Cheesy Champies

Cheesy Champies with bacon

Champ is one of the staples in Irish food — mashed potato, scallions, butter and milk. It’s such a favorite of mine that I began to wonder how I could introduce it as an appetizer. What I came up with was Cheesy Champies: potatoes, cheese, eggs, scallions and bacon — bite sized. (The cheese replaced the milk and butter and the bacon… well, why not?)

As a caveat, I baked these using muffin liners and that was a mistake. The Champies stuck like glue to the liners, so oil the muffin pan instead.

These are every bit as delicious as you might imagine with a full cheesy potato-y bacon-y flavor. I used American bacon, but ham or Irish bacon would work well too. Alternatively, you can omit the meat for a vegetarian version.

Ingredients (makes 24 mini muffins)

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Kerrygold Dubliner cheese - separated (pre-grated cheese cannot compare)
  • ¼ cup fresh scallions (green onions), sliced into rings
  • 2-3 strips American bacon, cooked and broken or cut into small bits, optional (microwaving bacon works well; line a microwave safe plate with paper towels, place bacon on and cover with more paper towels, cook for one minute on high, then go in 30 second increments checking for desired doneness each time; drain on fresh paper towels)
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.

Mashed potatoes: Wash the potato and slice into smaller bits. I leave the skin on for a more rustic Champie, so cut pieces small enough to break up the jacket. Place in a pot of boiling water and boil for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to stove to steam away excess moisture (this is key to good mashed potatoes). Mash the potatoes.

Lightly grease a mini muffin tin (24 muffins). Combine the potatoes, eggs, ¾ cup of grated cheese, scallions and bacon. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Using a teaspoon, fill the muffin tins with the mixture, leaving space at the top, then sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of cheese on top of the muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then use a spoon or knife to remove them from the pan.

If desired, sprinkle with additional scallion and serve with sour cream, ketchup, Sriracha sauce, Ballymaloe “Red Pepper and Jalapeño Sauce” or ranch dressing, or just use your imagination.

These can be made a day or two in advance and reheated at
400° Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.


Potatoes
This is two potatoes. I like to make more than enough.

Champies premix
Ready to mix.

Champies raw
Ready to spoon into the muffin pan.

Champies ready to bake
Ready to bake.

Champies
Fresh out of the oven.