There’s a great little Irish Pub called Dargan’s where Mike and I love to drop in for a quick bite after a movie when we’re in Santa Barbara . It’s right downtown, stays open late, has a friendly staff, and good pub grub. They celebrate the 17th of every month at Dargan’s with half price specials on all the traditional Irish fare on their menu, consequently the place is jammed packed on those nights. But the monthly celebration is but a warm up to their annual March 17 celebration for St. Patrick’s Day. Then, it’s standing room only in the bar and not a table to be had.
This year, we will be at our home at Tahoe and so we’ll miss out on the Dargan’s festivities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a little Irish tradition to honor the day by eating (and drinking) Irish.
On the drinking Irish front, we’ll pop the top on a can of imported Strongbow dry cider. OK, technically it’s English, but at only about 0.75 gram of carb per ounce, it’s a pretty good carb bargain, compared to, say, a Guinness or even compared to other brands of hard cider, which can often be pretty sweet.
The most traditional of all Irish dishes is Colcannon, which is made, chiefly, with that most traditional of Irish vegetables, the potato, which presents a slight problem for anyone trying to follow a traditional low carb diet. The rest of what’s in it–kale, butter, cream, leeks and a little onion–is pretty low carb friendly.
Never one to let tradition stand in the way of…uh…tradition, I set about to bend Colcannon to my will and here’s the result:
1 large head cauliflower, washed, trimmed, and chopped coarsely
1 pound kale, washed thoroughly, and chopped coarsely
12 tablespoons butter, divided use
1/4 cup warm half and half cream
2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
Celtic Sea Salt and Freshly Ground pepper to taste
1 pound bacon, cooked crisp, drained
1. In a large stock pot, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon sea salt and the kale. Cook for 2 minutes, drain, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place the pieces of cauliflower and about 1 tablespoon of water into a microwave safe dish. Cover and cook on hi power for 6 minutes. Carefully remove the cover, stir, and microwave until quite tender, about another 3 minutes on hi power.
3. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a microwave safe bowl.
4. Place the cauliflower into a food processor, add the melted butter, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and process until smooth. Set aside.
5. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute the leeks and onions until tender. Add the kale, increase the heat to high, and saute another few minutes.
6. Add the cauliflower puree and bacon to the pot and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
7. Divide evenly among 6 shallow bowls. Make an indention in the center of the mound. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and a sprinkling of fresh parsley into the indentation. Serve with a side of grilled ‘bangers’, a roasted leg of lamb, or just on its own.
May the luck of the Irish be yours this year! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!