There are so many things you can do with potatoes, especially when making side dishes. Just ask my family what their favourite potato recipes are and you will get a whole host of replies. Fries! Mashed potatoes! Uh…how about more fries? Yes, there is no shortage of potato-related ideas luckily, but one thing I love to do with the humble potato is make colcannon, a typical Irish dish which pairs with just about everything. This is basically mashed potatoes with cabbage and cheese. It’s important to use a good cheese, and I’ve found the Kerrygold brand to be perfect here. In fact, I often add a little extra cheese to the mix.
Along with the cabbage and cheese, I add milk, salt, onion, butter and black pepper, and those are all the ingredients you’re going to need to get that Irish flavour just right. As for toppings, why not crumble some bacon on top or add some spring onions or chives for a splash of colour? Serve this with anything from sausages or pork chops to steak, chicken or even a hardy fish like cod or salmon. Yes, the bacon does complement the fish believe it or not!
Some people might want to try kale instead of the cabbage and that’s also fine (of course the Irish are more associated with their cabbage than their kale, these days you’ll find ‘anything goes’ so simply add your favourite green vegetable). Serve this instead of your usual plain mash, and see how everyone loves the cheese and bacon additions. In fact, this tastes so good I bet your kids won’t even notice you sneaked that cabbage in there! Try it and see. Continue reading
This stick-to-the-ribs type Irish recipe is perfect for those cooler months when you want something hearty and warming in the evening. Although you can use unsalted bacon, the traditional meat of choice is the smoked kind. We are cooking carrots and cabbage with the bacon (leave these out if you prefer) and making mashed potatoes on the side, along with a flavourful parsley and mustard sauce. Not only does the cooked bacon freeze, but there is never any waste with this recipe because you can use leftovers in sandwiches the following day, or just serve them with fried egg, chips (fries) and pickles.
You will need a large pot to make this, since the bacon and vegetables are cooked together in there with fresh herbs. When the bacon and vegetables are almost done, you can start the mashed potatoes. Mash butter into them, and perhaps some cream or milk too, depending on the consistency you prefer. The sauce is made with stock (from the bacon), cream, mustard and parsley, and it complements the meat just perfectly.
This makes a meal for 6 people, but because you can use or freeze the leftovers, you can make the full amount. If you are only feeding 3 people though, it is easy enough to halve the recipe. Else simply reduce the amount of mashed potatoes, since the bacon, vegetables and sauce will keep for several days and can be served cold or gently warmed back up for another taste of this delicious Irish dish. Continue reading
Colcannon is a favourite for St Patrick’s Day, made with potatoes and greens, usually cabbage but you could use kale, chard or another leafy green if you prefer. You can swap half the potatoes for parsnips if you like, or add some leeks, bacon and/or chives perhaps. We are roasting the corned beef until it is falling-apart tender, then letting it rest while we work on the colcannon – a buttery mixture of potatoes, onion and cabbage. Corned beef and cabbage is found on Irish bar and restaurant menus all over the world, although it might surprise you to learn this is not such a popular dish in Ireland!
Beef was considered a luxury in Ireland for a long time, with bacon and ham being far more popular. Irish immigrants in the US could get corned beef cheaply and easily (unlike bacon or ham) which is why it became a staple for Irish-Americans. Corned beef was considered a Jewish meat during the times of immigration, but the Irish found the texture similar to their beloved pork, which is probably why they made the change.
Bars in the early 20th century would offer free corned beef and cabbage to Irish workers who would come for drinks after working on building sites all day long (well, as long as they purchased a few drinks too!) You can buy corned beef in Ireland (usually the canned version) but it does not make a huge appearance around St Patrick’s Day as you might think. However, this dish is too good to miss out on, so give our corned beef and colcannon recipe a try and see what you think. Northern Ireland is technically part of Britain (although the ingredients in this dish are equally popular in the North and South of the country). Continue reading
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