An Irish Easter Dinner Menu from Donal Skehan

updated Jun 9, 2019
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

This Easter, we had the pleasure of inviting Irish food writer Donal Skehan into our kitchen! He created a menu for us of traditional Irish fare to celebrate the holiday. We have mussels in Irish cider to start, followed by a gorgeous roast lamb with a green garlic pesto that’s sure to bring everyone to the table. There’s also warm soda bread and creamed kale to pass around the table, and a marshmallow lemon cake to serve for dessert. (Save room!)

Sound good? Here’s everything you need to know to cook this feast in your own home this Easter.

An Irish Easter Dinner

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Side Dish: Irish Creamed Kale

The Recipes

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Your Cooking Timeline

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

What to Prep Ahead

  • Make the cake in the morning or up to three days ahead. Cover the iced cake with a cake dome or an overturned bowl and leave on the counter.
  • Make the pesto for the lamb. Keep refrigerated in a covered container with a film of oil over the surface until needed.

Dinner Timeline

2h:15 before sitting down to dinner

  • Heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Prepare the soda bread and begin baking it in the heated oven. Bake for about 35 minutes.


  • Remove the soda bread from the oven and set aside on a cooling rack.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 400°F.
  • Prepare the lamb and place in the oven to begin roasting (calculate 15 minutes per pound).
  • If you haven’t already done so, make the pesto and set it aside to serve with the lamb.


  • Check the lamb’s temperature to gauge cooking time — adjust the remainder of the schedule as needed. (Cook to an internal temperature of 125°F for rare or 135°F for medium.)
  • Begin cooking the braised lettuces to serve with the lamb.
  • In another pan, begin cooking the creamed kale.


  • Remove the lamb from oven and tent loosely with foil to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Wrap the soda bread in foil and place in the turned-off, but still-warm oven to re-warm. Set a timer so you don’t forget about it!


  • Make the mussels. Have a serving dish ready.
  • Finish cooking the braised lettuces. Transfer to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.
  • Finish cooking the creamed kale. Transfer to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.


  • Serve the mussels as an appetizer.
  • Carve the lamb and transfer to a serving plate.

Your Shopping List

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

To buy at the grocery store:

  • White or yellow onion (1 medium)
  • Spring onions (1 bunch or 10 whole)
  • Baby gem lettuces (6)
  • Garlic (1 head)
  • Green garlic (1 bunch)
  • Kale (1 large bunch)
  • Lemon (3)
  • Fresh rosemary (3 sprigs)
  • Fresh thyme (3 sprigs)
  • Parsley
  • Large eggs (4)
  • Heavy cream (1/2 cup)
  • Buttermilk (1 1/2 cups)
  • Frozen peas (8 ounces)
  • 3 1/2 pounds mussels
  • Leg of lamb (bone-in, roughly 4 1/2 pounds)
  • Pancetta (8 ounces)
  • Thick-cut bacon (4 slices)
  • Parmesan cheese or mature Coolea cheese (enough for 2/3 cup grated)
  • Pine nuts (1/3 cup)
  • Chicken stock (1/4 cup)
  • Jumbo marshmallows (27 whole or about 7 ounces)
  • Lemon curd (1 jar)
  • Bread flour (1 2/3 cups)
  • All-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
  • Whole-wheat flour (1 1/3 cups)
  • Superfine sugar (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • Powdered sugar (2 cups)
  • Hard cider (dry, 1 3/4 cup)
  • White wine (1/3 cup)

In your pantry – check to make sure you have these things:

  • Butter (2 sticks, or 1/2 pound)
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Honey