a lighter take on champ for St Patrick’s day – or any day really

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Even though I have Irish grandparents and friends I’d never celebrated St Patrick’s day until I moved to California. This is the land of continuous celebration so being Irish doesn’t get in the way of the excuse to party!

The shops here are filled with corned beef and Guinness. Neither of which really float my boat. So tomorrow night we’ll be having salmon and my version of Champ.

I lightened up the traditional Champ recipe and added a ton more flavour by replacing half of the potato with celariac [celery root]. This is a great way to reduce the carbs if you are that way inclined. I really just do it because I like the flavour. I also replaced the traditional cabbage with kale because, well this is California.

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We also love this champ with sausages, Whole Foods British Bangers are my fav (although not at all Irish). In England I’d splash out on some from the butcher. Because with sausages you really do get what you pay for.

I’d be a liar if I said I’d never eaten this on its own, it doesn’t get much more comforting than eating a bowl of this with a spoon while horizontal on the sofa.

Ingredients (enough for 4 as a side dish)

4 fist sized russet potatoes (floury potatoes in England)

1 bulb of celariac [celery root] I buy mine at Whole Foods here in California

1 tablespoon of butter, ideally grass-fed such as Irish Kerrygold – for the health benefits of grass-fed rather than the country of origin

5 spring onions [scallions or green onions]

about 6 tablespoons of milk – any % fat is fine

1 bundle or bag of kale

Kit list:

2x large saucepans with lids

slotted spoon

knife and board

small pan

potato masher

spatula

To make:

1. Peel and chop your potatoes and celariac into roughly 2 inch cubes (see photos below) then place them in a pan of boiling water with about a quarter teaspoon of fine grain sea salt. Bring to the boil with a lid on and then simmer for about 15-20 minutes until you can easily slice through one of the pieces with a knife

chopped potatoes

chopped potatoes

peel the celariac with a knife

peel the celariac with a knife

slicing the celariac before slicing again into cubes

slicing the celariac before slicing again into cubes

chopped celariac

chopped celariac

2. While the potatoes and celariac boil, slice your spring onions into 1 inch pieces and put them in a small pan with the milk. Bring to a simmer and then simmer for a minute before turning off to let the flavours infuse.

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3. Finally, shred your kale as fine as you can and put it into a second saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Put the lid on the pan and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes, shake the pan without moving the lid every minute to stop the bottom sticking.

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4. Drain your potatoes and celariac then mash until smooth. Add the butter and mix well. Then use a slotted spoon to scoop the cooked onion out of the milk. Add that to the potatoes and stir well. Taste it and add freshly ground black pepper and sea salt if it needs it. Then pour in the milk, half at first, and stir and add more milk until you get the consistency you’re after. I like mine pretty sloppy but not soupy. Finally stir through the kale. I tend to stir half of the kale into the mash and the have the rest on the side, but that may just be me. Remember to share this on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest when you make it. Tag it #ystcook so I can see!

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