Irish Champ

published Mar 15, 2022
Irish Champ Recipe

Champ is potatoes mashed with butter and milk infused with the light greens and white parts of scallions.

Serves6

Prep20 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Irish Champ, which is made of green onions and mashed potatoes, on a white plate.
Credit: Tara Holland

Irish champ is a potato dish similar to Irish colcannon, although it is not to be confused with it. Whereas champ is all about the scallions, colcannon is typically potatoes mashed with cabbage (or kale). This creamy traditional Irish potato side dish is rich and comforting, and great to have in your lineup to mix up your mashed potato game. 

What Is Irish Champ?

Champ is potatoes mashed with butter and milk infused with the light-green and white parts of scallions. The dark-green parts of the scallions are folded in at the end when the potatoes are mashed, so they retain their bright green color. Historically, the potatoes were mashed and infused with stinging nettles, but the dish has evolved over the years to use scallions instead. White pepper is also added for seasoning, as typically Irish potato dishes are usually doused in white pepper, which I continue to do with any potato dish — something that I have carried with me since my childhood visits to Ireland! If you are not a fan of the earthy undertones of white pepper, simply replace it with freshly ground black pepper. 

Why Use Kerrygold Butter

If you can’t get your hands on any Irish salted Kerrygold butter, you can replace it with regular salted or unsalted butter with an extra 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. However, if haven’t tasted this deliciously rich butter before, this is a good excuse! It has a bright, almost neon yellow hue caused by the cows grazing on the lush terrain that the country is so famous for. (See, there is a plus point to having lots of rain!) 

What Potatoes Make the Best Champ

Irish potatoes are famous for being super floury, so it’s best to use a starchy potato such as Russet rather than a waxy gold potato. This will yield fluffier, creamier results. 

What to Serve with Irish Champ

This delicious Irish spud side dish goes with almost anything. You can also fry any leftovers in a couple of tablespoons of butter in a skillet for bubble and squeak vibes to serve alongside bacon and eggs. However, as a side dish, champ goes particularly well with the following: 

  • Irish bangers 
  • Topped with a fried egg 
  • Sliced ham off the bone or bacon
  • Any steak
  • Pork or lamb chops
Credit: Tara Holland

The Origin of Irish Champ

Like the other Irish potato dish, boxty, champ is also called different things all over Ireland depending on what part of the Emerald Isle you are from. It’s also known as poundies, cally, or thump. Regardless of what it may be called, it’s a comforting potato side dish that’s rich yet delicately flavored and worth making year-round and not just on St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Champ Recipe

Champ is potatoes mashed with butter and milk infused with the light greens and white parts of scallions.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 6

    large scallions

  • 3 pounds

    russet potatoes (5 to 6 medium)

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream, divided (optional)

  • 3 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more for the milk

  • 1 1/4 cups

    whole milk

  • 5 tablespoons

    salted butter, preferably Kerrygold, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper

Instructions

  1. Trim 6 large scallions. Cut 2 scallions in crosswise and place in a medium saucepan. Set the other 4 scallions aside.

  2. Peel 3 pounds russet potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to the saucepan and enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Add 1/4 cup of the heavy cream if using and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat as needed and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cut the remaining 4 crosswise scallions into 1/4-inch pieces, keeping the dark green parts separate from the white and light green parts. Place the light green and white parts in a small saucepan and add 1 1/4 cups whole milk and a pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of the salted butter, cover, and let the scallions infuse into the milk and butter melt.

  4. Drain the potatoes and discard the scallions. Return the potatoes to the pot and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally (this dries out the potatoes and yields a fluffier texture). Turn off the heat.

  5. Pour half of the milk mixture and remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream if using over the potatoes and mash with a potato masher until coarsely mashed. Add the remaining milk mixture in 1/4-cup increments and mash until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon white pepper, and stir to combine. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the dark green scallion parts for garnishing, and fold the remaining into the potatoes.

  6. Transfer to a serving dish, top with remaining 1 tablespoon salted butter, and sprinkle with the reserved scallions.

Recipe Notes

Unsalted butter: If you only have unsalted butter, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the finished mash.

Mashing with an immersion blender: To create a smoother, fluffier mash, use a handheld immersion blender at the end for 30 seconds to 1 minute (this does not turn the potatoes gluey, unlike other mixers or blenders).

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.