Monday, March 17, 2008

Beef Colcannon

For St Patrick's Day, or Irish Day at my house, we normally prepare a special meal that is from Irish decent. The Other Williams found this one and it was not disappointing. The Other Williams, of course, made it her own and we added beef chuck roast, leeks, and garlic to the traditional Colcannon for a complete meal. It was really yummy! We of course halved this recipe for us. It still gave us two lunch-leftovers.

2 pounds Beef Chuck Roast
4 lbs (1.8kg) potatoes, or about 7-8 large potatoes ('old' potatoes or russet potatoes are best, waxy potatoes won't do)
1 green cabbage or Kale

1/2 cup leeks, sliced thinly
6 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup ( 7 fl oz, 240 ml) milk (or cream)
1 stick (4oz, 120g) butter, divided into three parts
4-5 scallions (green onions), chopped
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Parsley or chives

Brown all sides of Roast in a dutch oven on the stove. Add two cups of water, garlic and leeks. Cover and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half on low-med heat. Shred meat and let sit in broth for a while to get moist. Remove beef with slotted spoon.

Add potatoes to dutch oven. Cover potatoes completely with added water and cook until tender.

Remove the core from the cabbage, slice it thinly, and put into a seperate pot. Cover with boiling water and keep at a slow rolling boil until the cabbage is just wilted and has turned a darker green. This can take anything from 3-5 minutes depending on the cabbage. Test it and don't let it overcook, if anything it should be slightly undercooked.

When the cabbage is cooked, drain it well, squeeze to get any excess moisture out, then return to the saucepan. Add one third of the butter and cover. Leave it covered and in a warm place, but not on a burner, with the butter melting gently into it while you continue.

When the potatoes are soft, drain and return the saucepan, with the drained potatoes in, to a low burner, leaving the lid off so that any excess moisture can evaporate. When they are perfectly dry, add the milk to the saucepan along with a third of the butter and the chopped scallions if you are using them. Allow the milk to warm but not boil - it is about right when the butter has fully melted into it and it starting to steam.

With a potato masher or a fork mash the potatoes thoroughly into the butter/milk mixture. Do NOT pass through a ricer or, worse, beat in a mixer as it will make the potatoes gluey and disgusting.

Mix the cabbage & beef thoroughly through the mashed potato.

Before serving season with a little salt and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives. Most importantly, make a well in the centre of the mound of potato and put the last third of the butter in there to melt.

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