16 March 2008

Happy St. Paddy's Day..the Irish Canadian-ized Version.........

Colcannon Cakes with Pancetta and Stilton
I have followed Jerry's blog Cooking by the Seat of My Pants for some time now and am always impressed by the quality of writing and quantity of information available. He is offering up a great recipe for Colcannon in honour of St. Paddy's Day. Why not celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the traditional green and white? It seems that great minds think alike!! Anyone who is a reader of this blog knows of my obsession with the quintessential Irish food...the POTATO. In honour of St. Patrick's Day I also made Colcannon....but a slightly different version that I could prepare as a meal....no corned beef and cabbage here today...too time consuming. Jerry could take his leftovers, if there are any, and make these patties as well. He is also giving away an iPod Touch on his blog...just because we bloggers ROCK!!!!......so do check it out!!!!

Am I possibly 1/4 Irish with my obsessive compulsion towards the simple potato? Irish peasants subsisted on a diet consisting largely of potatoes. Farmers could grow triple the amount of potatoes as they could grain on the same plot of land. A single acre of potatoes could support a family for a year. About 1/2 of Irelands' population depended on potatoes for subsistence.

During the summer of 1845 (and no I wasn't born yet...wink...wink...), a "blight of unusual character" devastated Ireland's potato crop, the basic staple in the Irish diet. A few days after potatoes were dug from the ground, they began to turn into a slimy, decaying, blackish mass caused by a fungus. Over the next ten years, more than 750,000 Irish died and another 2 million left their homeland for Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. Within five years, the Irish population was reduced by a quarter.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe closely related to the British "Bubble and Squeak". There are probably almost as many recipes for traditional colcannon as there are cooks in Ireland.

This colcannon recipe is perfect as an everyday side-dish, lunch or breakfast with eggs or butter beans. It is perfect just the way it is before you make it into patties as well, slathered with a little butter. Since I live in Canada I made a Canadian-ized version of this recipe using Balderson's Extra-Aged Cheddar and bacon....threw in a few chives for an extra splash of green as well. Perfect with a pint of Guinness...but not for breakfast...unless of course you REALLY want to.

**Colcannon Cakes with Pancetta and Stilton**

1kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward (4 - 5 medium)
50g butter
1 small onion, very finely chopped
Few fresh thyme leaves, plus extra to garnish
225g savoy cabbage, leaves torn (or 2 cups shredded green cabbage)
Splash of double cream
150g thinly sliced pancetta (my veggie friends feel free to leave this behind)
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Plain flour, for dusting
125g Stilton, cut into 4 slices (in this case I used white Cheddar)

Cut the potatoes into even pieces and cook in a pan of boiling water for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain well, return to the pan and put back over the heat for 30 seconds, shaking occasionally, to drive off the excess moisture. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a pan and fry the onion and thyme gently for 6-8 minutes. Add the cabbage and saute for 2 minutes; and a good splash of water, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until wilted and softened. Drain and stir the cabbage into the potatoes, with the remaining butter and cream.
Mash well, divide into 4 and shape into large potato cakes. Put on a baking tray and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat a frying pan and fry the pancetta briefly on each side until crisp. Set aside.

Heat a little oil in the pan, dust the cakes with a little flour and fry for 4-5 minutes each side, until just turning golden and crisp. Top each cake with a slice of Stilton. Transfer to a plate and top with pancetta and a few extra sprigs of fresh thyme.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Potatoes, cheese and bacon, the three primary food groups. Looks good!

  2. Count on Val to keep up on all the spud dishes out there.

    Potato cakes are such a wonderful way to snaz up the spud.

  3. We made a Colcannon that we really enjoyed last year- I love the addition of stilton. That must give it such a bold flavor (which I adore!)

  4. What a great version of this Irish classic...well done Val.

  5. Mm looks delicious! Potatoes are definitely a glorious food.

  6. I agree with Kevin 1000%! Potatoes, cheese, bacon? Come on, that's all you need for an excellent dish isn't it?

  7. Ah the quintessential potato. Sounds like a great way to eat them and that picture is just great.

    Happy St Patrick's day!

  8. This looks like a great dish to serve any day! Potatoes and bacon make a very harmonious marriage!

  9. I'm a potato lover too but add cheese and bacon......It's all the better!!!

  10. Oh yes, potatoes, cheese and bacon. You just cannot go wrong.

  11. Kevin nailed it--this hits all the vital areas on the food pyramid. This looks awesome!

  12. Looks gorgeous!

    I'd definitely have it for breakfast :)

  13. That looks gorgeous Valli! What an awesome picture! I love colcannon! Such a great comforting dish!

  14. That looks really tasty!

  15. Lovely flavors going on there - yum!

  16. Val,
    Beautiful simplicity! Your photos are amazing! I love this recipe.

  17. I am a potato addict, so I'm sure I'd love this dish!!

  18. Colcannon cakes! Perfect!
    Of course, the bacon does pretty well, too. Another thing I miss about living in Ireland is having a proper Irish fry-up on the weekends: 2 kinds of bacon, sausage, eggs.....

  19. as though colcannon weren't comforting and yummy enough, you have to add pancetta and cheese and then fry it? i would eat this every single day for breakfast with a fried egg on top if i had my druthers.

  20. Thanks for telling me about the Taste & Create. I was waiting for an email. I'm leaving on Holiday for two weeks so will not be able to to anything this month. I'll try again next month. Have a good day.

  21. Val, This looks like a great upscale version of scallop potatoes! What a nice side dish for a special meal, thanks!

  22. What a winning combination, Val. I'd be really happy with this - and it looks so beautiful too. I want to dig right in now!

  23. Better late than never - Happy St. Patty's Day to you Vallie and I just knew you would be serving up some type of potato! That combination looks marvelous!

  24. I'm sorry you'll have to replace the Cheddar with the Stilton again. I used to live where Stilton cheese was made!!

  25. what a great combination - i'll be trying this one!

  26. Hip hip hurray for the potatoes!!! What would life be without them?
    Lovely dish Val :D

  27. mmmhhh i will definitely have to try these! i only made colcannon once, it should become a staple round here with your recipe!


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