St.Patrick’s Day is a traditional Irish festival celebrated annually on the 17th March to commemorate the country’s patron saint. Between the flowing Guinness and green attire associated with this day there’s quite an interesting story behind the man it all revolves around.
It is believed that St.Patrick wasn’t actually Irish but came from Scottish or Welsh heritage. Abducted at 16 and shipped to Northern Ireland he was worked as a slave used primarily as a sheep herder. After escaping he is said to have had a vision which saw his return to Ireland where he began to spread the word of Christ. St.Patrick’s Day itself marks the anniversary of his death and is traditionally celebrated as a day of spiritual renewal. He is also famously associated with the myth that he chased all of the snakes in Ireland into the sea (scientists claim there’s no evidence of snakes having ever been part of the island’s native fauna but I prefer the traditional explanation for their absence!).
Potatoes are a traditional staple and integral part of the Irish diet. Choosing just one recipe to showcase here was difficult! The dish I’ve opted for is Colcannon – a traditional and simple creamy mash with cabbage and, in this variation, spring onions (or scallions). I’ve used Kerr’s Pink potatoes in this recipe – a popular Irish variety with a fluffy, white flesh (perfect for mashing). This is our Potato of the Month (February 2022), see the variety page for more information.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
1kg Kerr’s Pink potatoes
100g salted butter
1 small savoy cabbage
1 bunch spring onions
200ml whole milk
- Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water before bringing to the boil and simmering for 8-10 minutes.
- Whilst the potatoes are cooking cut or shred the cabbage into small pieces and chop the spring onions into rounds (keeping one aside to use as a garnish). Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the cabbage and spring onions to the pan, turning to coat in the melted butter and season generously with salt. Leave over a medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the cabbage begins to soften (you still want a bit of bite to it).
- Once the cabbage has softened add the milk to the frying pan and allow to gently heat and infuse over a low heat – do not let it boil.
- Once the potatoes are soft drain them of their water and allow to steam dry for a few minutes before mashing. It’s down to personal preference how much you mash your potatoes – I like to roughly mash and leave some chunkier pieces in to add some texture. Kerr’s Pink will give a smooth, creamy mash if you ask it of them.
- Once mashed to your mashing preference gently stir in the cabbage and milk mixture until the potato has absorbed the milk and has become creamy in texture.
- Serve garnished with fresh spring onion alongside a hearty stew, sausages, or just in a bowl on its own. Delicious.