Also beer, and though you must stick to Jameson’s in the whiskey department for this year, Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works will start distilling some of our own local brown spirits any day now. In the meantime, here are some suggestions for a Saint Patrick’s Day feast Philly-style.
Colcannon – Greens plus mashed potatoes = a one-pot meal that has far more to do with Irish gastronomy than anything dyed green (including those super traditional St. Patrick’s Day pancakes of yours). While this harsh winter has been hard on growers of cold season greens, Fair Food has found some from a new group of cooperative growers called Oasis at Bird-in-Hand. Look for their chemical-free green and lacinato kale at the Fair Food Farmstand this weekend.
Rutabagas – Potatoes get all the play around St. Patrick’s day, but rutabagas–with their buttery yellow flesh–are just as likely to “turnip” in a shepherd’s pie or alongside corned beef and cabbage. Peel, cube, boil, and mash with butter, just as you would a potato, and you’ve got a wonderful, golden accompaniment to a roast. Look for the dusty purple tops of these yellow roots at Livengood Family Farm, Margerum’s, or Landisdale at the Clark Park market this week.
Cider – Among any set of taps in Dublin you’ll find Guinness, but you’ll also find Magner’s or another hard cider as well. Around here, look for local ciders by Frecon Cidery or Philadelphia Brewing Company’s line of Commonwealth Cider instead.
Soda Bread – Sure, you could pick up some local flour and mix up a soda bread of your own, or you could stop by Metropolitan Bakery for what is, hands down, the best Irish soda bread in the city. The bread, which Metro only makes this time of year, is essentially a big, craggy scone studded with raisins and anise seeds. Only faintly sweet, it’s excellent alongside a cup of tea .
Cabbage– The most quintessential of St. Patrick’s day veggies, Rineer Family Farm will have local cabbage (and brussels sprouts!) for sale at the Chestnut Hill and Rittenhouse markets this weekend. Cabbage is a workhorse of long keeping winter veggies that, when treated with care, is actually incredibly sweet and juicy. So stop wrinkling your nose, pick up a head, and take a tip from Philly’s favorite canning blogger, Food in Jars’ Marisa McLellan who has three excellent suggestions for how to dress up cabbage over at Table Matters this week.
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