Patrick Powell’s alternative St Patrick’s Day recipes

Lifestyle

Bacon and pickled cabbage croquettes
An Irish twist on Spanish croquetas, with the pickled cabbage adding some welcome acidity. These can be prepared well in advance and frozen before the crumbing stage.

Prep 20 min
Set 2 hr
Cook 30 min
Serves 2

For the filling
250ml milk
4 cloves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch parsley, leaves and stalks separated
50g butter
100g plain flour
300g good-quality cooked ham, diced
200g sauerkraut, homemade or bought in
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper

For the coating
2 large eggs, beaten
100ml milk
100g flour
300g panko breadcrumbs
Sunflower oil, for deep-frying

Put the milk, cloves, thyme, bay leaf and parsley stalks in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Push through a fine sieve, squeezing out as much flavour from the solids as you can.

In a second medium saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat, then add the flour and stir for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in the strained milk (make sure it’s still warm), then cook over a low heat for five to 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick, smooth and glossy.

Stir in the bacon, sauerkraut, chopped parsley leaves and mustard, and season to taste (be generous with the pepper).

Line a bowl with clingfilm and pour in the roux. Cover the surface with clingfilm or similar (to stop a skin forming) and put in the fridge for about two hours, to chill and set.

Now to coat the croquettes. Combine the beaten eggs and milk in a bowl, and put the flour and breadcrumbs in two separate bowls. With floured hands, roll a spoonful of the roux into a cylinder, then roll it first in the flour, then in the egg mix and finally in the breadcrumbs, so it’s well coated. Transfer to a large tray lined with greaseproof paper and repeat with the remaining croquette mix.

Put enough sunflower oil in a deep pot to come 4cm-5cm up the sides, and heat it to 180C (if you don’t have a probe, drop in a small pinch of croquette: it should bubble immediately). Fry the croquettes in small batches until golden brown all over, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Once all the croquettes are cooked, serve hot.

Smoked salmon, potato, watercress and leek broth
This hearty broth is perfect for a healthy lunch on a cold day, with the salmon adding a pleasant smokiness to proceedings. Drop the fish into the broth just before serving, so it keeps its texture.

Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

200g piece good-quality, unsliced smoked salmon
1.2 litres good vegetable or chicken stock
1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and both green and white parts finely diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
150ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
700g floury potato, peeled and diced
175g bunch watercress, leaves picked, stalks reserved
Salt and black pepper
1 lemon, zested and juiced, to finish

Cut the fish into 1cm cubes, reserve any skin and trimmings, and set aside.

In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil, add the salmon trimmings, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse.

Put the leek, onion, garlic and olive oil in a medium saucepan on a low heat, then cook very slowly for 15 minutes, until the onions have almost melted down into the oil.

Strain the infused stock, add to the onion pan with the bay leaf, thyme and diced potatoes, and simmer gently until the potato cubes are cooked but still hold their shape.

Meanwhile, heat up a small pan, add a tablespoon of oil and, once smoking, throw in the watercress stalks and any wilted leaves. Fry until golden brown, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. The charred watercress will be used to season the soup.

When you’re ready to eat, heat up the potato and leek broth, add the charred watercress and season with salt, lots of black pepper and lemon juice and zest to taste. Ladle into bowls, drop in the salmon cubes, garnish with watercress leaves and a generous drizzle of olive oil, and serve at once.

Colcannon with black pudding sauce, fried egg and pickled jalapeño
This is my ultimate comfort food. The pickled jalapeño and juice cut through the richness of the sauce and potatoes. The sauce, incidentally, goes very well with any fatty meat such as duck or pork.

Prep 20 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

For the black pudding sauce
50g shallots, peeled and finely sliced
Sunflower oil, for frying
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp pickled sliced jalapeño, finely diced, plus 30ml pickle juice
350ml chicken stock
250g good-quality black pudding

For the colcannon
1kg floury potatoes (desiree, king edward, maris piper or similar), peeled
100g diced butter, Kerrygold for preference (obviously!)
250g curly kale, washed, trimmed, large stalks removed, the rest finely sliced
100ml full-fat milk, warmed
4 eggs

First, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, gently sweat the shallots in a tablespoon of sunflower oil over a medium heat, adding a pinch of salt to help them break down. Add half the diced jalapeño (you’ll use the rest as a garnish) and cook, stirring, for two minutes more.

Add the stock, bring up to a boil, then simmer for two minutes. Take off the heat, crumble in the black pudding, then return to the stove and simmer for a few minutes to cook through.

Pour the lot into a blender (or use a stick blender), add the pickle juice and blitz smooth. Pour into a jug and keep warm.

Now for the colcannon. Cut the potatoes into chunks and cook in salted boiling water for 15–20 minutes, until tender. Drain and leave to steam dry for a while.

Meanwhile, melt 30g butter in a medium frying pan, then saute the shredded kale in batches until well wilted. Once the kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any liquid and set the leaves aside.

Mash the potatoes with the warm milk, then whip through the remaining diced butter and kale, until the butter has melted and the kale is well incorporated. Season to taste and keep warm.

Fry the eggs in butter, until done to your liking. Put a large spoonful of warm colcannon in four bowls and make a well in the centre of each serving. Pour a few spoonfuls of the hot black pudding sauce into the well, top with a fried egg, scatter pickled jalapeño over the top and serve at once.