So sorry I didn’t get this published yesterday but the masses of weeds in my front yard, nurtured by the spring rains and then gorgeous sunshine we’ve had, were demanding my attention and the day just got away from me.
So, continuing on with the results of my culinary “St. Patrick’s Day Project”, today I am sharing with you the side dishes. Sides don’t often get the attention they deserve. They are the back-up singers. The best supporting actor and actress. Humbly taking a back-seat to the entrée. Both of these sides, however, deserve their moment in the spotlight.
Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage and Colcannon.
Both are traditional Irish dishes, which many of us seek out only when preparing a St. Patrick’s Day feast. After selecting these dishes from the Irish Pub Cooking cookbook that inspired me and preparing them on St. Patty’s Day, I am here to tell you I will be making them again soon. These are not just for St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, I will be making the cabbage for Easter dinner and can hardly wait to share it with the friends and family who will join us. It is fresh and bright and the color is beautiful. This cabbage was one of my absolute favorite dishes of the St. Patrick’s Day meal. Sweet with apples, brown sugar and spices and just a little bit tart and tangy with a touch of vinegar, it will be a most welcome addition to Easter dinner.
Here’s how you make it …
Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage from “Irish Pub Cooking”, Parragon Books
Modifications I made will be in italics.
- 1 medium head of red cabbage
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 small baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp crushed juniper berries – I left these out
- whole nutmeg, for grating
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- grated rind and juice of 1 orange
- 2 Tbsp cranberry jelly – I used jellied cranberry sauce
- Kosher salt and pepper
Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove and discard the central stalk, and shred finely. I just thinly sliced it.
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cabbage, onions, garlic, and apples (I used Granny Smith). Sprinkle over the sugar, cinnamon, and juniper berries and grate a quarter of the nutmeg into the pan.
Pour over the vinegar (I was out of red wine vinegar and used apple cider vinegar) and orange juice and add the orange rind (zest). Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is just tender but still has “bite”. This will take 10-15 minutes, depending on how finely the cabbage is sliced.
Stir in the cranberry jelly and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot.
What in the world is colcannon? It is simply mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale and leeks or scallions mixed in. I did mine with kale and scallions and it was delicious.
You may have noticed that I served the colcannon with a plain mashed potatoes option. My husband may be of Irish descent but he is a mid-western American boy who doesn’t want anything green in his mashed potatoes.
Colcannon is simple and a nice twist on plain old (albeit much-loved) mashed potatoes. First, make a standard batch of mashed potatoes, the amount depending on the number of people you will be feeding. This particular recipe recommends the following for 1 pound of potatoes, which will serve 4, …
- 1/2 small head of cabbage (about 2 cups of chopped kale)
- 6 scallions, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Remove and discard the central stalk from the cabbage or kale and shred finely. Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes (blanching) until it is soft. Drain thoroughly.
Mix the cabbage or kale and mashed potatoes together, then stir in the scallions. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. I recommend eyeballing it and adding in as much or as little kale and onions as you like. You really can’t go wrong.
Both of these dishes were delicious and added wonderful color to the plate.
I hope you’ll try them and as always, I’d love to know what you think. Enjoy!
Tomorrow, the main dish – Beef in Stout. Heavenly.