Champ is one of the better known and easy to make Irish potato recipe. In the past it could be the main dish a poor family might have had several times a week. Today it can still be eaten on its own. It makes a perfect light, tasty and healthy meal on a cold evening. But with quality fresh vegetables from all over the world having become readily available it can be used in numerous food combinations. Here we give first give you the Champ recipe and then some possible healthy combinations.
Champ – Irish potato recipe. Photo Source: Heart Book Series
1 kg potatoes
1 ½ cup chopped scallions
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
Boil the potatoes in salt and skin them. Either dry them or put them back in the pot to ensure water evaporates and they are dry. Mash them well. Simmer the chopped scallions in the milk for a couple of minutes and add the butter into the mixture. Add the scallion, milk and butter mixture into the mash potatoes and mix. If you want you can add extra milk but ensure the mixture does not become too moist. If needed, reheat until it is nice and hot.
Part of the traditional appeal of Champ is the rich buttery taste. But butter is not the best food for your veins. If you want a healthier version, replace some of the butter with extra virgin Greek olive oil. Olive oil has a lighter and more flowery taste. It is also much better for your health. It is becoming more popular in Northern Ireland so you will not be breaking the rules if you adjust your recipe accordingly.
Another possibility is to use some more spices. If you do, do so sparingly. The beauty of Champ is the taste of the potatoes and the scallions and you don’t want to detract from this.
In the past when scallions were harder to find out of season, the Irish often used normal onions. You can still can use some onions, but don’t replace the scallions altogether. Normal onions can add flavour but it is the scallions that make Champ the great dish it is.
If you try Champ a few times and you like it a lot, you may want to try replacing the scallions with leeks for a change.
How to Serve
1. Many (most?) Irish eat Champ on its own. Serve it hot without any garnishing. If you want to try different variants try the following.
2. Chop three medium tomatoes into small pieces and spread over the Champ. Garnish the tomatoes with olive oil and a little salt.
3. Put the Champ in individual plates and serve with a lightly salted poached egg.
4. Serve it as the potato part of your main meal.
Now that you have tried Champ, why not explore another old traditional Irish potato recipe, Colcannon.
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