Spice up St. Paddy’s Day

Toss aside the shamrock shakes, green dyed cookies and baked potatoes. It’s time to do some serious Irish cooking for St. Patrick’s Day. Here are a few traditional Isle of Green recipes that have survived through the centuries.

Colcannon: A mashed potato and kale dish that literally means “white-headed cabbage.”

1 1/4 pounds (about 2 large) russet (baking) potatoes
3 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. In a saucepan cover the potatoes with salted water and simmer them, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until they are tender. While the potatoes are simmering, in a steamer set over boiling water, steam the cabbage for 5 minutes, or until it is tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander, force them through a ricer or the medium disk of a food mill into a bowl, and stir in the milk, the butter, the cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste.Irish stew: A lamb-based stew usually served with potatoes, carrots, onions and whatever else the chef had lying about.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks (optional)
4 cups water, or as needed
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add lamb pieces and cook,stirring gently, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion, carrots and parsnips and cook gently alongside the meat for a few minutes. Stir in the water. Cover and bring to a boil before turning the heat down to low. Simmer for one hour or longer, depending on the cut of meat you used and if it is tender yet. Stir in potatoes, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, before adding leeks and rosemary. Continue to simmer uncovered, until potatoes are tender but still whole. Serve piping hot in bowls garnished with fresh parsley.

Boxty: An Irish pancake that literally means “poor house bread.”

1 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1 tablespoon skim milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a large bowl. Stir in mashed potatoes until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and skim milk; mix into the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop in the potato mixture, forming patties about 2 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm.