October 23, 2014

Luck of the Irish

Obviously writing about potatoes and cabbage is apropos considering St Patty’s Day is the 17th, and most of us celebrate this Irish holiday all week and weekend long, even if we’re not of Irish decent. My grandmother on my mother’s side was a Sweeney, my grandmother on my father’s side a Hughes, so I’ve got more than a bit of Mick in me. Every St. Patty’s Day (and sometimes Halloween and New Year’s Day) my grandmothers would make Colcannon, a delicious supper of white potatoes and green cabbage, as well as Irish Potatoes for dessert. Since the former can be made deliciously healthfully, enjoy the latter in its pure (read: sweet and fattening!) form.

Colcannon as stated above is made up primarily of potatoes and cabbage, two veggies quite often ignored due to many believing they lack significant nutrient value. Nothing could be further from the truth. White potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, fiber, protein, and potassium, and a medium-sized spud contains less than 200 calories. Cabbage packs an amazing antioxidant punch from Vitamins A and C, as well is a good source of fiber, Vitamin K, and folate. And cabbage is super figure-friendly – one cup (raw) contains just 22 calories! Both veggies are extremely low in sodium, and contain no fat or cholesterol.  So it important to not nix the nutritious-ness of this nosh with heavy cream and butter. Here’s the my version of my Nans’ Colcannon:

Ingredients:

  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 scallions (or 1 small onion), sliced
  • 5 cups finely shredded Savoy cabbage, (about 1 pound)
  • 4 medium white potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ½  tsp of sea salt and ½ tsp of pepper
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Combine skim milk, garlic and thyme in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until garlic is soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the thyme.
  2. Transfer the milk mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the saucepan and stir in scallions (or onions). Cover and set aside.
  3. Bring one inch lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add cabbage, cover and cook until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well.
  4. In the meantime, place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Mash with a potato masher or hand-held electric mixer. Gradually add the milk mixture to the potatoes, stirring until smooth. Stir in cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with parsley.