Quick treatments for kale and radishes

Plate with local beef, citrus radish confit and colcannon

I just love the mix of colours and flavours on this plate, and knew when I was preparing this meal recently that I’d have to share it here. The organic beef sirloin was raised by a local farmer and was a bit of a treat; we don’t eat a great deal of red meat here (though it makes regular appearances when we can get good cuts). The mashed potatoes with kale, otherwise known as Colcannon, is always a hit with my teenager and is a surefire way of getting healthy greens into him. The citrus radish confit is a recipe that I had made once before after finding it on the BBC’s website (a favourite online destination for meal ideas when I’m not getting new recipes from fellow WordPressers).

Kale and knowing what to do with it is second nature to me; hearty greens and I just get along. When writing about the wonders of kale earlier this year, I promised to share more recipes here. I’ve already detailed my approach to Caldo Verde, and thought it time to share my favourite method for the Irish dish Colcannon. This is an easy dish that can easily stand in as a full meal in itself (though I’d personally be tempted to add bacon if it was all that was going to be on my plate!).

I really like the inherent shortcuts found in the method detailed on The Art of Cooking, where the chopped kale is placed in a steamer or basket over top of the water boiling the potatoes. Nice way to keep this to a one-pot dish. I think the only deviation from the recipe that I made was to add minced garlic directly to the mash at the end, rather than including it in the pot when cooking the potatoes. Here is the recipe in full.

Mashed Potatoes with Kale (Colcannon), The Art of Cooking

Serves 4-6

2 lbs potatoes (russets are ideal), peeled and chopped into 1 1/2 inch chunks
2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lb kale, stems removed and roughly chopped or torn
4 Tbs butter, divided
1/2 c whole milk or cream
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of mace or freshly ground nutmeg

Place the potatoes and whole garlic cloves in the bottom of a pasta pot; cover with water. Insert the strainer; place the chopped kale in the strainer. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 11-13 minutes, or until potatoes and kale are tender. Remove the kale and set aside. Drain the water from potatoes and place the potatoes back into the pot. Add 3 Tbs butter, milk or cream, salt, pepper, and mace or nutmeg. With a hand held mixer, beat potatoes until creamy, about a minute. Add the kale and mix until blended. Remove to a large serving bowl. Make an indentation with the back of the spoon and add the remaining 1 Tbs butter.

Ingredients for citrus radish confit in a pan

Radishes, unlike kale, tend to befuddle me. What can you do with them besides slicing them and throwing them into a salad? Well, quite a lot apparently. Another example of the fact that it sometimes appears I’ve been living under a rock. The extremely simple if rather grand sounding ‘confit’ (just a dish using seasoned veggies or fruit and cooked until resembling jam) that I found on the BBC’s website was a fun discovery. This combination just isn’t something that I’d have thought up on my own, partially due to the fact that radishes and I haven’t been all cosy with each other. We might be now, as this has been a very welcome addition to a number of supper plates at my house, and pairs particularly nicely with meat and would be grand with fish. Chef Sophie Grigson also recommends it with bread and cheese. The recipe below works with about a cup of sliced radishes as its base.

Citrus Radish Confit, BBC Food Recipes

250g/9oz summer radishes, trimmed, cut into 0.5cm/¼in thick slices
½ lemon, zest and juice only
½ orange, zest and juice only
2 tbsp granulated or caster sugar
25g/1oz butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
water, to cover

Place all the ingredients into a wide shallow pan along with enough water to almost cover the ingredients. Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, until all the liquid has reduced down to a few tablespoons of rich buttery syrup and the radishes are very tender. Serve warm (it reheats beautifully).

Next on my ‘quick’ list is something yummy for beets that I thought of and then found when I was searching for something different for breakfast.

8 thoughts on “Quick treatments for kale and radishes

  1. Again, not a big kale eater (like beets), but I sure am excited to try this recipe. I bet the kids would enjoy helping out. Maybe that way my son wouldn’t mind the green things mixed around there in his potatoes! He’s quite picky that way. My daughter will love it, I’m sure. Thanks for the appetizing picture!

    1. Thanks Melissa! It’s not comparing apples to apples, as my son is 14 and yours is in kindergarten, but at 14 my boy can still be funny about things being intermingled. So, I was shocked when he declared both Colcannon and a version of mac ‘n cheese with chard absolutely delicious. He calls me ‘the best mum ever’ when I cook something he really loves, so I take it fairly seriously! 🙂

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