By Vida Gustafson
Champ is a lesser known brother to colcannon. Whereas colcannon is a mashed potato dish featuring kale or cabbage, champ is traditionally made with green (aka “spring”) onions and served with a well of Irish butter in the center for dipping each forkful of mash into, and is more common in the northern counties.
Variations of champ use leeks, wild garlic, ramps or nettles. While you might serve this as a comforting side dish, many view champ as a meal in itself. Potatoes sometime get a bad rap, but they are in fact high in nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, folate and magnesium and contain at least three antioxidant compounds. The benefits of real butter are numerous, such as being rich in calcium and vitamin D. Add in the scallions with their vitamin K and A, just to name a few, and you have a well-rounded filling meal on a cold day.
- 2 lbs potatoes
- 2 C green onion (chopped)
- 1 C whole milk (or half & half)
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz butter (approximately 1 oz per serving)
Scrub the potatoes and place in a large pot, cover with water by at least one inch. Add 1 tbsp salt and bring to gentle boil. Cook for 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. While they are boiling away, finely slice your green onions and combine them in a small saucepan with the milk, bring to a simmer and gently cook for 4 minutes, then turn the heat off, cover and set aside to use later. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water off and let the potatoes cool slightly, then, using a dishtowel so as not to burn your hand, peel the skin off the potatoes.
Return the potatoes to the pot you boiled them in and mash, if you do not have a potato masher, I’ve found a whisk does a really good job. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to your liking, heat up the milk gently again and add it to the potatoes. Create a small indent into the center of the mash and place a knob of golden grass fed butter there. Serve warm.