Champ is a very traditional creamy mashed potato dish with scallions (spring onions) from Ireland. The creamy mashed potato is flecked with the green of the onions and is served in a deep dish, (often served on the side of stews and ‘fry-ups’). There is always a ‘well’ made in the centre of the champ, into which melted butter is poured.
For regional differences and variations to this recipe see the end of this page. Use floury potatoes not waxy ones.
- 1 Kg potatoes (cooked and mashed)
- 75g butter (melted)
- 12 large spring onions (scallions)
- 200ml milk
- ground sea-salt and black pepper to season
Clean and chop the spring onions (scallions) into small pieces, the green and white parts. Put the milk in a small saucepan, and bring it up to a simmer. Cook the chopped spring onions in the milk for ten minutes. Drain the spring onions through a sieve and reserve the milk, putting it back in the saucepan to heat later.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into even- sized pieces, so that they will all cook at the same speed. Put a large saucepan, with salted water, (enough to just cover the potatoes) on to a medium-high heat. Bring it up to the boil, once at the boil turn it down to a high simmer, then add the potatoes. Put the lid on and cook them until tender, but still maintaining an integrity (12 to 15 minutes). Do not over-cook.
Drain the potatoes in a colander, empty the saucepan of water, and place the potatoes back in the pan. Place the pan on a low heat and briefly steam them dry. Take off the heat and mash the hot potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer, season to taste with a little ground sea-salt and black pepper, and then add in the cooked spring onion. Beat well together and add enough of the reserved hot milk to make the dish creamy and smooth.
Melt the butter. Put the champ into a deep, warmed dish – make a well in the centre, and pour the hot melted butter into it and over the top. The creamy mashed potato is traditionally dipped into the well of butter when serving. Serve.
Traditional Regional Variations on the Original Champ:
Champ can also be made with chopped parsley, chives, young nettle tops and freshly cooked young green peas. When using peas, they are kept whole and added last. For a supper dish, scrambled eggs are often served in the well in the centre. An attractive dish sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Choose some very big potatoes and peel them before boiling in the usual way. Cut a generous handful of chives into small pieces, add salt to taste. When the potatoes are sufficiently tender, drain, and pound thoroughly with a potato masher, after adding the chives and salt. Heat some milk to boiling point, pour over all, and stir well. Lift each helping on to a plate, make a well in the centre, and add a chunk of butter. Then lift each spoonful round the outer edge of the champ, dip it in the melted butter to eat.
(Rhodymenia palmata.) A reddish-brown seaweed found on all coasts of Ireland. Also called dillisk and dillesk. It is sold dried and to cook it the dulse must be soaked for 3 hours in cold water, then simmered in milk for the same time with a knob of butter and pepper. It can be added to mashed potatoes for Dulse Champ and goes with all meats or fish.