Irish Stew

My mom comes from a big Irish Catholic family. My grandparents had little Irish tchotchkes in their living room, laughed at jokes about “Murphy’s Law”, and loved to say “kiss me, I’m Irish!”.  So it comes as no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day was a fun holiday for them!  We would make cookies with little green sprinkles, eat some sort of potato dish for dinner and of course wear green!  

Honoring Cultures and Customs

Now that I’m a parent, I love finding meals that incorporate holidays and heritages we can discuss around the dinner table.  We use ingredients that are traditionally found in that specific part of the world and chat about the similarities and differences to American dining.  For Cinco de Mayo, I’ll make cilantro lime fish tacos and Mexican beans.  In January we honor Chinese New Year with Asian fried rice, *attempting* to use chopsticks, and of course eating fortune cookies for dessert!  These festive meals make for memorable nights of fun conversation!  So for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day feast, I wanted to make something that included the most traditional Irish ingredients: cabbage and potatoes. The weather had been cold and rainy which meant we were craving soup!

Do As the Irish Do

I combined Polish sausage, white beans, shredded cabbage, diced potatoes, carrots and onions with canned coconut milk and chicken broth.  My preference is to remove the casing from the sausages and crumble the meat, but if you prefer to slice it into medallions you can!  I let everything slow cook together, allowing the flavors to marry.  My three kiddos and hungry hubby devoured it!  We sopped up the extra broth with dinner biscuits we’d topped with Kerrygold (Irish) butter.  It was delicious!  But even better, we had great conversations about the potato famine and why poor Irish immigrants ate so much cabbage (hint: it was the only vegetable they could afford!).

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It's not about nutrients and calories. It's about sharing. It's about honesty. It's about identity. -Louise Fresco


Irish Stew


  • 1 lb Polish (Kiolbasa) Sausage, casing removed
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into medallions 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk or half & half
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Remove the sausage casing and brown the meat until cooked through and crumbled.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a separate plate and set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic and potatoes to the pan.  Stir to combine and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the carrots and cabbage and saute for 3 more minutes, stir often.  Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the broth, beans, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, cooked sausage, and canned coconut milk.  Stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the stew reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  If you prefer to use a slow cooker, set on low for 4-6 hours to allow the flavors to marry.
  4. Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Season generously with salt and pepper as needed.  If you prefer your stew to be thinner, pour in more broth, adding ¼ cup at a time until desired thickness.  Serve with warm bread and Irish butter.  Erin go Bragh!
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