Champ Potatoes

A couple years ago, I was in a restaurant and I ordered a steak with mashed potatoes. When my order came out, I took a bite of my potatoes and decided that this particular restaurant cooked the best mashed potatoes I had ever eaten.

The problem is, I couldn’t place what it was about the potatoes that I loved so much. They were perfectly seasoned. They were slightly lumpy, which might turn some people off, but I happen to love the texture. I tried to discretely dissect the potatoes, looking for some hint of onion or garlic that was providing the extra flavor, even though it didn’t necessarily have an onion or garlic taste.

I was stumped.

Cut to a few days later and I used my handy internet-sleuthing skills to find a copycat recipe of the mashed potatoes from this very restaurant. Turns out the words I was looking for was: beef stock.

How I failed to discern this on my own, I’ll never know. But, as soon as I read it, I knew that was the secret ingredient that was right on the tip of my tongue, no pun intended.

So, for my Irish dinner, I made champ as my starch. If you’re not familiar, champ is basically mashed potatoes with green onions sprinkled throughout. Since I was serving this with corned beef, I decided to take it up a notch with a little beef flavor.

I’ve seen two ways to do this and I’m not sure which is best. One is to boil the potatoes in beef stock. This seems logical, but maybe hard to control. Is the beef stock too strong? Does it require dilution? Will it provide enough flavor? Will it be too weak?

Someday, I’d be willing to try this, but for now, I went with the alternative method, which is using beef base to flavor the milk used in the recipe. I felt this gave me a little more control in that I could pour a little in at a time to see how it tasted.

And before you remind me that you can get this same beef flavor using gravy on the side, let me just say: I don’t like gravy. I’m sure gravy would be great with this. In fact, I know it would because I made gravy with this and other people really liked it. I like my potatoes “undressed” and this flavor really goes a long way for me.

Keep watching for more Irish recipes coming your way soon!

Champ Potatoes

10 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 bundle of green onion, sliced into 1/8″ pieces

1 cup milk

3 tbsp beef base, cut into pats

1 stick of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.

In a separate small pot, pour milk and add the beef base and green onions. Bring milk to a simmer and allow the beef base to fully mix into the milk. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir to melt completely.

Pour the milk mixture into the potatoes and mash until smooth. Season to taste.

Serve hot.

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