An Irish Butcher Shop by Pat Whelan

An Irish Butcher Shop by Pat WhelanIrish butchers are coming out from behind the counter. No longer content with just selling quality meat, they’re now talking about it as well. They’re telling people exactly where that particular joint comes from, how it is raised, humanely slaughtered and properly aged before it is handed over. Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers in Co Tipperary goes one step further with An Irish Butcher Shop. This is a cookbook that will ensure that customers have all his expertise at their fingertips when they arrive home.

There are plenty of traditional recipes – Irish Stew, Steak and Kidney Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, of course – but Whelan also introduces, gently (chilli is often marked optional!) dishes from other countries and traditions. With Persian Kotfah and Pork Schnitzel or Chinese Pork Balls and Beef Satay to choose from, week night dinners should get a little more interesting.

Whelan is also good at bringing attention to the oft-neglected, cheap cuts. Shoulder of lamb gets marinaded, then roasted for six hours, or stuffed and pot roasted; lamb shanks are for soup or, Tamasin Day-Lewis’ superb Braised Lamb Shanks with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar. Salt pork becomes Pork and Beans, a one pot winter warmer, or there’s Braised Oxtail and several alternatives for braising beef (Braised Beef and Guinness Casserole, Beef Stew with Dumplings). Game also gets a look in, with recipes for venison, rabbit and phesant, and Whelan makes sure that meals are well balanced by including side dishes (Potato and Onion Casserole, Baked Tomatoes with Garlic Butter).

I would like more offal, although I accept I’m in a minority, but Whelan more than makes up for that lack by the inclusion of Black Pudding Potato Cakes and retro classic Beef Wellington. Bringing a good selection of recipes together under one cover, An Irish Butcher Shop is, quite simply, the story of a man who loves meat.

Must Cook: staying local for Tipperary Chicken with Apples; Christmas Turkey with Cranberry Sauce (still looking for recipes for my duo down the garden); and, it might not be meat but it certainly sounds good, Corn Fritters.

James Whelan Butchers are online at and offer an exceptional online shop, with free nationwide delivery for orders over €100. Should I have whetted your appetite, he is also stocking free range bronze turkeys for Christmas, complete with a free turkey timer. Pat Whelan has a blog with lots of recipes, tips and video guides and is also on @Twitter.

An Irish Butcher Shop is published by Collins Press, who kindly sent me this review copy.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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5 Responses

  1. Gary Gubbins says:

    Higreat post…Just to let you know, Pat will be on stage as part of the Tipperary Food Prodùcers’ Cooking at Christmas event on November 10th in associaiton with Bord Bia.Gary

  2. TheGlutton says:

    This book sounds brilliant – a definitely on my cookbook wishlist. And I love the cover – it already looks like the kind of book that will be coveted by our children when they are older.

  3. Vicky says:

    Wow Caroline, what a great idea for a book, I got a Good Housekeeping Book for Christmas when i was 12 with all the veg’s & cuts of meat & different dishes.It is really something everyone should know. Great idea, i’m defo not one for offal dishes, altho my mum luv’s pig’s tongue & my gran used to love tripe.Not really my cuppa tea!! Best of luck Friday Vick x

  4. Claire O'Sullivan says:

    Ms Hennessy,How the hell are you? Was looking at a press release on kilkenny fest and saw you, then looked up your blog. I love it! I am the world’s worst cook..yet I love good food blogs…I kind of get a jealous kick out of the zeal of all you cooks..Also saw your gorgeous pics on Weekend back a few weeks ago. Looks like you’re living the rural idyll! Good for you lady! Text me when you’re in Cork some day. Would love to have a coffee. Has been a long time.Claire

  5. Caroline says:

    @Gary thanks for letting me know about the Christmas event – and lovely to meet you at FoodCamp!

    @The Glutton it’s already coveted by Little Missy. She keeps pointing at the pic and saying “yum, yum”. She obviously knows a good thing when she sees it.

    @Vicky you sound so like me! I was a child obsessed with cookbools as well, even learning how to eat artichokes from pictures in one of my mother’s few cookbooks. That skill has stood me in good stead since!

    @Claire had to laugh when I turned the page of the Examiner Weekend – from my turkeys to your cooking panics! Did you not cook us all dinner when you lived off Thomas Street? I do remember you bringing your younger brother (?) to one of our food nights at Richmond Hill and he being most disappointed because the curry wasn’t hot enough. Ah, funny days! Will definitely try and catch up some day in Cork.

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