In 1922, my great-great grandmother and her three teenage daughters(one of which was my great grandmother) immigrated from Ireland to the United States. Once arriving at Ellis Island, they each went through a physical examination to make sure they were healthy before entering the country. My one grandaunt, who walked with a limp, was denied entry and had to immediately return to Ireland(can you imagine how awful that would be?!). The rest of the family settled in beautiful Philadelphia and had big families and lived long lives.*
One of the few items my great-great grandmother brought from Ireland to the United States was a lovely crystal bowl, of which I am now the proud owner(remember what I said about clinging to family heirlooms?). It lives in my kitchen and occasionally makes special guest appearances, like when I need a pretty bowl to hold my ruffly kale and sweet potatoes(hint- look below).
For my last Irish recipe this week, I wanted to share with you a variation I often make of the classic colcannon dish. Although mashed potatoes and kale do taste delicious together, I'm not a huge potato fan. Don't get me wrong, potatoes will always have a special place in my heart and I do eat them on occasion. But, on a day to day basis, I prefer sweet potatoes over the starchy tuber. Also, on a day to day basis, I don't have the time to make mashed potatoes. So I make this instead. Like I said, it's a variation.
Sweet Potato Colcannon
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2"-3/4" chunks
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp olive oil
2 large leaves of kale, washed and cut into strips, with stems removed
1/4 cup of sliced shallots
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl, toss sweet potato with water, or until lightly damp. Add cinnamon and toss until evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork, flipping pieces after 15 minutes.
In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, and shallots, and saute until lightly browned. Add kale, lightly salt, and continue to saute until kale wilts but still retains its bright color. Remove from heat.
Once sweet potatoes are done, place in a large bowl. Using a fork or utensil of choice, mash the sweet potatoes to your liking. Mix in the kale saute. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
*Note about my great grand aunt- I received a few questions regarding what happened to my great grand aunt, Mary, after she returned to Ireland. Mary returned to the family farm which was sold to their cousins shortly thereafter. The cousins took care of Mary, who could not read or write. She kept busy knitting and crocheting, and died in the 1950's. My great-great grandmother and great grandmother never saw Mary again, but did correspond with her through letters they sent monthly.