Valentine's Day was yesterday which means I am officially ready to celebrate my FAVORITE holiday -- St. Patrick's Day! What's not to love about St. Patty's day? Parades, drinking, starchy comfort foods and everyone looking totally fab in green-- what more could ya want? Today, I'm sharing my favorite St. Patty's Day dinner recipe. I'm sharing it nice and early so you can make sure that you have all your ingredients ahead of time and you can make sure you're celebrating St. Patty's Day right!
I've always loved my Irish heritage. I didn't share much with my grandmother but something we did share was our love of all things Irish and our feisty Irish attitude. She made every holiday special-- especially St. Patty's Day. I started taking Irish dancing lessons when I was in the first grade and my grandmother was so proud of me. She came to see me in the St. Patty's Day parade and was always asking me to dance for her. Cooking up this Irish dish made me remember her and I'm so excited to have a dish to feed my kids (in the far future) on this special day.
The one thing way I know I'm Irish is 80% of my diet is made up of potatoes. We eat potatoes every. single. day. Did you know that you could actually survive on a diet entirely of potatoes? Crazy, I know. We're always eating mashed potatoes in our house.
Today, however, we doing a different take on traditional mashed potatoes by making some Irish colcannon. Colcannon is a version of Irish mashed potatoes, traditionally made with potatoes, cabbage, milk and butter. Ya know, Irish comfort food.
Shepherd's Pie is a dish from the UK with three layers. Minced lamb on the bottom, then a layer of veggies and then a layer of potatoes. In the US, most people use ground beef but around these parts, we really like lambs (and cows! ..so cute!) so instead we're gonna use my favorite beef substitute....LENTILS. Y'all know I'm a #LentilLover because they're SO good, SO cheap and SO filling. They're full of healthy, low-fat protein and they're great for heart health!
Real talk? Growing up, my mom could never get me to eat Shepherd's Pie-- I thought it was DISGUSTING. But now that I have a family of my own, I want to make sure that traditional meals that I ate as a kid continue. So I decided to give this meal a go and let me tell you...my mind is forever changed. I LOVED this recipe. And I'm pretty proud that it a.) turned out well and b.) was as creative as it was!
For Shepherd's Pie:
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 TBSP vegan butter or vegetable oil
- 1.5 cups dried brown lentils
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup mixed peas and corn
- 1 cup carrots
- 5 Russet potatoes (or 3 really large potatoes)
- 3 cups lightly packed cabbage, chopped
- 3 green onions
- 3 TBSP vegan butter or vegetable oil
- 1 cup UNSWEETENED almond milk
- Salt + pepper, to taste
1. Peel the potatoes and chop them into quarters. Place them into a pot of salted water and bring to a boil on the stove. When it starts boiling, reduce to medium-low heat and cover until the potatoes are tender enough to pierce a fork through. Drain the potatoes and place in a separate boil.
2. Return the pot to the stove. Place 3 tbsp of butter or oil in the pot on medium heat. Add the cabbage. Saute for 3-4 minutes, adding salt and pepper. You may need to add some water to make sure it gets soft. Then, add green onion and cook for 1-2 minutes.
3. When the cabbage and onions are cooked, add the milk on low heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Then, add the potatoes back into the pot and remove from heat. Using a hand mixer or masher, mash the potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Set the colcannon aside.
4. In a pot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil until they start to brown. Then, add the lentils, vegetable stock, and thyme. Bring to a low boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the lentils are soft (about 35-45 minutes). Stir occasionally.
5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and grease a casserole dish or baking pan.
6. In the last 10 minutes of cooking the lentils, add the celery, carrots, peas and corn to the lentil mixture and cover. Add 1 cup of the colcannon to the pot and mix in to thicken it up. If you desire it to be thicker, you can add more of the colcannon to the mixture.
7. Pour the lentil mixture into a casserole dish and spread the colcannon on top, making sure everything is even and smoothed down. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges of the colcannon begin to brown. Let cool before serving.
What's your favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?