Irish "Champ" Mashed Potatoes

"Champ" is one of Ireland's favorite side dishes. Reading through an Irish cookbook we bought, Rick and I learned that Champ is traditionally served at Halloween, when custom says to leave a bowl under a bush for fairies. This mashed potato recipe is so wonderfully different because of the pool of warm melted butter that sits on top. Instead of mixing cold butter into your mashed potatoes beforehand, Champ showcases it at the dinner table, where it is finally whipped together by a chosen dinner guest. Normally made with milk, chives, scallion and plain melted butter, Rick and I decided to go a different route-- to make it more rich and sinfully delicious.  Our Champ is made with shredded Irish sharp cheddar cheese that's been aged for 2 years. To make things even more exciting, we slowly infused butter with chopped garlic and shallots. 
We served these potatoes with a grilled tenderloin of venison, with a lemon and shallot compound butter-- recipe coming soon. This recipe may not be good for your waistline, but who cares! Serve it this Halloween for something different. 

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 2 lbs. of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
- 6 tbs. of unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup of parsley, chopped
- 2 cups of shredded Irish sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- sea salt, to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Then return potatoes to pot. Mash with potato masher. 

2. Stir in parsley, shredded cheddar cheese and milk. Add sea salt, to taste.
3. In a small saucepan, add butter, shallot, garlic and a tiny half pinch of salt. Turn heat on low and let the butter melt slowly. Do not let the shallot and garlic brown. 

When ready to serve, pile potatoes into a warm serving bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in melted butter mixture. Serve immediately, mixing in the melted butter at the table. 


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