Posted because I love how this picture turned out.
Posted because I love how this picture turned out.
Champ is an Irish recipe that, once you hear the ingredients, makes you think “I didn’t know there was an “official” recipe for this. I mean, c’mon…it’s essentially green onions mixed into mashed potatoes, something that a great majority of mashed potato fans have been doing for years, never knowing that their recipe had Irish roots…so to speak.
Oh, and while I’m raining on the parades of various mashed potato aficionados, adding grated cheddar cheese isn’t a new thing either. Sorry.
Champ is traditionally served with a well in the middle that has a dab of butter melting in it. The potatoes are then eaten from outside in, with each forkful of potatoes getting dipped into the melting butter.
In a small bowl, combine the onions and the cream. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place in potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, allowing the potatoes to become soft. Drain and place in a bowl. Add the butter, and pour in the cream and onions. Mash together well. Salt and pepper to taste.
When serving, spoon onto a plate and create a small well in the center of the potatoes. Place a pat of butter into the well.
And now, some bits about Potatoes…
As I am in the midst of doing several posts on Potatoes, I figured now was as good as time as any to discuss vodka. Of course, I was working under the assumption that potatoes made great vodka. Of course, I was working under what is known as a misapprehension.
It seems that vodka cab not only be made with potatoes, but also with rye, wheat, barley, corn, molasses, even onions or beets. In fact, as long as you have water, yeast, and some sort of carbon based product that ferments in water and yeast, you can pretty much make vodka from anything.
When the Russians called Vodka “little water”, they really weren’t far off the mark. Although there is a contigency of vodka fanatics who claim that the purer the vodka the better, as with water it’s the impurities of the liquid that gives each variety its unique character. The real question surrounding vodka is which characteristics are worth keeping and which are worth filtering out.
At its core, and at it’s perfect best, vodka is simply 40% ethanol and 60% water. The quality is then determined on how pure the ethanol and how pure the water. The lesser quality of water, the lesser quality is the vodka as a whole. However, if you have a Brita filter, it is said that you can remove the impurities and improve the quality of the vodka by running it through a filter a few times.
There are people who can tell the difference between a Skyy Vodka and a Ketel One vodka. The difference in taste is so subtle, that few people can do this and do this well, especially when they compare the purer vodkas against one another. Tasting brand differences is made more difficult when you mix the vodka with any number of mixers. My guess is that very few people can tell the difference between a screwdriver made with Grey Goose and one made with Absolut. If you are one of these people, I would like to see it first hand.
I like vodka, for a variety of reasons. But I know that I’m not one of those people who can discern the subtle variations between brands. I can tell good vokda from bad, but that’s about as far as it goes.
When I think of brunches, I think of Potatoes Lyonnaise. The egg/meat combination may change, but Potatoes Lyonnaise will always be my strach of choice for brunch. For one, they are fairly simple to make. For two, they are versatile. These potatoes can easily be made with any variety of green peppers, bacon bits, or even different herbs, if your heart so desires.
The basis of Potatoes Lyonnaise comes down to four ingredients: Butter, onions, potatoes, parsley. I’ve found that the ratio of ingredients is fairly easy to remember: one serving equates to 1/2 lb potatoes, 1/4 onion and one tablespoon butter – parsley to taste. Master this ratio, and you’re well on your way to elevating your Potatoes Lyonnaise game.
Here is what I used for my own version of this dish:
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Place in 3 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Once melted, add your onions and garlic.
While the onions and garlic are cooking, pierce your potatoes. Place them in the microwave and cook for 8 minutes on high. When done, remove from microwave and cut the potatoes into slices. Place in the skillet when the onions are translucent. Add final tablespoon of butter.
Fry in the skillet until the potatoes just start to brown around the skins (7-12 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste, and then plate.
Sprinkle parsley and basil over potatoes and serve.
There are hundreds of varieties of potatoes worldwide. Luckily for us, the majority of US supermarkets have seen fit to lower our options to three, generally a baking potato, a boiling potato and one that works in both arenas fairly well.
But, as we are humans, and humans are a visual creature, we tend to categorize potatoes by the color of their skin. There are Russet-skinned varieties, red-skinned varieties, yellow-skinned varieties, white-skinned varieties and blue-skinned varieties. But really, a potato should not be judged by what’s on the outside. Rather they should be judged by what is on the inside.
What is on the inside that’s so important anyways? Two things really -
These two polymers are the basis of starch, and help determine how starchy or waxy a potato will be. If you have a potato that has more amylose, than amylopectin, you’ve got a great baking potato. They make also great creamy mashed potatoes and they’re also the best potatoes to use in french fries.
If you’ve got a potato that has less amylose than amylopectin, then you have a waxy potato. These potatoes are good for roasting, or in use for soups, casseroles, and potato salads.
Then there are the oddball potatoes, those with relatively equal amounts of amylose and amylopectin. They are particularly well-suited to roasting, soups, stews, and gratins. I find them particularly good in making breakfast potatoes, fried in a cast iron skillet.
Once you decide on how you’re going to use a potato, then and only then should you decide which kind of potato to purchase.
Baking Potatoes:Russet Burbank (this is the most popular variety in the United States), Russet Arcadia, Norgold Russet, Goldrush, Norkotah, and the Long White.
Waxy Potatoes: Carlingford, Nadine, Round White, Round Red, Yellow Potato, Red Potato, Salad Potato, La Soda, Red La Rouge, Red Pontiac, Red Nordland, Red Bliss, Yellow Finnish, Ruby Crescent, and Australian Crescent.
All-Purpose Potatoes: Charlotte, Nicola, Maris Peer, Yukon Gold, Peruvian Blue, Superior, Kennebec, and Katahdin.
Potatoes can be used either for flavoring or as a thickening agent. This soup uses potatoes as a thickening agent, as the peppers, kale and chorizo easily dominate. In my opinion, it’s easily a winter soup yet uses no cream.
We won’t hold the lack of cream against this recipe.
I liked this dish, but Tara came out against it. The lack of potato taste was mentioned as one of the reasons for the negative reaction. However, if you like spicy, this dish is one that should be tried.
Pierce the sausages and place them in a skillet. Add just enough water to the skillet that the chorizo is barely covered. Bring the water to a simmer (185 degrees F). Cover the skillet with a well fitting lid, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the skillet, and slice into 1/2″ pieces. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook those for 15-17 minutes. Drain, saving about a ladle-ful of the water. Mash the potatoes well, and add a little of the saved water and stir into a paste. Add more water if needed. Set aside.
In a large stock pot, bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil. Add the chopped kale and slices of sausages and lower the heat, bringing the water to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in potato paste slowly, until all has been used. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Add the ground pepper and cayenne and stir in well.
Place a slice or two of the toasted bread into the soup dish. Ladle soup over top. Serve.