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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Try the Food and Drink From the Emerald Isle

Every St. Patrick's Day, every Irishman goes out to find another Irishman to make a speech to. -- Shane Leslie, "American Wonderland," 1936

While writer Leslie may have been a little off target, there is no doubt that good Irish bars feature lively conversation. Moscow's Irish bars on St. Patrick's Day are no exception to this.

While I enjoyed a Guinness with friends Sunday, I suffered a pang of remorse about not featuring Irish cuisine prior to St. Patrick's Day. I offer my apologies to one of the most prominent communities in Moscow -- the Irish.

Irish food is well suited to a Moscow winter. Most ingredients are readily available in Moscow at local markets or Western-style supermarkets. Irish dishes are best served with a good stout or beer. Their world class beverages not only facilitate conversations in a bar, but also complement their cuisine. Guinness and Murphy's are the most readily available stouts in the world and have a rich, full-bodied flavor, as my expanding waistline attests. Kilkenny ale and Harp lager are also world class. Guinness and Harp lager are available from the Garden Ring Irish supermarket.

Irish stew is a delicious casserole. It can be served topped with dumplings and accompanied by plain, boiled cabbage as a hearty and warming winter dish. It's traditionally made with neck or breast of lamb or mutton, potatoes, leeks, carrots and onions cooked slowly in a heavy casserole pan and served with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley. Sometimes celery, pearl barley and bouquet garni -- bay leaf, parsley stalks and thyme tied together -- are added since the dish often depends on the availability of the various ingredients -- a useful attribute in Moscow.

The Garden Ring supermarket has a limited supply of lamb at $6.65 per kilogram, potatoes at $3.70 for 2.5 kg, leeks for $5.50 a kg, carrots for $1.85 per kg and onions for $1.49 a kg -- a convenient one-stop shop for this dish. The more adventurous may look for their lamb or mutton from their local markets -- Cheryomushkinsky has a wide variety of meats -- but hygiene cannot be guaranteed. The Garden Ring supermarket also has bay leaves for $1.79 per jar, but I was unable to find any pearl barley.

Colcannon potatoes can be eaten as a simple main course or a complement to any red meat. Finely shredded cabbage is sauteed with sliced spring onions and stirred into mashed potatoes that have been seasoned with Kerrygold butter, cream and nutmeg. Cabbages are around 3,000 rubles (53 cents) per kilogram in the markets and in the Arbat gastronom, while a bunch of spring onions are around 5,000 rubles. At the Garden Ring supermarket, Kerrygold butter, a high quality Irish dairy product, is $1.40 for 250 grams, ground nutmeg is $2.45 for a 52-gram jar and Nestle's Alpen Sahne cream is $1.40 for 200 ml.

Garden Ring Supermarket, 2 Serafimovicha Ulitsa. Tel: 230-1261, 230-0718. Open 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Nearest metro: Biblioteka Imeni Lenina.

Arbat gastronom, 13 Novy Arbat. Open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nearest metro: Arbatskaya.