Thursday, October 05, 2006

Potato Fest 2006

Rebecca has named the month of October Potato Feast Fest and has invited us to blog about the twice baked and thrice worthy culinary wonder--Sam Gamgee's ol' Gaffer's delight: the humble potato.

"Po-ta-toes," said Sam. "The Gaffer's delight, and a rare good ballast for an empty belly.

The Two Towers, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbits by J.R.R. Tolkien

I love potatoes. They are my downfall. Well, potatoes and pasta are my downfall. Chocolate cake is not a temptation. Neither is ice cream or cookies. But potatoes--now that's another story.

Here is one of my favorite, fun potato recipes. I make this on Saint Patrick's Day. If you read all the way to the bottom, you'll also find two bonus recipes to make with the leftovers! Join in! I'm always up for a new potato recipe!


Colcannon

Traditional Irish potatoes, cabbage and bacon

Steam red potatoes (in skins) about 5 or 6.
Steam 45 minutes or until fork goes in easily.

Boil ½ head cabbage (rough chopped) until soft but not limp. Try to get it to come out about the same time as the potatoes. Drain well.

Fry ½ to ¾ lb. of bacon until crisp

Chopped scallions (fine) about 2 heaping T.

When potatoes are done, peel and mash with butter and milk until fluffy. (OK to have some skins)

Drain cabbage well and mix by hand into the potatoes along with bacon and scallions.

Serve immediately with a knob of butter in a well in the middle. (Take the spoon end of a wooden spoon and swirl it in the center of the potatoes to form a round well for the butter.)

Fried Colcannon Balls

Leftovers can be made into balls (about the size of a walnut or a little bigger), dredged in egg and then rolled in bread crumbs and fried until golden brown and crisp. Be sure your oil is hot enough before you try to fry or they will fall apart before they can crisp and you'll have to start all over. (The voice of experience speaking.)

These are fabulous. I like them better than the traditional way to serve colcannon.

Irish Potato, Cabbage and Bacon Soup

Fried food just isn't very good for you so you won't want too many fried colcannon balls. You'll probably still have leftover colcannon. If you do, you can make this delicious soup.

In a large soup pan, sautee about 1/3 cup onion in 2 tablespoons of bacon grease until translucent. Add diced potatoes (about 5, about a 1" dice.) Put into pan with onions and add chicken stock to pan, about an inch from the top of the potatoes. (Sorry, I didn't measure anything.) When the potatoes are fork tender, add heavy cream, about 1 cup or so. Then add about a cup and a half of the thawed, leftover colcannon to thicken and a pat of butter. Heat through on low.

Top with crumbled bacon, scallions, and shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with Irish Soda bread.

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