"An Uncommon Colcannon" & Irish Soda Bread Recipes from Chef Lesa Sullivan / by Leslie Seaton

 We got to take our soda bread home, and I enjoyed it all week toasted and topped with butter and my own marmalade. Check out recipes for both colcannon and soda bread from a local chef here: http://www.freshpickedseattle.com/home/2013/3/12/an-uncommon-colcannon-irish-soda-bread-recipes-from-chef-les.html

Getting geared up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Check out these recipes from local chef Lesa Sullivan. Chef Lesa cooks and teaches around Seattle, offering classes on a wide variety of topics from Mexican cuisine, to great dishes for brunch entertaining, to seafood on the grill. Here's her bio from her site:

Chef Lesa has been a professional cook in the Seattle area for ten years. She is a graduate of the Seattle Central Culinary Arts Program, and has cooked at several popular Seattle restaurants including Kaspar's, Jitterbug, The Rose Club and Dinette.

Chef Lesa is a member of the United States Personal Chef Association, the country's best source of certified personal chefs. She is also a member of the American Culinary Federation, Chef's Collaborative and Sustainable Seattle. She often donates her time as a volunteer chef/instructor at local charities and fundraisers. Lesa strongly believes in using the bounty of the Northwest harvest wisely ...and then returning the favor.

Check out her recipes below and for another look at Irish soda bread, see this gallery from a class with the Seattle Irish community.

An Uncommon Colcannon

from Chef Lesa Sullivan

Though we usually indulge in colcannon but once a year here in the US, colcannon was commonly eaten year-round in Ireland. It was traditionally a mostly-mashers affair, sometimes flavored with a bit of meat, and always containing some kind of green like kale or cabbage. I like to bring up the volume of the greens and let the potatoes play a supporting role in this version. I flavor it with some Irish blue cheese, heavy cream and a dose of honey. If you can’t get ahold of the Cashel Blue mentioned here in the recipe (and that would be a shame), a good quality cow’s milk blue cheese will do.

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. toasted caraway, ground
  • 3 Tbsp. whole cream
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 oz. Cashel Blue Irish Farmhouse Cheese (can be found at DeLaurenti in Pike Place Market)
  • 3-4 oz.6-7 leaves of kale cut in fine ribbons
  • 1/8th head red cabbage (about 2 cups), sliced very thin
  • ½ a small celery root (celeriac), peeled and finely julienned
  • 2 small Yukon potatoes, peeled, steamed and gently mashed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Combine vinegar, honey, caraway, cream and oil together. Whisk well. Crumble the cheese into small cubes and toss in the dressing until coated; set aside.
  2. Combine kale, red cabbage, celery root and potatoes. Dress with the cheese sauce, toss well and season with salt and pepper. Let rest several minutes at room temperature to absorb liquid and intensify in flavor. Serves 4-6.

Irish Soda Bread with Honey Butter Recipe

from Chef Lesa Sullivan

So what’s the deal with soda bread? Ireland’s got something against real bread? Matter of fact, Ireland’s temperate climate is ideal for producing gorgeous soft wheat. Yeast is a less than ideal leavening agent for soft wheat, as it doesn’t develop enough gluten for a really good dough. Instead, soda does the trick. The traditional version is a quick fix, most often mixed before a meal and thrown directly onto a large griddle placed over a fire or stove. It was created with just a few ingredients, including the buttermilk left behind from a recent butter churning. The butter would also be served along with the loaf or farl as soon as it was cool enough to handle. This recipe replicates the direct heat required for the crust by heating the pan first in the oven. It’s a really (really, really) good idea to wrap it in a damp towel for several minutes before serving, otherwise it can turn into a really, really nice doorstop.

  • ¾ cup cream, half and half or whole milk
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 4 cups all-purpose white flour (or a combination of rye, white wheat, in a 1:3 ratio of non-white wheat flours to white)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg whisked with a tiny bit of additional cream, half and half or milk
  • Optional: dried, sweetened citron, orange or lemon; dried currants or raisins
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) Kerrygold unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cream, slightly warmed
  • 3-4 Tbsp. honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Lightly spray an 8” cake pan with oil and dust with flour. Combine the cream, half and half or milk together with the cider vinegar, set aside. Sift flour with soda and salt. When the liquids have curdled slightly, whisk them well and then add them to the flour. Knead gently just until the dough comes together.
  3. Place the dough in the cake tin with either a similar-sized pot lid or another cake pan, inverted. Bake for thirty minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool for half an hour while wrapped in a damp towel. Serves 8-10.