Emerald Style Champ

In Cooking, Uncategorized on March 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm

My inbox has been a flood with recipes for Irish Soda Bread , Irish Coffee, Colcannon and Corn Beef.  While they all make me hungry… this is my favorite Irish side dish – Champ.  Sure it looks like colcannon, but champ is native to the Northern Ireland. Champ is traditionally made with spring onions and no bacon, but I prefer it with leeks and to cook my leeks in bacon fat.  Actually leeks are one of my favorite vegetables and highly underused if you ask me.  No one asked… but there it is.

Emerald Style Champ:

1-2 large leeks, sliced and washed
4-6 pieces of bacon
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and halved
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
1-2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/3 cup butter, plus additional for serving
1 fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions: Peel and dice potatoes; place into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet (rendering fat) and place cooked bacon aside.  Add prepared leeks to the grease and lightly season with salt and pepper; cook leeks until tender and liquids have been absorbed; leeks will begin to brown and char – best part!!.  (Note: if this is not enough fat to cook the leeks down (until tender), add a small amount of white wine or water). Remove from heat and allow pan to begin cooling; add milk and cream to pan and stir.  This will warm the cream and milk while infusing with the flavor of the leeks.

Drain cooked potatoes; roughly mash with salt and butter.  Stir in milk and leek mixture until evenly mixed.  Season with fresh cracked pepper and garnish with additional butter and cooked bacon pieces if desired.

These are amazing.  They are more than just potatoes I promise.  Something about all the butter, the leeks, and the butter that makes this amazing by itself or as a side dish.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy cooking!!


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