A LITTLE BUTTER DOESN’T HURT.
“Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue. But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.” Irish Proverb.
As many of you may have seen, read or ‘googled’ this traditional dish of Ireland, Colcannon mostly consists of mashed potatoes & kale or cabbage. Totally healthy if you completely disregard the important role of cream and butter. But, guess what… get excited (drum roll, please)… We don’t use cream in this recipe! Just butter 🙂 A good amount of butter. Hey, don’t roll your eyes, didn’t I say it has a super important role in making this meal over-the-top awesome? (Wink.)
Okay, here’s Lisa’s note. I don’t have to mention again that my studio is calling. Gotta go, friends. Enjoy Lisa’s short (but oh-so-dead on) writing, the yummy pictures… and the Colcannon if you decide to make it. It’s never too late. (Wink, again.)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
Ladies & Gentlemen,
From the desk of Lisa K.
Irish food is humble, and beautifully so. It does not come out of an excess of ingredients. It is rather, made of simple and inventive combinations of farm staples. Although simple, it is most certainly festive, and comforting. Potatoes, oats, butter, cream, and… stout. People! Dark, brooding, delicious stout. Yum!
My Irish ancestors fall too far back on my family tree for me to have grown up eating Irish cooking. Yet the heart of it still speaks to me. It tastes of hard work and the comfort of family. I remember my Mother making due — extending food in ingenious and yet festive ways. She would scrub potatoes, so that after they were peeled and served mashed, the skins could be saved and fried to make “chips.” I loved her clever, cheerful resourcefulness. In Irish food, I taste a similar cheerfulness in the face of hardship.
So why try to recreate these wonderful foods in gluten and somewhat dairy free versions? Sounds like a serious contradiction! Simple cuisine really is supposed to be an homage to the ingredients, right?! Well, I hear you. I prefer traditional, authentic ingredients too! But alas and alack, food allergies and sensitivities being what they are, we also — are making due.
Note: Many people who can not tolerate dairy are able to eat butter. Though these recipes are free of other dairy products they call for butter.
- 8 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 3 leeks (white and light green parts), halved and thinly sliced
- 2 large bunches kale (about 6 cups), washed, large ribs trimmed, and chopped
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- freshly-grated nutmeg, to taste
- Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain off the water, reserving a few cups. Pour the potatoes into a large serving bowl.
- Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of the butter to the pot. Cook the leeks until they have begun to soften. Add the kale and toss to mix with the leeks. Add about 1⁄3 cup of the reserved potato liquid to wilt the greens and cook until all the water has evaporated and the greens are tender.
- Add the potatoes, and half of the remaining melted butter. Reduce the heat to medium. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens and adding reserved potato water to achieve the desired creaminess. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and serve hot, make a well in the center, and fill with the rest of the melted butter.