Monday, March 16, 2015

Western PA Ethnic Cooking - Part 2 - Scotch-Irish and Irish

Western PA Ethnic Cooking - Part 2 Scotch-Irish and Irish

These immigrants came to western PA in two waves because of religious persecution:

Scotch Irish Presbyterians (I believe this group was responsible for my Scotch-Irish Protestant heritage – besides my German heritage)

  • 1700’s and on
  • Involved in the American Revolution because they didn't like England
  • Many of the these immigrants became strong voices in the movement to break all ties with Great Britain
  • They also caused the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 in the US because they refused to pay whiskey tax and thus the militia came in to calm them down after they tarred & feathered federal agents!!
  • First seminary in western PA was at Univ. of Pittsburgh
  • Also founded a seminary at Washington-Jefferson
  • Notables:  Stephen Foster, Robert Fulton, Samuel Morse and area families like Mellon, Oliver and Jones
  • More educated than the Irish Catholics who followed

Irish Catholics

  • 1800’s and on
  • By 1850 10,000 in Pittsburgh
  • Settled in Pittsburgh
  • From Ulster in Northern Ireland
  • Others came from Leinster, Munster and Connaught
  • Area’s first most significant Catholic influx
  • Tradesmen
  • The Protestant hold on Pittsburgh created an anti-Catholic sentiment
  • Late 19th century emerged as a force of their own

FOODS:  Scotch-Irish

  • Scottish Eggs
  • Shepherd’s Pie (Instructions from earlier days for Shepherd’s pie:  Cook round steak until done in skillet. After it is cooked, put in a baking dish with drippings and layer with sliced onions on top. Cover with thick layer of mashed potatoes. Brush with butter. Heat in oven until hot.  Place under broiler until potatoes are browned.  Serve with peas. NOTE:  Don’t you love the absence of amounts and temperature in oven?)
  • Shortbread, shortbread cookies and cakes

FOODS:  Irish

  • Oat Bread
  • Potato Bread
  • Soda Bread
  • Colcannon (potatoes, scallions, cabbage and ham)






Scottish Eggs:

(NOTE:  The older version that the immigrants used would have had the following ingredients:  eggs, flour, bulk pork sausage, dry bread crumbs, salt, 2 beaten eggs for the breading, I guess and they deep fried in peanut oil.  NOTE:  In modern day I wouldn’t add any salt because there is too much salt in pork & I would not deep-fry; too much fat and cholesterol. I would use a sauce.

(NOTE:  My variation on Scottish eggs when I made the recipe several years ago: Hard boil 4 eggs. Peel them and use them at room temperature. Cover each egg with ground pork sausage – mold around the egg.  Bake in oven till sausage is browned at 350 degrees; I don’t remember how long!! Serve on plate with canned Cream of Celery Soup that has been thinned with milk. ½ can milk with one can of soup. I always used Campbell’s.)

(NOTE: I recently had this at an Irish restaurant. They put breading over the sausage and used a white type sauce.  It was good too.)

What is a scotch egg?  According to WIKI:

Scottish Egg Recipe from Bon Appetit:

Scottish Egg VIDEO:

 Shepherd’s Pie google link search:


Short Bread (NOTE: many of the modern day recipes use brown sugar but the old recipes used white sugar)

Oat Bread (or oatmeal bread) (NOTE: Some of the modern recipes use steel cut oats and whole wheat flour but original used regular rolled oats not instant, white flour, molasses, honey, water, butter and yeast)

I have included a few links that seem as close to the original recipe that I can get:


Potato Bread link:

Irish Soda Bread link:

Colcannon link:

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