|Colcannon Soup with Irish Soda Bread|
We are so lucky to be able to savour a wonderful array of produce in our grocers all year long thanks to a growing world market. With Spring on the way (it may have even arrived) and local produce still only in my dreams I conjured up an "end of winter soup" with every day ingredients I usually have on hand. The next two recipes are simple as well as cost effective and a traditional way to celebrate with food.
The first recipe for Colcannon Soup comes from Fern Glen Inn, a four-season country bed and breakfast nestled on 120 forest acres in Ontario, Canada. They are located in my old stomping grounds in the stunningly beautiful cottage country of the Almaguin Highlands with its wide open spaces of mixed woodlands, rolling hills and rocky crags (part of the Canadian Shield), with hundreds of unspoiled lakes and rivers, the Almaguin Highlands is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my Shepherd's Pie with Ulster Champ Topping in celebration of St. Patricks Day, yesterday I indulged in this simple comforting soup that is reminiscent of the Irish classic Colcannon. If you follow More Than Burnt Toast you will know of my obsession with potatoes so what could be more perfect than a steaming bowl of potato, leek and cabbage soup with a loaf of brown soda bread fresh from the oven!!Like many soups, it's just as delicious reheated the next day. Add diced ham or leftover corned beef if you like and may the luck of the Irish remain with you for at least another week!
There isn’t anything luckier than finding a four-leaf clover, except of course finding this second delicious recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread in my in-box. The recipe came to me from the Culinary School of the Rockies blog Amuse-Bouche. I began St Paddy's Day by taking a bite out of this Soda Bread for breakfast with some fried tomatoes. This bread is healthy, has lots of whole grains, and was the perfect way to celebrate being Irish for a day. Of course I had plenty left over to enjoy with my Colcannon Soup for a whole day of celebration. Sláinte!
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced and washed
4 cups diced green cabbage
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup light cream or milk (more or less as desired)
6 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter or oil in a dutch oven. Add leeks. Cook gently until wilted. Add cabbage and cook a few minutes, stirring. Add potatoes, broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
With a potato masher, gently mash some of the potatoes so that the soup thickens. Fish out and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Stir in the cream or milk. Use more or less to achieve your desired consistency. Stir in the green onions and parsley and cook for one minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4-6 servings
**Irish Soda Bread**
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour, unbleached organic all purpose or bread flour
1/4 cup bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
2 cups fresh buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Stir in buttermilk to form a soft dough.
Spray a loaf pan with canola oil spray and roll mixture into pan. Smooth dough out to sides. Sprinkle the top liberally with sesame seeds.
Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour at 400; the top will rise in the center and it will pull away from the sides of the pan when done.
Makes 1 Loaf
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