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…
3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter, divided
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 (1-pound) piece ham or bacon, cooked the day before
4 scallions, finely chopped
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.
Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces.
Add cabbage, scallions, and ham to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.
Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top by swirling a wooden spoon. Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.
Click here to download the recipe!
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease well; set aside. You can also use an 8-inch cake pan or ovenproof skillet.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the buttermilk just until combined and it starts to become too stiff to stir. Transfer to work surface and with floured hands lightly knead the dough 5-10 times or until all the flour is moistened and the dough comes together.
Form dough into an 8-inch round. Place on prepared pan and with a very sharp knife cut a 1/4-inch deep X on the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.