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It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy corned beef and cabbage

Colcannon is a lovely combination of creamy mashed potatoes, kale and butter.
Colcannon is a lovely combination of creamy mashed potatoes, kale and butter. Special to the Sun Herald

America is a land of many immigrants, and each ethnic group that comes to America brings with it bits and pieces of culture that add to the great melting pot of the country.

Perhaps the most beloved and adapted elements of those cultures are the cuisines, which over time blend into new traditions, hybrids of the original cuisines — Italian-American, Mexican-American and Asian-American come to mind.

A few weeks back, as Americans celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, many people ate corned beef and cabbage.

What many of those people didn’t know is corned beef and cabbage is not necessarily an authentic Irish dish, but like many ethinic foods, is a derivation of an Irish dish, bacon and cabbage, that was Americanized either by immigrants or Americans, using bits and pieces of other foods and readily available ingredients.

Colcannon is a dish you can prepare with some assurance that your Irish friends would approve. It is so good, there is even a song written about it, including the following lyrics:

“Did you ever eat colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream? With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.” We’ll also include Irish or Mulligan stew.

Go ahead and make up some of these dishes. You don’t have to wait for St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy some Irish-American cuisine.

Colcannon

3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed

2 sticks butter

1 1/4 cups hot milk

Freshly ground black pepper

4-5 cups fresh kale

4 scallions, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Peel if you like, then mash, add the butter and milk and season with salt and pepper. Steam the kale in a scant cup of water, add more butter if you like. When tender, drain. Mix the kale and potatoes, garnish with the scallions, and, of course, add more butter if you like. Taste and re-season as needed.

Irish Stew

1-2 pounds cubed lamb

2 chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

3-4 rough chopped carrots

4-5 cups beef stock

4-5 quartered potatoes

Butter

Salt and pepper

Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then sear in a hot, well-oiled pan. When browned, remove and set aside. Add the vegetables and cook over medium-low heat, remembering to season as you go, for 10 minutes. Add the meat, potatoes and stock, bring to a simmer, place the lid on, and over low heat cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the meat is tender and the sauce is as thick as you like it.

Simple Corned Beef Hash

2-3 cups chopped, cooked corned beef

1-2 onions thinly sliced

2-3 russet potatoes thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

Butter

Oil as needed

Fresh chopped parsley

Poached egg for garnish if you like

Oil a heavy-bottom pan, add the potatoes and onion, season aggressively, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender and the onion is caramelized. Plate the potatoes, top with the warm corned beef, and garnish each plate with a poached egg.

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