St.Patrick’s Day is creeping up fast (March 17th), and if you’re even a little Irish you’re likely beginning to hatch plans to make homemade corned beef and cabbage, or Irish stew for the big day. But what on earth are you going to serve your vegetarian and vegan friends? You can give them a slab of soda bread and an extra pint’o’stout, but that’s not really fair, now is it?
May I suggest twice baked potatoes? It doesn’t sound terribly Irish (well, except for the potatoes part), but add sauteed kale to the potatoes, mash them, and you’ve got colcannon, a rustic Irish dish that’s been served for as long as any Irishwoman can remember. Add some caramelized onions deglazed with Murhpy’s Irish Stout to the colcannon mixture, stuff it back into the potato jackets, cover it with Irish cheddar, bake it again, and you’ve got a very Irish vegetarian main course that will likely capture the interest of the stew and beef eaters, too.
Thanks to a collaboration with the folks at Cooking Up A Story, I am presenting my recipe for this dish in VIDEO FORM! I’m still finding my feet on camera, so be kind. Stay tuned, there will be more cooking videos with seasonal vegetables to come, thanks to Rebecca and the talented team at Cooking Up A Story!
Happy St. Pat’s (early)!
Twice-Baked Irish Potatoes with Stout Onions and Kale
(from The Farm to Table Cookbook, by Ivy Manning)
“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story.
My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.
4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed (8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions (about 1 large)
1 cup Irish-style stout
1 bunch lacinato kale or Russian kale(about 3 ounces)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Rub the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of the oil and place directly on the oven rack. Bake until they squish easily when gently squeezed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add a splash of the stout and scrape up any browned bits. Continue to cook, occasionally deglazing the pan with the stout until the onions are deep brown and nearly all of the stout is used, about 30 minutes total.
3. Tear the tough ribs and stems away from the kale and discard or use for stock. Roughly chop the leaves and add half the kale to the onions, tossing with tongs to wilt the leaves. Add the remaining kale, toss, cover, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. With a serrated knife slice off the top quarter of each potato. Use a soup spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell on the bottom and sides. Mash the flesh with the buttermilk, butter, and mustard powder. Gently fold in the onion-kale mixture and season with the salt and pepper. Mound the mixture into the potato shells, sprinkle the tops with the cheese, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes, and serve warm as a side dish or a vegetarian main course.