Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

17 March, 2015 / by Hank Watson

I’m one of those people who starts searching for something on line, and I end up miles away; no where near my original intent. Maybe it’s because my mom bought Encyclopedia Brittanica for us as kids. My brother, Bill, and I would just pick a volume and start reading. Yes, Virginia, this was well before the internet. So, this morning, I started looking for St. Patrick’s Day cover photos for my Facebook page, and somehow I ended up reading up on the history of one of my favorite holidaze.

Did you know……

  • St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
  • There are seven places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland including Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.
  • Irish is the US’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
  • Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state in the US except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Massachusetts doesn’t surprise me one bit!
  • Across the US, 11 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number more than doubles to 23 percent in the state of Massachusetts.
  • There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
  • St. Patrick started using the shamrock as a representation of the Holy Trinity.
  • The color associated with St. Patrick is St. Patrick’s Blue.
  • As a result of St. Patrick using the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity, on St. Patrick’s Day, it was tradition to place a shamrock in your lapel in honor of St. Patrick. The US commercialized the shamrock into the “Luck of the Irish”, completely skipping the religious representation.

I know, now you’re saying, “Hank, this is a blog about food and drink, not history!” What better holiday to talk about than St. Patrick’s Day on a blog about food and drink? I’ve got the perfect Guinness Stew to feed that hunger after a day of drinking green beer. I suggest you prep it BEFORE imbibing in the green beer!



  • ​2 lbs lean beef (I used a sirloin roast)
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbs grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chpped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 bottle Guinness Draught
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup prune juice (THE surprise ingredient!)​
  • 3 Tbs tomato pate
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • ​2 cups diced potato (I keep the skins on)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


Trim fat from the steak. Cut into cubes of about 3/4 inch – try to keep them near the same size. Place in large bowl. Combne flour, salt and pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle into bowl of beef, and toss coat the beef.

In a large dutch over, add the grapeseed oil. When hot, add steak and cook until browned on all sides (about 4 to 5 minutes). Add onion and cook another 3 minutes until onions soften. Add Guinness and deglaze the pan. Add garlic, stock, prune juice, tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer another 90 minutes.

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