Cooking Up Colcannon

An Irish Recipe for Saint Patrick’s Day

Serves 2

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With just a week to go until Saint Patrick’s Day, we’ve been experimenting with two separate recipes for the traditional Irish dish, Colcannon…using red potatoes, Savoy cabbage and lots of creamy Irish butter! Serve this hearty classic alongside steamed carrots and homemade Irish soda bread to make for an authentically delicious and simply satisfying taste of Irish cuisine.


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INGREDIENTS

1/2 head of Savoy cabbage

3 large red potatoes

1 1/2 cup chopped leek 

1/2 large sweet onion 

1 clove garlic 

1 tbsp olive oil

4 ounces butter (preferably salted Kerrygold)

salt and pepper to taste

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Classic Colcannon is made with white-headed cannonball cabbage, which is quite popular in the United States. For this recipe we opted for the more aesthetic and lacy textured Savoy cabbage which is named after the Savoy Region in France. Another preference is that Savoy cabbage does not turn into mush when cooked. This varietal has the same flavor and appearance as regular cabbage when cooked, but retains a firm texture and crunchiness, which is desired for this recipe. 


PREPARATION

•• Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks of 2-1/2 inches. •• Place the potatoes into a bowl of cold water and rinse until the water runs clear, eliminating the starch. •• Strain and place the potatoes in a large pan with cold water and salt to taste. •• Over a medium heat bring the potatoes to a full boil for approximately 15-20 minutes. •• To test the readiness of the potatoes, take a small cutting knife and pierce random pieces then hold the knife upwards. •• When the potato falls from the knife back into the water, the potato is ready. •• Note that the potatoes should be cooked to softness and not mush, in preparation for a purée. •• To prepare the cabbage, cut in one half and reserve the other half for future use. •• Cut the cabbage into portions of approximately 1 inch thickness and then into smaller bite size portions. •• Place in a colander and rinse throughly, taking care to remove any excess sand. •• Prepare the leeks by removing the dark green leafy ends. •• Cut the leek vertically in half and then slice into ringlets. •• Peel half of the sweet onion and a garlic clove. •• Slice and dice into small pieces. •• Using the flat of your knife, crunch the garlic with a pinch of salt. •• In a pre-warmed sauté pan over a medium heat, combine 1 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tsp of butter. •• Once you have observed slight bubbling, add the onion, crunched garlic and leeks. •• Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to sweat, bringing forth the sweetness of the onions and the leeks. •• Cook the mixture slowly to avoid burning, stirring occasionally until you observe a golden hue. •• When the onion and leek mixture is ready, add the cabbage into the sauté pan along with 2 tbsps of butter and 3 tbsps of water. •• Let the mixture cook down slowly over a low heat for approximately 20 minutes to softness. •• Purée the potatoes, using a hand-held masher. •• Combine 5 tbsps of butter with the potatoes along with 3 tbsps of half and half. •• Salt and pepper to taste. •• Purée the potatoes to a chunky consistency, avoiding smoothness. •• Mix the potato purée into the sauté pan of cabbage and leeks, gently folding the potato purée into the mixture. •• Top with butter and serve piping hot.••

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••  très bon •• 


 

Save the Scraps for Vegetable Stock

alt=“Recipe for vegetable stock with leftover vegetable scraps by cook and shooter Bruno Gager"


 

Whether you’re whipping up a soup, stew, sauce or risotto, there is nothing that beats having your own homemade vegetable stock on hand. With a little advance planning and some up-cycling of unused portions of vegetables, you can create a nutrient-rich base for use in any stock. So instead of tossing away those carrot root ends or left over Brussels sprouts, save these veggie bits and pieces in a container or bag and store for future use in the freezer. This no-nonsense recipe is perfect for getting a jump on your upcoming entertaining and holiday gatherings!


INGREDIENTS

1 onion

3 carrots

4 celery stalks

1/2 fennel bulb

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 bouquet fresh parsley

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

2 tablespoons of olive oil

alt=“Fennel and zucchini in a dish at home ingredients for vegetable stock recipe and food photography by Bruno Gaget Le Menu Maison"

SUGGESTIONS FOR UP-CYCLED INGREDIENTS

leeks – particularly the green portions

Brussels sprouts – leaves and bulbs

fennel – including the feathery leaves

carrots – root ends and tips

yellow squash

zucchini

alt=“Fresh parsley at the French farmers market in Fontainebleau France food photography by Bruno Gaget"

PREPARATION

Thoroughly wash all of the fresh and up-cycled vegetables. Rough chop, as necessary.

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Using a large enameled stockpot, mix the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Over a low heat, allow the vegetables to sweat (reduce) for approximately 10-15 minutes. This process softens the vegetables and also brings forth the flavors.

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Add enough water to entirely cover the vegetables, noting that additional water levels will dilute the flavors. Lay the herbs on top of the water and cover with a lid. Bring the mixture up to a slow boil then reduce your heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Taste test for readiness.

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Place the stockpot on a stable and heat resistant surface and remove all of the vegetables and herbs with a slotted spoon. Set your strainer (preferably a chinois strainer) over a large bowl and pour the liquid through.  For a clearer consistency, place a sheet of cheesecloth over the strainer and then pour the stock through.

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Divide the stock into airtight storage containers and allow to completely cool before refrigerating or freezing. Store the stock in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Lastly, leaving nothing to waste, the cooked vegetable mixture makes for a healthy and tasty treat for your canine companion!