For the love of all things Irish

March 26, 2013

By Karista Bennett

I’m deeply enamored with Ireland. It feels a poetic and romantic place. Melodic Celtic music seems to transcend time, lush green landscapes, drifting fog and rugged shores. All create visions of charm and daydreams.

I’m just as enamored with Irish cuisine. Deep, rich flavors warm a belly and comfort the soul. It’s hearty fare my grandmother used to call “stick to your ribs” cuisine. Perfect for the cool evenings still to come.

By Karista Bennett Irish cuisine is delicious anytime, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.

By Karista Bennett
Irish cuisine is delicious anytime, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.

There’s no celebrating the arrival of spring at my house without some festive and hearty Irish fare. One of my favorite dishes to prepare is Colcannon. Traditionally a mashed potato, cabbage and green onion side dish, I decided to recreate this lush recipe into a one-pot meal.

Layered sautéed onions and ground sausage with wilted Swiss chard and green onion swirled mashed potatoes, topped with creamy Irish cheddar. Much like shepherd’s pie meets Colcannon … with a little Issaquah flair.

Here’s to a most delicious spring season!

 

Colcannon Bake

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 pound ground sausage, beef, lamb or chicken
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Irish cheddar (I used Dubliner Irish cheddar)
  • 8-by-8 baking dish

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 350F. Prepare the mashed potatoes.

Place the cubed potatoes in a medium or large pot and cover with cold water. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue a lively simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Drain the potatoes and then place back into the pot. Add the butter and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. For smoother potatoes, I transfer them to my Kitchen Aid mixer (with the paddle attachment) and mix until smooth.

Gently mix in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and try not to sneak bites.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon or two of oil and sauté the onions. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and ground meat and cook until done. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the ground meat and onions to the baking dish.

Using the same skillet, sauté the Swiss chard over medium heat until wilted. Take the skillet off the heat and toss with the green onions.

Gently fold together the mashed potatoes, wilted Swiss chard and green onions. Spread the mashed potato mixture over the ground meat and onions. Sprinkle evenly with the shredded Irish cheddar.

Place the baking dish in the oven and heat until the cheddar is melted and sides are bubbly.

Let the Colcannon Bake cool slightly before serving. This can certainly be served as a one-dish meal or serve with spring greens dressed in lemon or citrus vinaigrette.

 

Karista Bennett is a local chef/owner at Karista’s Kitchen and culinary instructor at PCC Natural Markets. See more recipes at www.karistaskitchen.com.

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