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St Patrick's Dayby Antony Worrall Thompson

From Dublin to Denver, Cork to Cairo and Limerick to Liverpool, St Patrick’s Day is the one day a year when everyone fancies themselves as an honorary Irishman or woman.
Millions of revellers around the world are getting set for a day of great craic with friends and family. But wherever you are, Paddy’s Day is also an excuse for getting back in touch with all things Irish, especially the wonderful recipes and unique ingredients from the Emerald Isle.
To truly appreciate the vast heritage associated with St Patrick’s Day, TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson has created some great beef recipes to savour true Irish flavour come March 17th. Here are a couple to get you started:

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Champ

Beef and Guinness Pie

When you think of Ireland, its green, lush land is probably the first thing that springs to mind. You would be right, too, because it is the grass capital of Europe – its cool, moist summers and mild winters make it perfect for growing grass almost all year round. It’s no surprise, then, that with such a great environment, Irish beef has a strong reputation for superb flavour, just as nature intended.


Beef produced under the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme is found in most supermarkets and assures you that the beef is reared to very high international standards of animal husbandry and welfare, by farmers committed to protecting the environment for both their animals and future generations.
Irish beef production is predominantly a grass based system.  Some four-fifths of Ireland’s sizeable agricultural land area is devoted to grass. Ireland possesses the largest continuous stretch of carboniferous limestone in Europe underlying the central lowlands, it nourishes rich, bone-building pastures, excellent for cattle production.
Ireland has Europe’s longest growing grass season. The Gulf Stream provides frequent rainfall and low annual temperature range. Harsh frosts are rare, as are high summer temperatures. This combination of geology and climate in Ireland produces lush pastures and allows for a relatively long grazing season.
In general, grass-fed beef is better because:

  • Less overall fat
  • Fewer calories
  • More Omega-3 fatty acids
  • A healthier ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids
  • More Vitamin E
  • More Vitamin A

Omega-3 fatty acids originate in green plants and grass is a rich source of omega-3. Whilst grass fed cattle do not put on weight as rapidly, the meat is more nutritious as the cows have higher levels of omega-3 fats and vitamins A and E. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are mildly anti-inflammatory and Omega-6 fatty acids are powerfully inflammatory. For optimum health, the right ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is required.  Grass fed beef has the correct ratio of these two fatty acids (1:2).   An Omega-3 rich non-inflammatory diet is the best way to protect your heart. (source: Pasture Perfect, Jo Robinson. ISBN 0-9678116-1-9).

The health benefits of this “good” fat, Omega-3, are becoming increasingly well known.  People whose diets are low in Omega-3 are more at risk from cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, asthma and dementia, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. 
A typical 6oz loin steak from a grass fed cow can have up to 92 fewer calories than a 6oz loin steak from a grain fed cow.

Good husbandry, animal welfare and environmental care are important to British people and these are just some of the reasons that the Irish Food Board is highlighting the benefits of grass fed beef and how this influences the flavour and quality.  Food experts generally admit that beef that has been free to roam is lower in saturated fat, higher in Vitamins A and E and with a natural balance of Omega 3 and 6.  As our closest neighbour, Ireland has been providing British people with free-range beef and other food for 100’s of years.

  • Irish beef is available at a supermarket near you
  • Irish cattle are free range
  • Irish cattle are grass-fed
  • Grass feeding is the healthiest diet for cattle / healthier for humans
  • Ireland is the grass capital of Europe
  • Ireland has one of the longest grazing periods in Europe
  • Ireland is ecologically advanced
  • Irish beef is a simple, natural, free range food
  • Grass-fed Irish cattle tend to take longer to grow – what’s the hurry?  The end result will be meat with more vitamins, more Omega-3 (and a near perfect balance of Omega-3 to Omega 6) it will be leaner, less calorific and will have lower levels of cholesterol and the cows enjoy  a more natural, happier life!



For the short ribs:
4 Irish grass-fed beef short ribs, 2in / 5cm wide and cut through the bone to 3in / 7.5cm lengths, about 350g / 12oz each 
2 tbsp flour
2 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée 
300ml / ½ pint fl oz O'haras Celtic Stout
1.5litres / 2½ pints beef stock
1 bay leaf
Few sprigs fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
5 black peppercorns

For the champ:
900g / 2lb potatoes
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
150ml / ¼ pint warm milk
75g / 3oz Cuinneog butter


  • Preheat the oven to 220°C / fan oven 200°C / Gas mark 7.
  • Season the beef ribs with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dust with the flour.
  • Place them in a roasting tray with the onion, celery and carrot and roast for 20 minutes, then turn the short ribs over and roast for a further 15 minutes.
  • When cooked, transfer the vegetables and ribs to a heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish, leaving the fat and juices behind, and set aside.
  • Put the roasting tray with the fat and juices over a low heat. Add the tomato purée and cook for a minute, stirring.
  • Gradually add the stout and beef stock, whisking well until smooth and incorporating all the lovely caramelised bits from the bottom of the roasting tin.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Pour the gravy over the short ribs and vegetables and place over a medium heat.
  • Add the bay leaf, thyme, garlic and peppercorns.
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cover.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender: it should be almost falling off the bone without being too soft.
  • Fifteen minutes before the ribs have finished cooking, cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water.
  • Remove the short ribs and keep warm.
  • Bring the gravy to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes until reduced by a third.
  • Season to taste.
  • Drain the potatoes.
  • Melt the butter in the saucepan and add the spring onions and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add the potatoes and mash.
  • Add as much warm milk to make a soft light mixture.
  • Season to taste.
  • Spoon the champ onto warmed serving plates.
  • Arrange the short rib standing up pushed into the champ and strain over the gravy.
  • Serve with buttered fine green beans and carrots.

Serves 4

Antony Worrall Thompson



1.5 kg grass-fed chuck steak, cut in 3-4cm pieces
40g / 1½ oz seasoned flour
55g / 2oz dripping or lard
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon soft thyme leaves
7 cloves garlic, peeled
125g / 4 oz soft dark muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon good olive oil
25g / 1oz unsalted butter
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
18 stoned prunes
1 x 440ml can Guinness
1 block shop bought puff pastry
2 egg yolks for glazing


  • Brown the meat all over in hot dripping, remove and set aside to cool
  • In a food processor blend together the next six ingredients until you have a fine paste. If it appears too dry add a little water.
  • Coat the beef all over with the paste, cover and refrigerate overnight, (ideally!) turning the meat from time to time.
  • Preheat oven to 150°C / Gas mark 2.
  • In a heavy casserole dish heat the butter and oil until foaming, add the onions and fry them until they take on a little colour.
  • Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine.
  • To the same casserole, add the beef and any marinade.
  • Add the sage, prunes and Guinness, stir to combine bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Place the mixture in a pie dish then cover with puff pastry, egg glaze, decorate according to your liking, egg glaze again.
  • Bake in a 180°C / Gas mark 4 oven for 40 to 50 minutes until pastry is cooked and filling is hot.
  • Alternatively share between individual pie dishes.
  • Serve with mash and your favourite green vegetables.

Serves 4

Antony Worrall Thompson

Material supplied by Bord Bia. The role of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, is to act as a link between the Irish Food, Drink and Horticulture suppliers and existing and potential customers throughout the world. Their objective is to develop markets for Irish suppliers and to bring the taste of Irish food to more tables world-wide. To find out more about Irish food and drink or for a wide selection of recipes visit www.bordbia.ie

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