I’ve never cared for St. Patrick’s Day, but the odd compulsion I have to be festive wouldn’t let me pass up an excuse to make a traditional Irish recipe today. But, of course, I’ve never been a very traditional human, nor do I care to be. This recipe makes use of things people generally discard, the root of a celery plant (often called Celeriac) and carrot tops.
Colcannon is an Irish dish that mainly consists of mashed potatoes with milk, butter and kale or cabbage. Mine’s made from yogurt, because I was out of milk, which helps make this otherwise pretty boring dish a little more interesting (and has 3x the amount of protein). Celery root is a pretty popular addition to mashed potatoes, one which I’m so fond of I can’t imagine making mashed potatoes without anymore. It doesn’t mash as well as potatoes, so it leaves little chunks but using a food processor would eradicate them. I happen to welcome the difference in texture. The carrot tops don’t lend as much flavor as kale would, so if you’re looking for a similar dish with lots of kale try my Cauliflower, Kale & Caraway Gratin with Smoked Tilapia
The chives are just barely hanging on, but they made us through winter. Right before the first snow, Burton dug up half the chive plant in the backyard and brought it inside.
Colcannon with Celery Root & Carrot Top Pesto
serves 4 as a large side
2 pounds yukon gold or russet potatoes (if you’re in the Milwaukee area, the indoor farmer’s market at The Domes has the most amazing potatoes from Butter Mountain Farm)
1/4 pound celery root, peeled and chopped into small chunks (about 1-2 cups)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 tbsp butter
1/4+ cup carrot top pesto (to make the pesto, combine 3 cups carrot tops with ~1/4 cup olive oil in a food processor. Blend until desired consistency, adding more oil if necessary)
Peel the potatoes and cut into small, even chunks. Add to a large pot of cold water, add the celery root and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook ~30-45 minutes or until very soft. Strain well and return to the pot, dry the potatoes out over low heat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat up the Greek yogurt and butter. Mash the potatoes thoroughly and slowly pour in the dairy. Spoon in the carrot top pesto and lightly fold to combine. Serve with chives and a pat of butter.
Harper will happily accept any extra carrot tops.