Friday, November 10, 2006

Traditional Champ

As I don't have to cook dinner tonight (Mike is eating out) I was wondering what I could concoct for my lunch out of the meagre ingredients left in my fridge. I decided to look for some recipes to use the organic leeks that had been languishing there since Monday. I came across this basic Irish dish of potatoes mashed with leeks served with lashings of melted butter. The information went on to say it makes an ideal accompaniment to grilled gammon. Well I had some thick traditionally cured ham infused with Juniper berries, Rosemary, Bay leaves and mixed herbs, and then glazed with heather honey so I thought why not. The ham was from a range of foods produced by the the Prince of Wales Dutchy Selections Free Range which is part of his Dutchy Originals some of the proceeds help support his charitable Foundation.

The recipe comes from a book called '100 Great Potato Recipes' produced by 'Dealerfield a company created in the mid 1980's to exploit the concept of offering books, stationery and other giftware to customers in the workplace, through the use of self contained displays.'

The books and other items used to be left in the office, for about a week, several times throughout the year and I often got tempted to buy a cookery book. I have probably had this one for about 8 years and have only tried a couple of the recipes.

Traditional Champ:

75g/3 oz butter
125ml/4 fl.oz milk
2 leeks chopped
6-8 potatoes cut into even pieces
freshly ground black pepper

1 Put 75g/1 oz butter and the milk in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir until butter melts and add leeks. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 mins or until the leeks are soft, stirring occasionally (personally I think you might need a little more milk and butter depending on size of leeks and as you can see from the photo mine were rather large)

2 Meanwhile, put potatoes in large pan salted water bring to boil, cover and simmer until soft (recipe says 20 mins too long if potatoes cut in smallish chunks)

3 Add cooked leeks and their cooking liquid to the potatoes and beat until potatoes are well blended and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. (I skimped on the creaming process so mine was not as smooth as recipe suggests, again this is where you might need extra milk/cream if you want to make it special)

4 Spoon potato mixture into a warm serving dish , make a well in centre. Add remaining butter and serve immediately. (I think this could actually be served in small individual portions as a variation to other meals e.g. sausages/mash substitute the butter for onion gravy- all you clever cooks can probably think a lot more imaginatively than me so ideas would be appreciated. I do have one idea for using up the remainder (as below).

Ideally the consistency should be a lot more creamy looking and I think you could add cheese for additional flavour. As I made rather a lot, tomorrow, it will become a pie with cheese, bacon and mushrooms

It was a simple dish, quickly prepared, that went well with the subtle flavour of the ham. The cookery book suggested a crisp, country wine from France but I decided not at lunch time. A couple of hours later I went for a swim to work off all the calories, if I had drunk wine I might not have made it to the pool.



At 10/11/06 22:09, Blogger Beccy said...

Mum I don't know where you get your information from but as someone who lives in Ireland and has eaten champ I can tell you the main ingredients are potatoes and spring onions or scallions as the Irish call them. There is a recipe here
or here
and there are many more!

Marie makes a delicious champ when I tried it was not as tasty, I've never made it since because my family really don't like mashed potatoe in any form, me,on the other hand, I could eat it loads!

At 10/11/06 22:40, Blogger Sam said...

looks delicious, mum.
what no wine at lunch time?

beautiful presentation.
I see my food blog has serious competition now!

At 11/11/06 00:14, Blogger ChrisB said...

Beccy I am only following the cookery book and it did say you can substitute with spring onions which I suppose I should have added.

Sam I don't think you need worry I am no where near your league.

At 11/11/06 01:46, Blogger Barbara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/11/06 01:48, Blogger Barbara said...

Sorry a bad spelling mistake in my previous comment. I love mashed potato but have never tried it with leek or scallions. It sounds delicious.

At 11/11/06 08:37, Blogger ChrisB said...

Barbara You'll have to give it a go sometime.


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