Tag Archives: Colcannon

Irish Side Dishes, Not Just for St. Patrick’s Day

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.

Cabbage-for-Blog-2

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 …

Cabbage-for-Blog-4

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage from “Irish Pub Cooking”, Parragon Books

Modifications I made will be in italics.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Cabbage-for-Blog-1

Cabbage-for-Blog-3

Colcannon

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.

Colcannon-for-Blog

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.

Colcannon-for-Blog-2

Both of these dishes were delicious and added wonderful color to the plate.

SPD-10

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.

 

Advertisements

A St. Patrick’s Day Menu of Irish Pub Food

Top o’ the mornin’ to you!

I hope you had a fun, safe and festive St. Patrick’s Day filled with good times and great Irish food. I am always up for a little festive fun and of course a dinner guest or two, so for us St. Patrick’s Day is all about the food.

Normally, I make shepherd’s pie for dinner. Technically, an English dish, but my husband (who is of Irish descent) doesn’t like the traditional corned beef and cabbage. Weird, I know, but he doesn’t. He does like Guiness though, so he gets to keep his “Irish Card”.

SPD-7

My three “Irishmen”.

This year, however, I decided to put to use the “Irish Pub Cooking” cook book that I picked up a while back. The plan, every dish on the menu would come from this book. Appetizer, entrée, bread, sides and dessert. Fun!

SPD-1

So many of the recipes looked and sounded tasty but ultimately I decided on Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets for the appetizer, Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings for the entrée, Colcannon and Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage for the sides, a bread called Barm Brack and Apple Cake for dessert.

SPD-6

The pictures. Perfectly styled food pictures. They are why I have about a thousand cookbooks. They get me every time!

SPD-2

And inspire me to play with my food.

So, how did the Irish Pub Cooking project turn out?

Delicious. Mostly.

SPD-12

The Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets were incredible. My favorite recipe of the day.

SPD-10

The Beef in Stout and Colcannon were great but the star of the dinner plate for me was the Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage (my second favorite dish of the day). It was absolutely wonderful and will be a side dish I make again, and again and again.

Well, the kids didn’t like it.

But I’m still going to make it again, and again and again.

SPD-15

The apple cake was good. Not change your life epic but not disappointing. And it looks pretty.

The Barm Brack

SPD-16

This is different from Irish Soda Bread. It is a yeast bread. Yeast bread is my kryptonite. In fact, this bread was like trying to eat kryptonite. The flavor was good. The texture? Kryptonite.

Moving on. Did I mention we had company?

My Uncle George and Aunt Marilyn are “snow birds” and live only a few miles from us during the winter months when it is just too darn cold in the Pacific Northwest. It had been a long time since we’d seen them, too long – which is so silly since they are so close by. We were happy to welcome them to dinner. I am kicking myself now though for not taking their picture, I’ll have to get one next time.

Uncle George brough his specialty, “Pistachio Jello Salad“. It was a much bigger hit with the kids than the cabbage.

In fact, Nathan was only too happy to start his day with a little left over jello salad for breakfast (I promise, he had an egg and an apple too).

SPD-13

Yes, courtesy of daddy, my boy has a mohawk. A crazy, crooked mohawk. Mommy agreed for spring break only. But now, he loves it. He loves it so much that he didn’t want me to wash his hair because he thought the mohawk wouldn’t stick up anymore. I am actually not sure he is going to let me shave it off  before he has to go to school tomorrow. So, he maybe going to school with a crazy crooked – freshly washed – mohawk. I have learned to pick my battles.

I will share all of these Irish Pub recipes (even the Barm Brack) with you all week so be sure to come back tomorrow for the Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets recipe. For now, I’ll leave you with a big cheesy smile and an old Irish Blessing …

SPD-14

May the blessing of God’s soft rain be on you,
Falling gently on your head, refreshing your soul
With the sweetness of little flowers newly blooming.
May the strength of the winds of Heaven bless you,
Carrying the rain to wash your spirit clean
Sparkling after in the sunlight.
May the blessing of God’s earth be on you,
And as you walk the roads,
May you always have a kind word
for those you meet.