Ireland is totally on my bucket list. I will make it there one day before I die. I don’t care if I have to spend my children’s inheritance to get there, it will happen. Unfortunately, I’m not there yet. I’m not even close, but a girl can dream and she can cook for St. Patty’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and whether you will be bellied up at a bar somewhere enjoying a green beer, or cutting out shamrocks and decorating them with glitter with your kids, or even find yourself completely baffled why somebody just screamed at you “NO GREEN!” and then pinched the snot out of your ribcage, you should celebrate being Irish…even if you aren’t Irish.
I imagine that Ireland can be cold and damp, much like the winter that is hanging on here in the South. And weather like that requires a more hearty and soul-warming fare. Potatoes and cabbage are big in the Irish diet as well as cured meat and butter. The Irish cuisine is full of stick-to-you-bones kinds of meals that will keep you warm on cold winter nights.
This recipe is a take on Colcannon, which is a traditional Irish recipe that is basically mashed potatoes with cabbage and onions thrown in with lots of butter. It’s simple and effective. I’ve changed it up a little bit and made a twice baked potato out of it so that it can be made ahead.
Speaking of “make ahead”, there is a second recipe hidden here. Keep your eyes peeled for it.
- 8 medium baking potatoes
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 leek white part only, chopped
- 1 meaty hambone
- 1 small head of cabbage cored and shredded
- 6 T butter
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 green onions sliced
- 2 T chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrub potatoes and pierce with a fork several times. Place the potatoes directly on the baking rack and bake for about an hour or until potatoes are tender when squeezed.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium high heat in a large heavy pot. Sauté the onion and leek together until just starting to tenderize, about 5 minutes. Add in the cabbage and hambone and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about an hour. Remove the hambone from the pot and shred the meat and set aside (give your dog a really nice treat and give them the hambone).
- I would like to take this moment to suggest that you actually make two dishes with this meal. You really only need about half of the cabbage and ham for the potatoes. Remove half of the ham and cabbage(no liquid) to a large bowl, then add about 1 teaspoon of chili powder to the remaining ham and cabbage in the pot and stir in. Reheat. You now have my hubby’s favorite – Ham and Cabbage Soup.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Place the potato shells on a baking sheet. Mash in the butter and milk and season with salt and pepper, Stir in half of the cooked ham and drained cabbage (the half that you pulled out before you made the soup) and the green onions and parsley. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot all the way through. Serve and enjoy!
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