Irish Potato Bites

March 16, 2016

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Goodness Gracious! Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! How time does fly! Here is a great little St. Patrick’s Day appetizer, Irish Potato Bites! These are little, one bite sized, twice baked potatoes stuffed with Corned Beef and Irish Cheddar and then topped with a little dollop of sour cream. They are completely addictive. And another fantastic thing about this dish is that you can make these little gems ahead of time and freeze them. Just pop them into the oven straight from the freezer to bake. Once they’re done, all that is left to do is garnish with the sour cream, chives and flaky salt just before you are ready to pass around the appetizer tray.

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Truth be told, while it was great that these appetizers were small enough to just pop into your mouth, it did make them a bit difficult to work with. The smallest melon baller I owned was too big to scoop out the inside potato bit, so I had to resort to a teeny tiny dessert spoon. It was totally do able, but I also bet you could go with a slightly bigger potato and serve these as a side dish rather than an appetizer if you were a bit short on time…or patience…or both.

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But if you don’t mind a little prep work, these appetizers are ahh…mazing! When I served them up, folks were delighted. Potatoes, Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar…you just can’t go wrong!

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Irish Potato Bites

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy - but a bit fiddly
  • Print

recipe from: White Lights on Wednesday

Ingredients:

  • 20 Baby Red Potatoes, small (golf ball size)
  • 1/2 Cup leftover Corned Beef, chopped finely
  • 1/4 Cup Irish Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
  • Salt & Maldon flaky sea salt for serving
  • Sour cream & chives for toppings

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Add potatoes and boil until they are fork tender.

Preheat oven to 400°F

Once potatoes are cooked and have cooled cut each one in half and cut a small slice off of the rounded end so the potato will not roll over. Place the potato halves on a parchment lined baking tray.

Carefully scoop out the flesh of each potato half into a medium sized bowl.

Mash the potatoes with butter until it is smooth Add the shredded cheese and corned beef to the potato and mix well.

Salt and pepper mixture to taste.

Sprinkle some salt over the reserved potato skin halves.

Scoop potato/corned beef/cheese mixture into potato halves and then place them on a baking sheet.

Pop baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Pipe a small dollop of sour cream onto each potato bite and garnish with fresh chives and few flakes of Maldon Sea Salt.

Enjoy!

Irish Potato Bites brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Helpful Links to Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Potato Bites:

Oxo Good Grips Melon Baller

 

 

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Colcannon (Cál Ceannann)

March 12, 2016

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Ahhhh….Colcannon! Irish Comfort food at its finest! I can’t believe in all my years of St. Patrick’s Day blogging I haven’t shared this recipe. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with this dish, it is buttery mashed potatoes whipped up with cabbage, leeks and bacon. OMG right?!!! With that list of outstanding ingredients, you just know it is going to be to die for.

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Colcannon or Cál Ceannann in Irish simply means white-headed cabbage. There are many regional variations on this dish, sometimes ham is used rather than bacon, sometimes you’ll find spring onions included rather than leeks. Indeed, I was rather horrified to discover that some peculiar folks will use kale rather than cabbage. This is disturbing to me for a couple of reasons. First off, the dish’s actual name is the word for cabbage, so….

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And then of course, I hate kale. Yup…hate it. I know it is good for me. However, I find it bitter and evil. In fact the mere thought of kale inspires this same look I have when I find caraway seeds in my soda bread.

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I’m flexible on swapping around some of the other ingredients in my Colcannon, though I do believe that leeks, cabbage and bacon are supreme. But, please… don’t get that nasty old kale anywhere near my Colcannon! Anyhoo…In Ireland, Colcannon is traditionally served on Halloween. It is a bit like Barmbrack that I just recently told you about, in that it was used in Halloween divination rituals. Several charms or trinkets, such as a ring, thimble or coins would be stirred into the Colcannon before it was served. The item you ended up with on your plate would tell your fortune. (i.e.. if you got a ring, you would be married before the year was through.) In the 1800’s, Irish immigrants brought this recipe with them to the United States and Colcannon came to be associated more with St. Patrick’s Day, rather than Halloween. I can definitely say, for me, Colcannon is great any time of the year. Sheer Comfort Food perfection!

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Colcannon (Cál Ceannann)

  • Servings: 6 -8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk (or cream if you are feeling particularly decadent)
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green portions,
    halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, about 1 lb., cored
    and coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.

Set a potato ricer over the bowl of a stand mixer and press the potatoes through in batches. Mix in the milk mixture in two additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 3 Tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Colcannon brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Colcannon:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Potato Ricer

 


Pan Haggerty

March 6, 2015

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Winter just won’t let go. We’ve had freezing rain, sleet, an ice storm and 8″of snow this week, not to mention that I have heard that the temperature is going to plunge down to 11° F (-12°C) tonight. I don’t know about you, but I think that seems a tad chilly for March. I guess there’s nothing to be done. Winter won’t leave until it is good and ready. So in the meantime I guess I’ll have to keep those ‘warm you up” recipes coming. I’ve got a great one for you today. Pan Haggerty. This dish, cooked and served in the same pan, is made up of potatoes, sauteed onions, bacon and cheese. Sounds great huh?

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Now there does seem to be some controversy whether it is an Irish dish or a British dish which hails from Northumberland. Seems everyone has a claim to it. I even read that sure it is associated with Northumberland, but that it was brought there by the Irish when they came to work in the mines. I don’t think it’ll ever be proven one way or another. But what I can tell you for certain is this rich, buttery, cheesy dish is definitely a winner! Served as a main dish or as a side, it is comfort food at its finest. And I think we could all use a bit of that right about now!

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Pan Haggerty

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Seasons and Suppers

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 sliced bacon, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced or diced
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 5-6 potatoes, thinly sliced into rounds (White potatoes or Yukon Gold – not Russets)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups grated Dubliner cheese (or substitute in your favourite)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In an oven-proof skillet, I prefer cast iron, over medium heat, heat a small amount  butter. Add the onions and a pinch of white sugar. Cook, stirring often, until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan and place in a small bowl. In the same pan, fry the bacon until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from the pan and combine in the bowl with the reserved onion and fresh thyme leaves.

In the same pan used to cook the bacon, arrange a layer of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the onion/bacon mixture. Add another layer of potatoes and another 1/3 of the bacon/onion mixture. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add another layer of potatoes and the final 1/3 of the onion/bacon mixture. Top with a final layer of potatoes.

Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of tin foil and reduce the heat to a low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottom layer of potatoes are golden.

Uncover the pan and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and top with grated cheese.

Return pan to the broiler and heat until cheese is melted and and edges of potatoes are crisped, about 5 minutes more. To serve, cut wedges from the pan.

Enjoy!

Recipe brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Champ (Brúitín in Irish)

March 14, 2013

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Champ, one of Ireland’s most delicious side dishes, is made with potatoes, scallions, chives, butter and milk. It is traditionally served with a deep well of butter in the center for dipping each spoonful or bite. Now I’m sure a few of you out there are saying, “Hey…isn’t that just mashed potatoes?”

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That is kind of what I thought until I tasted for the first time. Champ has a truly unique taste which comes from the scallions and scallion simmered milk used in the recipe. Plus I like that the Irish aren’t shy about using butter and each spoonful of Champ is served fully immersed in it. Yum!

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This dish is quite simple and inexpensive to make, but you will find it oh so  tasty, filling and comforting. It goes along wonderfully with any beef, lamb or pork dish, although I know I would be quite happy to make a meal of it, all on its own. It was a common Irish folk custom to leave a bowl of Champ for the fairies under Hawthorn trees on All Hallow’s Eve (Samhain – October 31st). I’m sure those lucky fairies are delighted with the gift wherever it is still given.

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Champ (Brúitín in Irish)

recipe adapted from: The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. potatoes – starchy potatoes like russets or Yukon gold, peeled and cut into even chunks
  • 20 scallions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup chives, snipped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Irish salted butter, melted and hot

Directions:

Add the potatoes to a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cover, bring back to a boil, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain well and put back in the pan. Cover with a clean dish towel for a few minutes to get rid of excess moisture.

While the potatoes are cooking, put the chopped scallions in a saucepan with the milk. Simmer for 5 minutes (do not boil), then drain, reserving the milk and scallions separately.

Mash the potatoes until smooth, stirring in enough of the reserved milk to produce a creamy consistency. Stir in the scallions and chives. Season to taste with sea salt flakes and black pepper.

Transfer the potato mixture to a warm serving dish. Make a well in the center of the potatoes and pour in the hot, melted butter.

To serve, spoon potatoes from the outside, dipping each spoonful into the well of melted butter before plating.

Enjoy!


Roasted Potato Leek Soup

March 4, 2013

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Now what you’ve got here is a big, hearty bowl of comfort! Roasted Potato Leek Soup will really warm you up this winter. And yes…it is still winter. It snowed yesterday and I hear it will be snowing again this Wednesday. And we haven’t had any cool snow at all this winter. You know the scenario where there is just enough snow to make everything look pretty and get work cancelled yet  a small enough amount that it’s completely melted in a couple of days? No, all that has shown up this winter are trifling little wet flakes that don’t amount to anything and are just plain annoying. Having a big old pot of this rustic, delicious soup goes a long way toward soothing those winter frayed nerves. I have eaten many a bowl of it in Ireland and thought it would be great to add to my St. Patrick’s Day countdown.

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But this soup is a little different from many of those which I consumed in various pubs across Ireland. In this creation, the potatoes and leeks are roasted before being added to the soup, which really enhances their flavours. And this lovely soup also has a surprise ingredient in it, Arugula or Rocket as it is often called in Europe. ( I think Rocket sounds better than Arugula, so I’m going to go with that for the rest of this post). When I first came across this recipe, I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about the addition of Rocket, but decided to go ahead and give it a try. I’m so glad I did because that peppery taste of that herb really adds that extra something to this vibrant, fresh tasting Potato & Leek soup. Oh and white wine, cream and parmesan cheese also show up in the list of ingredients, so you know this soup has to be unbelievably tasty!

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As it turns out, this soup not only tastes fantastic, but it is also good for you. Right now I’m sure you’re thinking, “yeah right…a cream based soup is good for me”. But I’m telling you it is. This soup has leeks, which everyone knows we love in this house. Leeks are part of the Alliaceae family along with garlic and onions. But leeks have a much more delicate, sweet flavour to them than their better known cousins. They are actually one of the most nutritious winter vegetables to be had. They are high in fiber, a good source of antioxidants, folate, vitamin C, B6, K, manganese and iron. I can tell your eyes are glazing over a bit now, but hang in there for just a second. Some of the health benefits of all those things I just rattled off are, lowering and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure and risk of Coronary Artery Disease and lowering the risk of low-level inflammatory  states like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Pretty impressive list huh?  But besides leeks, this soup also has a bunch of Rocket mixed in. Now Rocket has been grown as an edible herb since Roman times and was rumoured to be an aphrodisiac! Virgil states that “rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people”. It was likely this belief that lead to the prohibition of its cultivation in monastic gardens in the Middle Ages. Rocket has a rich peppery taste and is often eaten raw in salads, and it is actually a much more nutritious choice than most other salad greens. For instance, when you compare it to iceberg lettuce, you will find that Rocket has 8X more calcium, 5X more vitamin A, C and K and 4X the iron! Wowza! And although most folks do think of it as a salad green, it is actually classified as a cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These type of vegetables aid in the regulation of your immune system functions, which can protect you against cancers. Not to mention, like Kale, it is a good source of antioxidants. So there you have it! Healthy, Delicious and comforting! A combination not often found. You can serve this soup sprinkled with chives and accompanied with a lovely piece of butter slathered Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread as I did. Or you could garnish it with some nice crispy crumbled bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless. I think I’ll just throw another log on the fire now and tuck in a big bowl of that divine Roasted Potato Leek Soup. Surely Spring is just around the corner!

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Roasted Potato Leek Soup

recipe from: Dough-Eyed Girls

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, cleaned (about 4-5 large leeks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula (rocket), lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan

Directions:

Roast potatoes and leeks in olive oil and pepper at 400° F for 40-45 minutes, or until tender. Add Arugula/Rocket and roast for 5 more minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a bowl, adding the wine and 5 cups of the chicken broth. Be sure to scrape the pan clean of all the crispy bits – these add tons of flavor!

Puree the vegetables and stock until smooth in a food processor or blender. Transfer to large pot. I actually transferred my roasted vegetables directly to a large pot, added the broth and then used an immersion blender to puree.

Add stock until the consistency reaches a thick soup, and add cream and parmesan. Heat, covered until ready to serve.

Enjoy!


Potato Farls

March 3, 2012

My friend Theresa introduced me to Potato Farls while I was living in Ireland. I am eternally grateful to her! I LOVE Potato Farls. But what are they you might ask. Potato Farls are a type of bread where potato replaces a portion of the flour. Traditionally served with breakfast, they are pan-fried, usually in butter.  Although they are more typically found in Ulster and Northern Ireland, we were still able to find them in the Republic where we were living. The type that we most commonly would buy were square pieces of potato bread, lightly floured and about 1 cm thick. They usually came in packs of four.

A package of farls

But let me tell you that technical definition does not do them justice. They are spectacularly tasty and will put most hash browns to shame! Don’t get me wrong, I love all potato dishes. But Potato Farls hold a special place in my heart. Of course when I came back to the States, Farls were scarce to say the least! So I had to figure out how to make some of my own. After searching about and quite a few attempts, I came up with a recipe that I’m very happy with. Mine are definitely different from the type found in Ireland that I was used to, but are indeed quite welcome in this farl-less land. Some of the differences between mine and the Irish variety are that I’ve added cheddar cheese to mine. I also cut mine out with a 2″ biscuit cutter, rather than sticking to the square shape. I’ve found that they are much crisper this way than either the square form or the triangle shape that you get when you cut a circle of dough into quarters. But feel free to shape these little gems anyway you like. I guarantee that you will love them any way they’re served up. These farls are very easy to make. You mix left-over mashed potatoes with some flour, salt and pepper and knead it until it forms a dough.

Rolled out farl dough

Then you roll it out to 1/4″ to 1/2 ” thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the individual farls.

Farls cut out and ready to fry!

Cook them in a greased frying pan until golden brown.

YUM!!!

 My husband and I love these Potato Farls so much that we look for excuses to make mashed potatoes (as if anyone would need an excuse…) and then make way more than necessary. Like I will buy a five-pound bag of potatoes and cook them all when I’m only making dinner for two. Yes indeed, I’ve now started freezing my farls so that I will always have some ready when that Potato Farl craving calls. Try a batch of these with your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Farl-licious Breakfast

You won’t be disappointed though might possibly become addicted…

Potato Farls

yield: 8 farls

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup cold leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil or butter in which to fry farls ( I often use bacon grease)

Directions:

Place left over potatoes, flour and shredded cheese in bowl. Mix by kneading until it comes together into a soft dough. I usually use my hands to do this, spoons never seem to get the job done easily.

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to a circle about 1/2″ thick. At this point, you can choose to fry the whole circle and cut it into quarters once it has finished frying. For smaller round farls, using a 2″ biscuit cutter, cut out farls, re-rolling farl dough as necessary.

Heat oil or butter as you wish in a frying pan over medium high heat. ( I usually use bacon fat to fry them in, but of course, butter is lovely as well! Also, I prefer to use a cast iron pan, as the farls seem to come out crispier when I do.) Once pan and oil are nice and hot, add farls to pan.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over the Farls and cook until golden brown and then flip and cook the other side in same manner.

Enjoy!

*I will often make up a big batch of farl dough, cut out the farls and then freeze the uncooked farls, so that we can have farls at hand even when there hasn’t been any mashed potatoes about. Generally, I don’t even bother defrosting them when we’re ready to cook some up, but just pop them right into the pan frozen. That being said, they do tend to cause the oil to splatter and pop more when frozen so be cautious!


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