It’s impossible to talk about Irish food without mentioning the potato. They first saved the Irish then almost destroyed them. There are few Irish-American households where the potato is not still a staple and anyone who makes even a basic stab at growing vegetables will plant a few spuds in their backyard gardens
They are eaten boiled, mashed, fried, chipped and baked, mixed with cabbage or scallions to make colcannon or champ, made into potato cakes and used to top pies and thicken soups or stews. Typically farms markets will stock at least 5 or 6 different varieties, often many more, with the varieties changing depending on the season and each suited to a particular method of cooking.
Of all foods, the humble spud is certainly the most traditional. We may not be dependent on them in the way our ancestors did in the past but there are a lot of Irish-American people for whom a dinner without potatoes is not a dinner at all.
Here is a wonderful old recipe that is passed down through the ages.
2lbs farm fresh organic Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup farm fresh heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (farm butter is better)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 egg yolks (make sure you use free-range chicken eggs)
1. Place the Yukon potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring pot to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes).
2. While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425F.
3. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and place the potatoes back in the pot over low heat. Allow them to release steam for about a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of unmelted butter and mash the potatoes until the butter has been incorporated. Add the nutmeg, garlic, black pepper, heavy cream, and continue to mash the potatoes. Once everything has been incorporated, add salt to taste, then add the egg yolks. Mash until the mixture is smooth (don't over-mash).
4. Place the potatoes in a piping bag with a large star point. Pipe the potatoes onto a cookie sheet. Brush the potatoes with the melted butter then place in the oven and bake until browned (about 20 minutes).