Ivy Manning—In the Kitchen
First, Ivy Manning visited with Shari Sirkin, of Dancing Roots Farm, and learned more about kale. Now it’s time to take that kale into the kitchen and create something delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens! Full Disclosure: I made this Irish Potatoes dish for my family—it’s wonderful!
“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story. My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.
- 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed (8 to 10 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions (about 1 large)
- 1 cup Irish-style stout
- 1 bunch lacinato kale or Russian kale(about 3 ounces)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Rub the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of the oil and place directly on the oven rack. Bake until they squish easily when gently squeezed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add a splash of the stout and scrape up any browned bits. Continue to cook, occasionally deglazing the pan with the stout until the onions are deep brown and nearly all of the stout is used, about 30 minutes total.
- Tear the tough ribs and stems away from the kale and discard or use for stock. Roughly chop the leaves and add half the kale to the onions, tossing with tongs to wilt the leaves. Add the remaining kale, toss, cover, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- With a serrated knife slice off the top quarter of each potato. Use a soup spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell on the bottom and sides. Mash the flesh with the buttermilk, butter, and mustard powder. Gently fold in the onion-kale mixture and season with the salt and pepper. Mound the mixture into the potato shells, sprinkle the tops with the cheese, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes, and serve warm as a side dish or a vegetarian main course.