A Nod to the Irish

Being married to a red-headed Irishman, I am compelled to dedicate this post to all of you who trace your heritage to the Emerald Isle and wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland has a colorful, and I think underappreciated, history. They’re the source of a wealth of folktales about leprechauns, fairies, and (my favorite) the Blarney Stone. If you’re curious about those tales, click here for a good stating point.

The Irish are also the source of some mighty tasty foods. So in honor of this day dedicated to their patron saint I am posting a couple of Irish recipes. The first one is a traditional Irish stew with lamb and dumplings. The second one is Colcannon potatoes, a dish made from potatoes and cabbage or kale, that trendy wonder-food you’ve seen touted in upscale groceries. Be sure and read the note at the end of this recipe.

And now, in good Irish tradition, I pass on this blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.




Colcannon Potatoes
  • 1½ pounds of potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 6 green onions
  • 1½ cups shredded cabbage or kale
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (1½ teaspoon dried)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Peel and halve the potatoes. Place a pot of water on the stove to boil. While it is coming up to temperature, shred the cabbage or kale and dice the green onions. Place them in a microwave safe dish along with the tablespoon of butter and set aside.
  2. Boil the potatoes until a knife can be easily inserted in them. Remove from heat, drain, and return boiled potatoes to the pot. Micro-cook the cabbage or kale 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is thoroughly heated.
  3. Mash the potatoes to desired consistency and combine with milk and the hot vegetables. Stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Traditionally, this dish is served at Halloween. A miniature thimble, horseshoe, button, silver coin and wedding ring are wrapped in parchment and hidden in the potatoes. These forecast the coming year for whoever finds these tokens in their serving of Colcannon potatoes - the thimble for a spinster, the horseshoe for a long journey, the button for a bachelor, the silver coin for unexpected wealth, and the wedding ring for marriage.

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