This week marks the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, where everybody wears green and pretends they're Irish. I actually am part Irish, my grandmother being a Keough and her mother bring a Doyle, and we have always eaten Irish food. I think midwestern food is somewhat similar to Irish, in that we both tend to use simple, seasonal ingredients that are comforting and filling.
While we always think of corned beef and cabbage as the quintessential Irish dish, it's not something many people ever truly look forward to, and the sides tend to be the most exciting part of the meal. So today I made two easy, quick meatless sides that you can bring to your get together this holiday, or make for yourself to enjoy any time.
The first dish, colcannon, is actually a Halloween dish, but I couldn't resist sharing it today because it's a dish I've made many times at home before and it uses my favorite green vegetable: kale! It even has it's own song!
3-5 lbs. gold potatoes
1 bunch kale (or cabbage)
1 stick butter
1 c. milk
salt&pepper to taste
Chop and boil the potatoes in well-salted water until they're cooked through.
When they're nearly done, heat the milk and butter in a separate pan.
Meanwhile, trim the kale. If you flip a leaf of kale over, you'll see the tough stem on the back. This part is hard and woody and you don't want to eat it, so you'll have to cut it out. You can cut it with a knife or pull the leaves off with your fingers.
Once you've taken off the stems, slice up the leaves.
You're going to boil the kale in the water you used to cook the potatoes, so drain the potatoes with a slotted spoon and put them into the pot with the milk and butter.
Dump in the kale and cook it just for a minute until the leaves turn bright green. Drain.
Then add the kale to the potatoes and milk, add a good dose of salt and pepper, and mash away.
Like the song says, serve with a big pat of butter on top.
This recipe isn't all too different from the famous Irish Soda Bread, which includes raisins. Both of these breads are quick breads, meaning they get their leavening from chemical leaveners (baking powder and baking soda) for the carbon dioxide lift, rather than yeast.
This bread is hearty and rustic, and comes together very quickly and easily.
I used this recipe from MyRecipes, but I used a food processor to make it even faster.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine
1. c unbleached a.p. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cut in 1.5 tbsp. cold butter.
Add 2 c. whole wheat flour and 1/4 c. old fashioned oats.
Pulse to combine, and add 1.5 c. plain yogurt.
Bring it together in the bowl.
Dump it out onto the table and knead just a few times to bring it together into a ball.
Cut an X into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes, or until it's brown. I love how much this spread in the oven.
Really easy, really delicious.
These two get along well together.
Tell me in the comments, what is your St. Patrick's Day tradition? I hope you share these and other delicious dishes with your family and friends this holiday, and maybe have a glass of stout to wash it all down.