With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, it’s time to prepare an authentic Irish menu to celebrate the day. Chef Jill has some ideas for you, and she’s here today to demonstrate two Irish classics – Colcannon and Irish Soda Bread.
Colcannon is a flavorful Irish potato dish that can be used as a main dish or a side dish, depending on what you decide to incorporate in it. It allows for a bit of freestyling. Start with boiled potatoes. Use Russet potatoes or Yukon Gold. Red potatoes can sometimes get a bit gummy when you mash them. Chef Jill cooked the potatoes in the Instant Pot (and she has some tips for the best ways to do that in the video below), but you could boil your potatoes on the stovetop, if you prefer. After the potatoes are cooked, mash them using a potato mashing utensil (or an improvised tool, such as the bottom of a clean soda bottle or something similar). Add the hot milk, butter, and a bit of salt and pepper (Don’t overdo the salt. You can add more later.) Work it all into your potatoes until creamy, being careful not to overwork the potatoes.
While your potatoes are cooking, boil a bit of cabbage and chop as described in the recipe. Cook ham or bacon as indicated below, as well. Gently stir in the chopped boiled cabbage and bits of cooked bacon or ham. Chop scallions and parsley, reserving a bit of parsley for garnish, then gently stir into the potato mixture. At this point, taste your creation and add salt or pepper to taste.
Serve it up with some corned beef for the holiday, if you like.
Next, Irish Soda Bread to serve with our Colcannon…
There are only 4 ingredients needed to make Chef Jill’s Irish Soda Bread. Couldn’t be easier! Measure the dry ingredients from the recipe below and whisk them to both lighten up the flour and incorporate the baking soda and salt. Then add the buttermilk and gently stir to mix. That mixture of buttermilk and baking soda work together to give the bread a beautiful rise and a biscuit-like texture. Once the ingredients are well combined, the dough will be a sticky ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of your dough and on the edge of a bench scraper. Use the bench scraper to make the first few turns of the dough until it is less sticky. Coat your hands in flour and gently knead your dough. Fold your dough in half toward you, then lightly, with the palms of your hands, push the dough away from you. Continue turning and gently stretch and smooth the dough. If it gets sticky again, add a bit more flour. When you feel the dough is ready, work it into a ball, running your hands under the edges of the dough and turning it into a smooth little ‘dough baby’ ball.
It wouldn’t be Irish Soda Bread without the cross cut into the top, so with a serrated knife, cut an X across the width of your dough, about a 1/4″ deep. Place the dough on a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and bake it at 425º F for 30-35 minutes. Your soda bread should have a golden crust when ready. Enjoy!
Watch the video below to see Chef Jill in our CCKC kitchen making the recipes below for Colcannon and Irish Soda bread…