Rate this recipe

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Potato Year: 300 Classic Recipes

The Potato Year

By Lucy Madden

Published 2015

  • About

Champ is a traditional Irish dish that is served piled high and usually eaten with a spoon. A well is made in the centre of the potato and melted butter poured into the hole. Other names for this dish are ‘thump’ or ‘stelk’. The late Irish food writer Theodora Fitzgibbon suggested that the name ‘champ’ originated in the northern counties and the dish included nettle tops or chives. She gave the name ‘cally’, ‘poundies’ or ‘pandy’ for the traditional mixture of mashed potatoes with onion, milk and seasoning. It is very delicious and you will need at least 2 lb of potatoes for four people. A similar dish, Red Champ, made with mashed beetroot and garnished with beetroot is said to have originated in the Scottish borders.


  • 2 lb (900 g) potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • Salt
  • Small bunch of scallions (spring onions) or 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ pint (275 ml) milk or cream
  • A lot of butter, melted


Make a purée with the potatoes and the salt. Put the scallions or onion into the milk, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add to the potatoes. The result should be very soft and smooth.

‘George told me “Me grand-uncle was in Monaghan gaol for a debt of eleven shillings. Me granny brought him his dinner of champ every day. Twenty-one and a half Irish miles to Monaghan, she’d have the champ warm enough to melt the butter”.’

From The Green Fool by Patrick Kavanagh, 1938.

Part of