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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Champ - Scallion Mashed Potatoes for St. Patrick's Day



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...
Mashed potatoes were a real treat when I was a child. Our standard daily fare was a plain boiled or baked potato, but on Sunday those lowly spuds were transformed into a billowy mounds of creamy goodness that were fortified with butter and cream. It went a step further when my Grandmother was visiting. She made slight changes to my mother's recipe and by infusing the cream she used with scallions, our Sunday treat became Champ, an old Irish favorite. Nowadays potatoes are served as an accompaniment to meals, but there was a time in Ireland when potatoes were the meal. Traditionally, people who observed religious fasts would abstain from meat on Fridays. Champ became a popular meal, particularly for those who lived in inland areas where fish was not available. In their stead, Irish cooks made huge quantities of scallion infused mash. Champ was served in individual bowls and each portion had a well of melted butter in the center. The dish was eaten from the outside in. Forkfuls of potato were taken from the outer edges of the mound and dipped in the melting butter before tasting. Champ, by the way,is a translation of the Gaelic word brúightín, which means to bruise or pound. The dish should be made from winter potatoes that are cooked, then peeled and mashed. I like to rice the potatoes before mashing. Never use a mixer to prepare these. Over beating will make the potatoes gummy and you'll be disappointed with the results. Hot is the operative word here. Hot milk or cream should be beaten into the hot potatoes with a wooden spoon. The end result is a fluffy mound of potatoes flecked with scallions. This dish is much like Colcannon, which is made with cabbage or kale instead of scallions. I prefer Champ because it is lighter. I hope those of you who have never sampled the dish will give it a try. It is a perfect side-dish for St. Patrick's Day. Here's the recipe.


Champ
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Darina Allen's Irish Traditional Cooking

Ingredients:
3 pounds (6 to 8) unpeeled baking potatoes, e.g., Russet or Yukon Gold
1 large bunch (4-oz.) scallions (use the bulb and green stem)
1-1/2 cups milk or light cream or half-and-half
4 to 8 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1) Scrub potatoes and boil them in their jackets.
2) Finely chop scallions. Cover scallions with cold milk and bring slowly to a boil. Simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes, then turn off heat and leave to infuse.
3) Peel and mash freshly boiled potatoes and, while hot, mix with boiling milk and scallions. Beat in some butter, reserving most for serving. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve in one large or four individual bowls with a knob of butter melting in center.

Cook's Note: Champ may be put aside and reheated later in a moderate oven at 350°F. Cover with foil while it reheats so that it doesn't get a skin.






One Year Ago Today: Chicken Stroganoff







Two Years Ago Today: Roast Lamb

32 comments :

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I love the idea of treats reserved for Sunday.

Fondly,
Glenda

Pondside said...

Please, just fix me a big bowl and I'll be a happy woman.

Coleens Recipes said...

I agree, this is the PERFECT side dish.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Sounds great and it has a beautiful color:@)

ImSoVintage said...

Mashed potatoes is one of my favorite food groups. (It is a food group, isn't it?) I want these right now and it is 6 in the morning :)
Laura

The Harried Cook said...

My husband would LOVE this... I adore the green flecks and while I realize this is an awesome side, I would be happy with just mash and some gravy for my meal :)

Lenia said...

Amazing side dish!

Jenn said...

A friend of mine called me in a panic once.. she had put potatoes in the food processor to try and mash them... it was a mess!! lol
These potatoes looks so creamy and wonderful.. love the scallion in it.

Kim said...

Actually I never tried these and I'm more than curious. These looks really good!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

I'm crazy for mashed potatoes, I guess they just bring me back to my growing up years in the Midwest. Such comfort food! I could probably eat the whole bowl - any day of the week!

Martha said...

sounds delicious! love the stories and history behind your food posts. very interesting! have a wonderful day!

Suzi said...

I love potatoes and scallions, now what could be better than to mash the two together. Delish.

Judy@SavoringToday said...

Mashed potatoes have got to be the ultimate in comfort food. Adding the scallions is a flavorful delight.

Sue/the view from great island said...

My husband loves this dish, thanks for posting it. We learned to make it while we lived in London briefly, and he mentions it wistfully now and then. I don't know why but it's fallen off my cooking radar. I'll make this for him and he'll have you to thank!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

This sounds great I love mashed potato so this will make a nice change. I have never tried reheating it, so that is a fantastic tip to know. Thanks Mary and keep well. Diane

JG said...

A fond memory is Mashed Potatoes served with a roast - our scrumptious Sunday dinner every week. Yummy, these look delicious!
~Judy

Barbara said...

Fun, Mary. We are on the same wave length. I made it for a St. Paddy's Day post too. So simple, and so delicious. Be fun to try it with kale someday. I used scallions too.
(I ran across Darina's recipe for rhubarb bread pudding...I'm going to make it today, but not for her post.)

Nutry Mania said...

Adorei seu blog, tem conteúdos super interessantes. Eu já estou te seguindo!
Gostaria de te convidar para conhecer o meu blog.

http://nutrymania.blogspot.com/

Obrigada Ricely

Joanne said...

I would totally be content to just sit around and eat a huge bowl of this for dinner!

BeetleBuggy said...

Ooo I love the idea of scallion-infused cream, your granny was onto something awesome here! I bet this would work well with other herb flavorings too.

Angie's Recipes said...

Satisfying and healthy! I love simple potato dishes like this.

A Paixão da Isa said...

hummm super bom adorei muito bjs

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

I am addicted to scallions/green onions/whatever you want to call them. I could dive into this head first. Delicious!

Shug said...

I have learned a whole lot here today. First of all, I have never riced my potatoes before, but I have seen it done on TV... I want to give this a try. and then, when I add milk, I just grab it out of the ref.
and pour it into the pot that I am mashing...Makes sense for it to be warm. thanks for sharing all these neat things about this lovely treat!

SallyBR said...

Had never heard of "Champ" - love the name, and the potatoes must be out of this world good!

Comfort food at its best!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I'm a real potato girl. I just had colcannon this evening and next time I'll use scallions as I always have them in the refrigerator.

Linda A. Thompson Ditch said...

I've never thought of adding scallions to mashed potatoes. Silly me--it's a great idea! Can't wait to try it!

bellini said...

I do love a good bowl of potatoes Mary! I love champ on top of my shepherds pie. True comfort food.

mr. pineapple man said...

Can't wait for my st patricks dinner this year!! Hopefully it will be good as your food looks :)

James Brewer said...

This is one of my favourite ways to have mash. The heating of the milk with the spring onions in it, makes such a difference.

Becki's Whole Life said...

I love scallions and potatoes. I am doing my corned beef on Sunday. Maybe I will do these potatoes instead of the boiled.

Art By ASM said...

I love this. I first came upon the "Irish Mashed Potatoes, Colcannon" at an Irish Festival locally. Been hooked ever since. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have joined your blog. Look foward to reading!

Warmest Regards,
Annamaria Settanni McDonald
www.ArtByASM.BlogSpot.com

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