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Monday, March 26, 2012

Tonight's Dinner - Colcannon with Chicken and Roasted Broccoli


Whenever people tell me they don't like vegetables, I wonder if they've ever met my very good friends, Butter and Mr. and Mrs. Seasoning. I have had people rave about veggies at pot lucks and wonder what magical trick I used to make them so delicious. It's almost always butter, salt and pepper. The loss of cooking skills and health fads have made people afraid to flavor their own home cooking then they wonder why it doesn't taste as good as in a restaurant. I'm telling you, it's butter, salt and pepper. So, I ask you, wouldn't it be better for you to splurge at home with a little buttery luxury, rather than getting your satisfaction from fast food?

My lecture is now over and I'll talk about this yummy dinner. The chicken is boneless, skinless chicken thighs that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and (my new BFF) smoked paprika. After the seasoning, they were simply dipped in an egg wash and dry bread crumbs. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, flipping them once. Crunchy, flavorful and good! The broccoli was tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and granulated garlic and roasted in another pan in the same oven for the same amount of time. Boom! Another yummy veg, seasoned well and coated with a flavorful and healthful fat.

Now, for tonight's recipe - colcannon. If you think you don't like kale, I double-dog-dare you to make this dish! This is a traditional Irish dish that makes use of humble ingredients and transforms them into something deeply comforting and delicious. I recently took this to a party in a crock pot and it was a big hit. On that occasion, I used some dino kale from my garden and a leek from my farm box. Today, I used Russian kale from my garden and green onions from the farmers' market. The foundations of this dish are russet potatoes, some kind of kale, some kind of onion and lots of butter and cream. Feel free to use any kind of kale and any kind of onion. My only advise would be to pre-steam and chop curly kale, if you use it. Dino kale and Russian kale are both tender enough slice and cook along with the onions.

Colcannon
4 lbs. russet potatoes (6 large or 12 medium)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. butter
1 cup sliced green onions or leeks
4 cups kale that has been trimmed and sliced into thin ribbons
1/2 to 1 cup half & half
salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut them into pretty large chunks - about 2 inches. Rinse the potato chunks in a colander. Add the potatoes and 1 tbsp. salt to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender - about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to air dry while you proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Place 1/2 cup butter into a large, heavy-bottomed, sauce pot. Melt the butter over a medium flame. Add the sliced onions and kale ribbons and saute slowly until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the drained potatoes to their cooking pan. Add the cooked onions and kale along with their butter. Add about 1/2 cup half & half and half a tsp. of salt and some generous grinds of black pepper. Mash them all together with a manual potato masher. Depending on the moisture of the potatoes, you may have to add more cream until they reach a creamy texture. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed. Finnish by mashing in the remaining 2 tbsp. butter.

This can easily be kept warm while you make the rest of your dinner.

Enjoy your vegetables!

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