Potatoes get a bad rap. I don't know about you but I've never met a potato I didn't like. Maybe it's the Irish in me or maybe it's that these little bundles of deliciousness are actually good for us. They're packed with essential nutrients that my body craves like potassium, magnesium, vitamins C and B6. So why does everyone keep cutting them out of their diet? I'm not going to debate that right now. But I'm here to tell you that St. Patty's Day is a good a time as any to let loose and eat a potato. Here are my favorite preparations sure to have you doing a jig with every bite.
When I was a kid I liked neither spinach nor cabbage. So I would always mix them into my mashed potatoes with a load of butter, salt and pepper to make them more palatable. I must have been channeling my Irish ancestors because little did I know this concoction was basically Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish combing mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
There are many regional variations and recipes for Colcannon and often times ham or bacon are added to make it a complete meal. But you don't really need a recipe. I simply prepare mashed potatoes then stir in both cooked shredded cabbage and spinach (in lieu of kale), go easy on the butter and toss in a bunch of fresh chopped scallions. Make it your own by modifying the ratio of ingredients to your personal tastes and preference. Enjoy it as a side dish or by itself. We serve it to our meal delivery clients as a bed for Guinness Stew.
Think bacon skins or loaded baked potatoes topped with chopped bacon, sour cream, shredded cheddar and scallions. For a lighter version use lite sour cream or Greek yogurt and reduced fat cheese. Or try these little bite-sized Irish Potatoes instead.
Smash roasted potatoes are all the rage. It's the modern day twice baked potato. They have the crispy texture of French fries without the fat and calories plus they're a whole lot easier make. Simply boil baby red potatoes until fork tender, like when you make potatoes salad. Drain the potatoes and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Then gently press down on each one with the base of a heavy measuring cup to "smash". Drizzle with olive oil and season as desired (e.g. Salt & pepper, dried herbs, Parmesan or crumbled blue cheese). Roast in preheated 425 degree oven 15-20 minutes or until skins begin to crisp and centers are soft.
O.K. So this one isn't actually a potato and it's not really Irish, it's a Philadelphia creation. But I slipped it in here anyway because it's been one of my favorite St. Patty's Day treats since I was a kid and because life just isn't fun without a little sweet once in a while. Here's my late Irish American grandmother's tried and true recipe:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened coconut
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp vanilla
Cinnamon for rolling
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Roll into balls then roll in cinnamon. Enjoy!