Monday, March 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Going Irish without Corned Beef

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Sunday, produce bins are overflowing with potatoes, leeks, and cabbages, all on sale for the best price of the season. Staples of Irish cuisine, many will find their way into steaming pots of Corned Beef and Cabbage.

There are however, plenty of other options for celebrating this most Irish of holidays, even if you wish to forgo the meat.

Colcannon, for instance. A lesser known mainstay of Irish cooking, Colcannon is a hearty dish, in which boiled potatoes are mashed with cabbage or kale along with milk and copious amounts of butter. There are several variations, some of which include Irish bacon. 

I chose to try a Colcannon recipe posted in this week’s Elm City Market flyer. As suggested, I substituted 2 large parsnips (also on sale and grown in Massachusetts) for 2 of the potatoes. The cabbages were nice and firm this week (and on sale) so they won out over kale. 

The Elm City recipe would seem to be inspired by this one I found online at Simply Recipes.

  • Elm City substituted 2 leeks for the green onions.
  • 3 cups of chopped cabbage is the yield from 1/2 of a medium cabbage after the outer leaves are removed.
  • I chopped both the cabbage and the leeks in the food processor, and added the leeks after the cabbage had cooked for just 2 minutes; I cooked the vegetables in butter for a total of 5 minutes. 

The result? A festively light green dish with an absolutely delicious taste. IMHO, the parsnips imparted the perfect little kick. 

I opted not to add any additional butter to the mounds of Colcannon we ate last night. But the more I read about this dish, the more a lake of butter seems to be the authentically Irish way. When I heat up the leftovers, I do believe we will indulge.

Have a great week. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!         

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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