Recipes » Side Dishes » Champ for Your St . Patrick’s Day

Champ for Your St . Patrick’s Day

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4.86 from 7 votes
Traditional Irish Champ - creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Traditional Irish Champ - creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter. https://www.lanascooking.com/champ-a-st-patricks-day-tribute-to-my-irish-ancestors

Serve your family an authentic recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Traditional Irish Champ – creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter.

Traditional Irish Champ in a serving bowl with a well of melted butter in the center.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been acutely aware of my Irish heritage. I’m not really sure why. It was something that everyone in our family was aware of, but it wasn’t emphasized that much. It was just always there.

Ireland – that mystical far-off land – was simply a part of me and I was a part of it. And even though I had no idea that I’d ever have an opportunity to travel there, I longed to see it. To experience that magical place.

Years ago, long before I started blogging, I had another hobby. Genealogy. I spent a lot of time tracking down ancestors.

Tracing Family History

It was so fascinating! Finding out the names, births, deaths, and places that are a part of my heritage. People who lived very long, rich lives, and those whose time here was short.

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Like all families, there were both funny stories and sad stories. Stories of regular people with regular lives. But they were my people and that made those regular lives all the more fascinating.

I found some huge families – one with 18 children – and some small. Some who were married multiple times and some who lived their whole lives without a spouse. Funny names, too – little twin girls named Comfort Always and Content Always, and a grandfather named Leonidus Fernandus. We have no idea where that name came from.

My Dunn Ancestors

William "Irish Billy" Dunn
William “Irish Billy” Dunn

Throughout all the research, though, the one branch of the family that most interested me was my Dunn family from Ireland. It wasn’t difficult to find my Irish great-great-great-great grandfather William J. Dunn. Always known as “Irish Billy” to our family, all we ever knew about him was that he came to America at a very young age as a stowaway on a ship.

The family tale was that he jumped on to the ship on a whim on his way to school one morning. His mother never knew what happened to him and grieved for her lost little boy all the rest of her life.

However, as so often turns out with family stories, our William Dunn’s tale wasn’t entirely accurate. After years of researching, here’s what I found out about William Dunn.

He was born in 1807. His parents were Michael Dunn and Elizabeth Entwhistle Dunn of Derryaghy Parish, Antrim, Northern Ireland. He sailed on the ship Vesper in 1835 with 4 of his 10 siblings. There is also some evidence to suggest that he had been here for three years before he traveled back to Ireland bring them back with him.

Southwest Georgia Settlers

I still don’t know how Irish Billy wound up in southwest Georgia. From what I’ve seen, his other siblings mostly settled in Illinois around Chicago. In 1843, William married Charity Elizabeth Faircloth in Miller County, Colquitt, Georgia.

William and Charity had nine children, one of whom was my great-great-great grandmother Ella Fain Dunn. Pretty name Ella Fain, isn’t it?

Ella Fain was the mother of George Washington Carter who was the father of Guyte Carter who was the father of Pauline Carter who was my mother’s mother. More than you ever wanted or cared to know about my ancestry, I’m sure.

Trip of a Lifetime

A few years ago, BeeBop and I were talking about celebrating our wedding anniversary. We tossed around a few ideas and then BeeBop said, “why don’t we just go to Ireland?” It took me about 2 seconds to agree.

Let me tell you all – it was the trip of a lifetime! We spent ten days there and when it was time to board the plane to return, I thought my heart would break.

From the moment the plane landed in Shannon until we departed from Dublin, I’ve never felt so much at home in my life. Besides the breathtaking beauty of the countryside, the people are the warmest and most welcoming I’ve ever encountered anywhere.

We just thought we had the corner on hospitality in the South! Given the chance, I’d go right back to Ireland on the next flight leaving Atlanta. It’s simply where my heart lives.

So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and as a tribute to all my Irish ancestors, I’m sharing a very simple, very Irish recipe – Champ. Traditional Irish Champ is a simple, but very delicious, dish of mashed potatoes combined with scallions, milk and lots of butter.

Why is it called “champ?” I wondered about that, too, and after a little research found that it’s because the word champ means to bruise, pound, or smash. Makes more sense now. 

How to Make Traditional Irish Champ

Photo collage showing potatoes steaming (left) and being mashed (right).

Cook your peeled, cubed potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain them and return them to the pan with a clean tea towel on top to help absorb extra moisture. Mash the potatoes thoroughly.

Milk and scallions simmering in a small pot.

While the potatoes are cooking, simmer the milk and scallions together for about five minutes. Do not let the milk boil, keep it at a low simmer only.

Potatoes, scallions, and milk being mixed with a wooden spoon.

Add the hot milk and scallions, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and everything is well combined.

Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Set aside for serving.

Serve the champ piled high on the plate with a well of melted butter in the center. Eat from the outside, dipping each spoonful into the well of melted butter.

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Traditional Irish Champ - creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter. https://www.lanascooking.com/champ-a-st-patricks-day-tribute-to-my-irish-ancestors

Traditional Irish Champ

Traditional Irish Champ – creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter.
4.86 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 316kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 lb. scallions chopped
  • 10 oz. milk
  • 6 tblsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Cook potatoes in salted, boiling water under tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, simmer the milk and scallions together for about five minutes. Do not let the milk boil, keep it at a low simmer only.
  • Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Place the pot back on the stove with the heat turned off and cover with a clean tea towel to help absorb the moisture.
  • Mash the potatoes thoroughly.
  • Add the hot milk and scallions, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and everything is well combined.
  • Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Set aside for serving.
  • Serve piled high on the plate with a well of melted butter in the center.

Notes

To serve, mound the Champ up high on the plate and pour the melted butter into a well in the center. Eat from the outside, dipping each spoonful into the well of melted butter.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 153mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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35 Comments

    1. Hi Karen – I think you could make it ahead, but it’s so easy and quick to do there’s no problem making it last minute. If you make it ahead, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator. I would reheat it over boiling water in a double boiler.

  1. Dear Lana,

    I too am a descent of William Dunn from Derriaghy in Antrim County. I went to Ireland, and found the Dunn home in Irish Hills of Belfast. Went to the Linen Museun Lisborn. The Dunn’s were weavers of flax.

  2. I love genealogy stories. I am from deep central south Georgia. I have some Carter’s in my Phelps tree. Genealogy can be fun and also an Excedrin headache.

  3. Be still my heart…genealogy, Ireland, and Irish food in one post? Thank you for sharing! Genealogy is my favorite hobby, and I too feel a connection with Ireland. I haven’t made my way there yet, but I hope to one day.

  4. I discovered Colecannon several years back and loved it! I began to collect Irish recipes, therefore I am delighted to find you. My history Is British. I yearn to go to England before I die. I’m 79 and beginning to think I won’t make it. Oh well, maybe in the next life. Ha! I will try the Champ this weekend. To my way of thinking, a little sour cream would fit right in to that recipe, only for really special occasions. Vey fattening. I can hardly wait to try most of your recipes. Thank you!

    1. Champ is wonderful, Shirley. You’re going to really like it. If you want more Irish recipes, just put “irish” in the search box on the blog and you’ll get quite a few more.