Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011: Irish Champ Recipe

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Of course I wanted to honor St. Patrick on his day by sharing an Irish recipe with you. The problem is that my dear husband doesn’t really care for corned beef (besides which it would make enough to feed an army and we’d have leftovers for weeks) and he certainly doesn’t care for the lamb that is traditionally part of an Irish stew. So I figured that mashed potatoes with scallions was my safest bet!

The Irish call it champ, and according to many sources, this is the most widely eaten potato dish in all of Ireland.

The odd thing is that this recipe calls for the potatoes to be cooked without peeling them first, which is the way my mother taught me to cook potatoes for mashed, salad – anything. She wasn’t Irish; in fact her family was Polish. It wasn’t until my mother-in-law showed me how much easier it was to peel cold potatoes and cook them in smaller pieces that I adopted her method. What about you? Did you learn to cook potatoes with or without the skins on?

So… Happy St. Patty’s Day and enjoy this traditional dish!

Champ (Mashed Potatoes)

6 to 8 baking potatoes, unpeeled
3 to 4 scallions (green onions)
1 ½ cups milk
6 T. butter (or more, to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes, place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook until soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from the pan and peel when cool enough to handle.

Finely chop the green onions, using both the white and green parts. Add to the saucepan used for boiling the potatoes. Add the milk and slowly bring just to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and let the mixture stand until slightly cooled. Add the cooked potatoes and mash with a fork. Add the butter and beat with a mixer until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Before serving, garnish with a pat of butter in the center of the mound (in a serving bowl or on a dinner plate).

Serves 4 to 6.

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