Serve your family an authentic recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Traditional Irish Champ – creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter.
Champ is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes, scallions, and rich creamy butter. It’s the perfect comfort food for cold winter days, but it’s also great for any other day of the year.
If you’re looking for an easy, authentic side dish straight out of Ireland to serve on St. Patrick’s Day, your whole family will love Champ!
This Irish potato recipe is very easy to follow and only takes about 30 minutes to make. Champ is best served warm with extra melted butter on top for good measure.
My Irish Roots
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.
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.
My Dunn Ancestors
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 onto 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 to bring them here 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?
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.
My Irish Champ Recipe
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.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- One word – Butter! This dish is loaded with butter and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’re a fan of comfort food, then you’ll love this recipe.
- It’s easy to make – it takes only about 30 minutes – and it’s perfect for any occasion.
- The contrast of the scallions, butter, and potatoes is absolutely amazing.
- It’s a perfect side dish for many meals.
The ingredients are really simple and you likely have all of them in your kitchen right now.
- Potatoes (Choose a variety with a high starch content like Russets or Yukon Gold. Russets are my preference because they mash with a more fluffy texture than some others.)
- Scallions (Nice, plump, fresh green onions give a lovely flavor to the Champ.)
- Milk (For the best flavor, use whole milk or even half and half.)
- Butter (Don’t skimp on the butter!)
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Traditional Irish Champ
STEP 1. Cook the 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.
STEP 2. Use a handheld potato masher or potato ricer to mash the potatoes thoroughly.
STEP 3. 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.
STEP 4. 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.
STEP 5. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Keep it warm to user for serving.
STEP 6. 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.
For most of my recipes, I offer options for changing the flavors. For an everyday mashed potato recipe, I’d probably recommend adding bacon or cheese or any number of other “improvements.” However, because this is a very traditional recipe, if you start making lots of changes to the ingredients you really won’t be making Champ. You’ll be making some other kind of mashed potatoes.
Storage: Keep any leftovers in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. May be reheated in the microwave (use high power stirring every 30 seconds) or in the top of a double boiler.
Freezing: Freezer storage is not recommended for this recipe.
Questions About Traditional Irish Champ
I wondered why this recipe is called Champ, too. So I did a little research and found that it’s because the word champ means to bruise, pound, or smash. Makes more sense now.
You can substitute plant-based milk if you like, but note that the flavor profile will change accordingly. Try to use an option that won’t alter the flavor too much. For instance, unflavored oat milk would likely work better than coconut milk for this recipe.
The major difference between champ and colcannon is that colcannon has cabbage in it while champ does not. Both recipes are made with mashed potatoes and scallions (or green onions), but they each have a distinct flavor profile.
Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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Traditional Irish Champ
- 4 pounds potatoes peeled and cubed (Russet or Yukon Gold preferred)
- 8 ounces scallions (green onions) chopped
- 1 ¼ cups milk or half and half
- 6 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
- Cook the 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.
- Use a handheld potato masher or potato ricer to mash the potatoes thoroughly.
- 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.
- 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. Keep it warm to use 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.
- Choose a variety of potato with a high starch content like Russets or Yukon Gold. Russets are my preference because they mash with a more fluffy texture than some others.
- For the best flavor, use whole milk or even half and half.
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.