Everyone is Irish for a day come St. Patrick's Day.
For more than 1,000 years, the Irish have observed March 17 as a religious holiday, honoring St. Patrick, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland.
It's also not a bad day to partake in some traditional - and not-so-traditional (think Irish Nachos) - dishes.
"Everybody likes to think they are Irish," said Taylor Brown, kitchen manager at Auld Dubliner Irish Pub
& Restaurant, 800 E. University Blvd. "Everybody loves the Irish."
One way to celebrate the day is with a steaming plate of corned beef and cabbage, a hearty bowl of Irish beef stew or a boxty - a savory potato pancake stuffed with stew or corned beef, cabbage, cheese and horseradish mayo, Brown said.
Auld Dubliner also offers The Dub Egg - a bacon-wrapped hard-boiled egg, deep fried and topped with powdered sugar.
"People like Irish food because it's home food, it's soul food," Brown said. "It sticks to the ribs. There is a lot of comfort in it."
Irish food is also on tap at The Canyon's Crown Restaurant and Pub, 6958 E. Tanque Verde Road.
"About the most Irish thing we have are Irish bangers," said Rich McKnight, a proprietor of the family-owned restaurant and pub along with his wife, Katie, and her parents, Jim and Peg Lengel.
'Bangers' is a term for sausage, Mc Knight said. "We import it from Ireland, and it's the first thing we run out of on St. Patrick's Day." The sausage is grilled and served with mashed potatoes and beans.
Also popular is Guinness Steak and Mushroom Pie, cooked with the traditional dark Irish stout (see recipe), and shepherd's pie - meat and veggies topped with mashed potatoes.
On the appetizer menu are Scotch Eggs - a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and deep fried, served with spicy mustard.
And then there are the Irish Nachos.
"It's everything you expect to come with nachos but instead of tortilla chips, it comes with waffle fries," McKnight said.
He and his family developed the recipes at the pub, which also offers British fare.
"Pretty much every guy dreams of owning a pub some day," McKnight said.
Farther east, Irish Pub Bar & Grill, 9155 E. Tanque Verde Road, will offer a special menu on St. Patrick's Day. It will include Guinness-basted corned beef and cabbage with red potatoes and carrots, said kitchen manager Eric Crowson.
Also on the menu is a Guinness-basted corned beef and Swiss on rye, a year-round favorite.
"We have jumbo Irish wings - baked then battered with special Irish seasonings and then fried," Crowson said. "It's a full drumette, three inches or bigger, and people love them."
The three restaurants offer Irish libations, with plenty of Guinness and Guinness variations, as well as Irish car bombs featuring Guinness, Bailey's Irish Cream and Jameson Irish Whiskey. Straight up whiskey is always popular as well.
"The smokiness from the barrel aging of the Irish whiskey pairs well with the peppercorns and the cloves in the corned beef," said Daniel Ortiz, bar manager at Irish Pub.
"People more than anything are looking for a reason to celebrate," he said of St. Patrick's Day.
Said Crowson, "It's the day of luck. Everybody is looking for a little luck that will last them year-round."
Guinness Steak and Mushroom Pie
• 2 pounds cubed beef
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• Oil for browning beef and onions (1 to 2 tablespoons)
• 1 pound sliced mushrooms
• 2 cups Guinness beer
• 2 cups beef stock
• 1 cup brown gravy
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Cobbler crust (use your favorite crust recipe or a ready-made crust)
• 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
This recipe can be made as one large casserole or individual pies. Saute beef and onions in oil until brown. Add remaining ingredients, except crust and egg, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Cut crust to size of desired dish. Place 1/2 crust in a pie plate, place the dish on a cookie sheet and glaze the crust with the beaten egg. Bake crust at 400 degrees until it is just starting to brown, about 12-14 minutes. Place filling in dish, top with crust and place back in the oven until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.
Courtesy of The Canyon's Crown Restaurant and Pub in Tucson.
St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef
• 4 pounds flat-cut corned beef brisket
• 1 lemon, ends trimmed
• 1 large onion, peeled
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
• 6 to 8 whole cloves
• 4 cups water
• 4 cups dark beer
• 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Trim and discard most of the surface fat from brisket. Rinse meat well under cool water, rubbing gently to release its corning salt.
Lay meat fattiest side up in a roasting pan. Thinly slice lemon (discard seeds) and onion and lay slices over meat. Sprinkle with peppercorns, garlic, allspice and cloves.
Set the pan on the middle rack in a 325-degree oven.
Bring the water and beer to a boil in a pan. Pour the boiling liquid around the brisket, seal the pan with aluminum foil, and bake until meat is very tender when pierced, about 4 hours. Uncover and drain off allthe liquid. If desired, reserve the lemon and onion slices and rearrange them on top of the meat.
In a small bowl, mix the mustard and brown sugar; spread evenly over meat and on top of the onion-lemon mixture. Broil about eight inches from heat until the mustard mixture begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a platter. Serve hot, warm or cold, slicing meat across the grain.
Courtesy of Tucson personal chef Kathy Bullerman, owner of Kuisine by Kathy.