I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and my childhood home was near a densely wooded forest. Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, there was magic in those woods. Late in the night, as March 16th rolled into March 17th, the leprechauns that lived in Serenity Woods, would emerge from hiding and make mischief. All along the pathways they would dance and celebrate the beautiful woods. Lying in my bed, some distance away, I could swear that I heard their cackling laughter as they sprang about with joy.
The following morning, my mom and dad would send my brother and I into the woods with a basket. Though my brother and I never saw the leprechauns, we knew they had been there. They left evidence, and it was our job to collect it. Our parents had trained us to spot it and at 7 years old, I was the older and wiser sibling, so I would lead the way. We vigilantly looked along the pathways and then, we’d spot one. During their joyous celebration, the leprechauns had turned the rocks into potatoes! With keen eyes, my brother and I would collect all of the potatoes and return home triumphant in our journey.
Then, the real fun began. Dad would make his potato soup using an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe that he learned from his father. This deceptively simply recipe makes the best St. Patrick’s Day Potato Soup. It’s hearty and will fill your belly with warmth, but to make it lucky…you’re going to have to search the woods for magic potatoes. As I mentioned, my brother and I were well-trained and knew how to spot them. This skill takes many years of practice and it may be too late for you…but maybe, just maybe it’s not too late for your children. Tell them this story and teach them how to seek out leprechaun evidence in their own backyard and hopefully, you too will be enjoying luck and potatoes this year.
Luck and Potato Soup Recipe
- magic potatoes, unpeeled and cut into large chunks
- fresh (or frozen) green beans, snapped into bite size pieces
- a ham steak cubed*
Place everything in a large pot and cover the ingredients with water. Let it simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender. Salt and pepper to taste, though you may not need salt because the ham will contribute enough salt. This tastes great the first day, but even better the next day. Serve it warm with a chunk of buttered, crusty french bread.
*Okay, so I don’t eat this exact recipe anymore because I’m a vegetarian, but here’s a link to a veggie-friendly “Hearty Irish Lager Stew” and you can replace the regular ol’ red potatoes with magic ones and I’m sure it will taste even better!
Luck and potatoes to ya!