March Blog–Luck of the IRISH- Potato Soup Recipe

By Michelle Plummer

March holds a special place in my heart mostly because I vividly recall the days I worked at O’Malia grocery stores and in March everyone was IRISH!  Workers walked the parade route of downtown throwing green bagels to the crowds, had cooking classes about traditional Irish fare and followed the Gordon Pipers around town in the evening to complete the day’s festivities!

The luck of the Irish truer words not spoken, how else would you explain a famine, disease, death and really…driving the snakes out of Ireland?  None-the-less it gives us reason to celebrate with a bit of green ale and pots of potatoes (at one time potatoes were like gold)!

The first thing that comes to mind on hearing about potatoes is Ireland as that country is often associated with the rich and varied varieties of potatoes. According to available records or history, potatoes have been first cultivated by the Peruvian Indians in and around the Andes Mountains some 4,000 years ago. Now, potatoes are available in every part of the world and are the most widely consumed vegetable crop for most of the people.

Approximately 70% of potatoes harvested are fried, mashed or macerated in butter for us to consume on a daily basis. However, potatoes are surprisingly very nutritious with low calorie content. It is always advisable to consume the potato with the skin, its skin is discovered to be high in complex carbohydrates as well as fiber.

According to nutrition experts, one medium-sized baked potato with its skin not peeled off  contains about 120-150 calories and provides about 25 milligrams of Vitamin C and also includes minerals such as 800 milligrams of potassium, good amounts of zinc, magnesium, niacin and thiamine as well as Vitamin B6. The skin of the potato has been found to chlorogenic acid and phytochemical that have anti-cancer properties.

So enjoy the bounty of potatoes both nutritious and filling on a chilling winters day,

Sausage and Potato Stew (this is one of my family’s favorites!)

1/2 pound smoked kielbasa, diced

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups frozen corn

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 celery rib, sliced

1/4 cup sliced carrot

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Directions

In a large saucepan, brown sausage; drain. Set sausage aside. In the same pan, combine the potatoes, corn, broth, celery, carrot and seasonings. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the milk, cheese, parsley and sausage.  Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

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