I love all things Celtic, It’s in my blood and I always love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with my favorite Irish Foods. But a few years ago, things in life had gotten really crazy and I realized MID-DAY that it was actually St. Patrick’s. GASP! How had I let this sneak up on me without notice?
I was in a panic. I had NO CORNED BEEF in the freezer. (And I wasn’t about to load up in the car and drive to town with two small children for 1 item.) So I hopped on Pinterest for inspiration and realized that there are a LOT of options for delicious Irish fare besides my beloved Corned Beef and Cabbage. I realized that a traditional Irish Stew is much like my own stew recipe so that would be a piece of cake. But I needed something more, something celebratory that wasn’t on my typical monthly menu. And then I discovered….
Colcannon. A yummy concoction of mashed potatoes, bacon, cabbage and leeks.
And not JUST Colcannon… but Irish Stew served OVER Colcannon.
The next year, I decided to add a little extra flare and added whipped horseradish cream.
Irish Stew OVER Colcannon TOPPED with whipped horseradish cream.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
Comfort food in it’s most glorious form.
So I am here to share the glory with you today, and it goes something like this…
The easiest way to start any recipe is “mic en place” (or for us down home cooks, “get yer stuff together”.) This recipe has many components and the best way to simplify is to get all of your ingredients chopped, sliced and ready to go.
Slice your leeks, shred your cabbage and chop your bacon, carrots and onions (and stew meat if needed.)
Starting with the stew…
This stew can be cooked on the stove, in a Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) or in a crock pot. (see cooking times/methods in the recipe below)
Beef would be the most traditional meat choice of course, but you can use venison or elk, here I used bear stew meat. Whatever you keep on hand is fine.
Start by cooking your onions and garlic directly in your stew pot or pressure cooker. The only need for an additional pan here would be if you are going to use a crock pot to cook the stew. In that case I much prefer cast iron for the browning process.
When the onions are cooked, remove from pan and turn you heat to high. In batches, start browning your stew meat, seasoning with salt and pepper during the browning process. *Note- Browning the stew meat in smaller batches is important. You don’t want to over crowd your pan when browning meat. If you do, the meat will essentially steam rather than getting that nice dark sear that you are looking for. Give the meat some space and room to breathe.
After your meat is browned, remove the last batch and deglaze the pan with a bottle of Guinness or other dark beer, scraping the bits from the pan as you stir. Add in your beef stock, tomato paste and all of your meat and vegetables. You can tie your herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine or if you aren’t fancy like that, just place them on top and kind of “smoosh” them down beneath the level of the broth.
See the recipe below for cooking times & methods.
Now, let’s talk Colcannon.
Add your bacon to a skillet and fry until crisp. Remove from pan and add cabbage and leeks to the bacon grease and cook until tender (fresh garlic is a nice addition here too, but I was out today.)
While that is cooking, you’ll need to start some basic mashed potatoes; I won’t be going into that this time but will in a future post.
When your potatoes are mashed and seasoned the way you like, fold in the cabbage, leeks and bacon. That’s it, Colcannon is done.
Now the third (and most epic) feature of this recipe, the whipped horseradish cream.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Well, maybe it’s not a secret but I didn’t catch on to this until about 2 years ago so it was big news to me. So here goes… if you want a great punch of flavor from your horseradish you need to add… wait for it…
Sugar. Sugar makes the flavor of horseradish really pop.
Anyways… begin whipping your heavy cream in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper. When the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in your grated horseradish. (Freshly grated horseradish is light and folds in nicely here, but if you are using horseradish from a jar, I suggest adding the horseradish during the whipping process.
So now you have all your components and all you have to do is pile it up!
Colcannon, Stew, Horseradish Cream. It’s a beautiful thing.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, or Tuesday, any day really will be a happy day when this is in your belly. 😉
Irish Stew with Colcannon & Whipped Horseradish Cream
- 2 lbs Stew Meat of choice
- 1 lg onion
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 16 oz fresh or frozen green beans
- 6 lg carrots, chopped
- 1 lg bottle (mine was 1 pint 6 oz) Guinness or other dark beer
- 1 qt Beef Stock
- 2 Tbl tomato paste
- 4 sprigs fresh herbs or 2 Tbl dried (I prefer rosemary and thyme for this recipe)
Saute onions and garlic until translucent, remove from pan and brown stew meat in batches (careful to not overcrowd.) Season meat with salt and pepper while browning. After meat is browned, deglaze pan with dark beer, scraping up any bits from bottom of the pan. Add beef stock & tomato paste and adjust salt to taste.
Crock Pot: Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low 8 hours.
Instant Pot: For tender meats such as elk or bear – Add all ingredients to pot and pressure for 2.5 minutes. For beef stew meat or chuck – Add meat to broth and pressure for 25 minutes, quick release pressure and add vegetables, pressuring for another 5 minutes.
Stove Top: For tender meats such as elk or bear – Add meat to pan and simmer for 1 hour, add vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender. For beef stew meat and chuck – Add meat to pan and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, add vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
- 8 oz diced bacon
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (green onions will also do in a pinch)
- 4 medium potatoes, mashed and seasoned to taste
- Crisp bacon in skillet. Remove from pan and saute cabbage and leeks until tender. Fold bacon and vegetables into mashed potatoes.
Whipped Horseradish Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2-4 Tbl grated horseradish (to taste)
- pinch sugar
- freshly cracked pepper
Whip heavy cream in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper. When the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in your grated horseradish. (Freshly grated horseradish is light and folds in nicely here, but if you are using horseradish from a jar, I suggest adding the horseradish during the whipping process.)
Fill bottom of bowl with Colcannon, ladle stew over the colcannon and top with a dollop of the horseradish cream.