Champ is a classic Irish side made with ultra-creamy mashed potatoes and sweet scallions. My version steps it up a notch with the addition of nutty and flavorful Gorgonzola Dolce.
I’d originally made this Champ for St Patrick’s day, but it’s so good, it’s become the go-to mashed potato in my household, regardless of the time of year. To explain just how good this was, let me tell you a little story about the day I made it.
When I’m developing recipes, I usually cook during the mornings and early afternoon, so that I can capture the photos using natural light. This usually means the food is done around mid afternoon. I style and shoot the dish, and then it gets put away until dinner. Well, when I made this Champ I had every intention of serving it as a side for the porkchops I had brining. Unfortunately they didn’t make it that long.
I’m not really sure what to compare it to since I’ve never been much of a binge eater, but I grabbed a spoon to taste a bite, and before I knew it, I’d plowed my way through nearly a pound of potatoes, destroying the Champ, along with my appetite. It was rich and buttery with just a hint of nutty funk from the gorgonzola. The scallions kept the potatoes from becoming too cloying, while adding a pleasant sweetness that blossomed into a savory umami on my tongue.
I know a lot of folks don’t add cheese to their Champ, and if they do, they’re certainly not adding a fancy Italian cheese, but trust me on this one, this combination is irresistibly good. Any creamy blue cheese will work, but I especially like using Gorgonzola Dolce because it has a mild nuttiness and full-bodied creaminess that goes beautifully with the sweet scallions and potatoes. The scallions do such a great job at smoothing over the funky notes of the cheese that even people who hate blue cheese will eat this and say “YUM!”.
For the best results use a potato ricer or food mill to mash the potatoes. This ensures they get evenly mashed, without making the Champ gummy from over agitating the starches.
- Scrub the potatoes and then put them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Boil the potatoes whole until a skewer easily passes through them. Drain the potatoes, and let them cool enough to handle.
- Add the scallions, milk, butter and salt to a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook the scallions until they are tender, but still green.
- Peel the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer or food mill.
- Add the scallion mixture along with the gorgonzola and stir until combined. Be careful not to overmix the Champ or the potatoes will get gummy.