Tag Archives: potato casserole

Colcannon: You had me at potatoes.

Somewhere in my patchwork ancestry there lives a little Irish. How much? I don’t really know. Probably a little slice. It’s enough to give me pale, tan-resistant skin, an affinity for the smell of rain, a tiny hint of red in my hair, and an undying love for potatoes. I don’t know very much about the cuisine of Ireland. I am sure it involves more than potatoes. Yes? Maybe one day I’ll visit and find out first-hand. In the meantime, I’ll stick with potatoes. One of the Irish dishes I’ve always enjoyed is colcannon. It’s easy to make, comforting and delicious, as potatoes almost always are.

This version has more greens than your garden-variety colcannon, which added some great texture and flavor (and a few more vitamins!). The thing about greens is they cook down so much you can eat a lot of them and not really notice, especially in a wonderful conglomeration like this. This is the third recipe I’ve made out of my new cookbook, The Book of Greens, and it’s my favorite one yet. Lest you think this book is all about healthy rabbit food and vegetarian recipes, feast your eyes on the yummy shot of my skillet full of butter, bacon and sopressata. Oh yeah, baby. Life is all about balance.

Colcannon
(from The Book of Greens, by Jenn Louis)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
4 oz. sopressata or bacon, coarsely chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (I used a little of both)
8 oz. green or Savoy cabbage (I used 1/2 small head of green cabbage)
8 oz. Russian kale without stems, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons (I used one big bunch. You could also use other varieties of kale or chard)
1 cup milk
A few gratings of nutmeg
Salt & pepper
1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes (how much is this? I used 5 medium-ish potatoes. When in doubt, I always throw in another one, but that’s just me)

Preheat the broiler.

In a large skillet or sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and sopressata and/or bacon and stir to combine.

Adding this mixture to just about anything is pretty much guaranteed to make it delicious.

Add the cabbage and kale and cook until both are tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the milk and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the greens are soft but not browned, about 15 minutes.

While the greens are cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Put the potatoes in a saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the kale and cabbage mixture and gently mix on low speed until the potatoes are mashed and evenly mixed with the greens (you could also use an old-fashioned potato masher for this instead of a mixer if you are so inclined). Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture in a baking dish and place under the broiler until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from broiler and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish. Double recipe if eating as a main dish. <<< My plan for next time.

Colcannon and pork loin. Truthfully, I could lose the pig and double the colcannon. So good.

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Shepherd’s Pie Goes Veggie

Yesterday I posted about an amazing Shepherd’s Pie I made with pulled pork.  It was delicious.  But what I didn’t tell you is that I made a vegetarian version at the same time since I had a friend over who doesn’t eat pork (or anything else with a face).  It was easy enough to layer things in two dishes instead of one.  This is one of the things that I really like about this recipe.  Since you prepare the ingredients separately, it’s very easy to customize to different tastes.  You could even do individual servings if you wanted to really go crazy.

I have to say, I love the vegetarian version just as much as the meat version.  But then, there ARE mashed potatoes involved, and how can you go wrong there?  Want the meaty version?  Click here for the recipe.

Shepherd's Pie Goes Veggie

Shepherd’s Pie Goes Veggie

Shepherd’s Pie Goes Veggie

8 oz. (or more) sliced mushrooms (I used a mix of button mushrooms and shiitake)
1/2 cup pearl onions (I use the frozen, peeled ones because I hate peeling these things)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1-2 inch pieces
2-3 medium red potatoes, with skin on
1-2 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
1-2 tbsp. butter
1/4- 1/2 cup milk
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Quarter the potatoes and cover with water in a large sauce pan.  Throw in the whole, peeled cloves of garlic.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so until fork tender.  Drain the water.  Add butter, milk and salt & pepper to taste and mash with a potato masher.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet saute mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil with fresh thyme and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until softened and set aside.  Put green beans and pearl onions in a glass bowl with a little water, cover with a plate or plastic wrap (undone a bit to let steam escape) and microwave for a 2-3 minutes.  Drain water.  (You could alternatively boil these on the stove for 3-4 minutes if you prefer).

Preheat oven to 375˚. Assemble your pie by mushrooms in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with green beans and onions.  Pile on the mashed potatoes and spread out to cover everything evenly.  Sprinkle with green onions and parmesan.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until everything is hot and mashed potatoes are starting to brown on top.  Dig in!  Makes 2-3 servings.

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