Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Food: Colcannon and Irish Soda Bread

I love the holidays. Any holiday. I may not do much in the decorating department (I'm lousy when it comes to decor and crafts), but I love to cook a good themed meal. St. Patrick's Day is no different. Every year I serve Hubby and the kids corned beef, colcannon and Irish Soda Bread. Hubby looks forward to this meal almost as much as he does Prime Rib on his birthday and our anniversary.

My mom love colcannon, but doesn't get to eat it much since my dad doesn't really care for it. This year I decided to put the recipes up for anyone who wanted to cook an Irish meal. I found them on traditional Irish cooking websites, but I don't know how traditional they really are. I've never been to Ireland. Hopefully they're close enough. I hope you enjoy!

Colcannon, courtesy of Holidays Central

You may also add some chopped bacon or ham and leeks to the recipe if desired.
  • 4 russet potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt
  • 5-6 Tbsp unsalted butter (with more butter for serving)
  • 3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, cabbage, chard, or other leafy green
  • 3 green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup milk or cream
1 Put the potatoes in a medium 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 in a colander.
2 Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it's hot, add the greens. Cook the greens for 3-4 minutes, or until they are wilted and have given off some of their water. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.
3 Pour in the milk or cream, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens. Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.

I found this recipe on a website that had much debate about what a traditional Irish Soda Bread actually was. Whether they're right or not, it's the best version I've found so far.

White Soda Bread
4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  Lightly crease and flour a cake pan.
In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.
Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)
Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot).  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.
Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

There you have it. Add a corned beef roast, the recipe is on the packaging, and you have a St. Patrick's Day dinner. 

Have anything special you cook for St. Paddy's Day? Comment below!

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