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Colcannon

Colcannon


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This traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes, butter and kale, is a delicious side that's easy to make!MORE+LESS-

4

russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

4

tablespoons butter, plus 1 more for serving

1

bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped

3

green onions, thinly sliced

1

tablespoon coarse salt, plus more to taste

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  • 1

    Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water and the tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.

  • 2

    Place the pot back over medium heat and melt the 4 tablespoons butter. Add the kale and cook until wilted, 4 minutes. Add the green onions and toss to combine.

  • 3

    Add the milk and stir to combine.

  • 4

    Add the potatoes and mash until creamy. Toss in a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

  • 5

    Serve colcannon in a large serving bowl with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Oh just get ready for this. Colcannon in D? Colcannonball? Colcannonading? Colcannoneers? Dudes, I could go on and on. By the way, I know it's really Canon in D. Ahem.Okay, so have you ever colcannoned? Oh dear. Oh dearohdearohdear. Let me just tell you about this.A) Potatoes. No bigs. We all love 'em.B) Butter. And I mean a lot of butter. Creamy, melted, rub-it-on-your-face butter.C) KALE. Ooooooooo, say what? I know. Kale. An entire bunch of the healthy stuff right smack dab in it.D) Milk or cream. Well, I mean duh.E) SCALLIONS. Do whaaaaaaat? I know. Scallions. And a lot of 'em, right all up in it.F) Your face smashed in it. The end.Here it is, in all its glory. With that fat I mean phat dab of butter right on top, for all the world to see.I can't even look this without completely losing my mind.

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes With Cabbage)

Potatoes and cabbage have been sustenance foods in Ireland for ages—during Medieval times these ingredients were readily available to the common man. This classic Irish dish combining these two ingredients into a rich and satisfying side may have originated as early as 1735, but the first reference to "colcannon" is known to be in Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery in 1875.

There are many variations—some including kale instead of cabbage, some with leeks in addition to the greens, and some recipes baked in a casserole. But no matter how it is prepared, colcannon is so common that a recipe is often printed on the back of a bag of potatoes.

In this recipe, mashed potatoes, along with milk and butter, are added to cabbage that has been cooked with onion until tender. The result is a bowl of comfort, perfect alongside a corned beef dinner. Or, if you add some chopped corned beef to the colcannon, you will have a traditional English dish known as bubble and squeak.


  • 500g/1lb2oz floury potatoes, boiled until tender
  • 250g/9oz cabbage, shredded and lightly steamed
  • 2 tbsp cream (optional)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, sliced thinly
  • a little bacon fat, beef dripping or other oil, for frying

Sieve or mash the potatoes and mix with the cabbage and cream. Season well with salt and pepper.

Fry the onion in the fat over a moderate heat until it is soft and beginning to brown.

Using a spatula, press half the potato and cabbage mixture in an even layer on to the onion and fry for 4-5 minutes until it is well browned and crispy underneath.

Cut the mixture into 4 quarters with the spatula or palette knife and turn them over carefully so that the crispy bit is uppermost. Press the remaining potato and cabbage mixture on to the first layer and after a few more minutes, cut and turn again.

When the bottom is again browned, you will have a crispy top too, a crispy bottom, and a crispy layer in the middle.


Method

Use a potato peeler to pare off the skins as thinly as possible and then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks, not too small.

If they are large, quarter them and if they are small, halve them. Put the potato chunks in a large saucepan then pour boiling water over them, add 1 dessertspoon of salt, put on a lid and simmer gently until they are absolutely tender – they should take approximately 25 minutes.

The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part the potato should not be hard in the centre. And you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps!

Meanwhile melt 1 oz (25 g) butter in a large frying pan and saute the cabbage for about 3 minutes, keeping it on the move until it's tender and slightly golden at the edges. Then add the chopped spring onions and continue to cook for another minute.

Next drain the potatoes, return them to the pan, cover with a clean tea-cloth and leave them aside for 2 minutes to allow the cloth to absorb the excess steam. Now, using an electric hand whisk, add the nutmeg, cream and remaining butter. Whisk the potatoes to a light fluffy mass before tasting and seasoning.

Then finally stir in the contents of the frying pan and serve with or without extra melted butter.


Brown Butter Colcannon

There’s not a form of mashed potato that doesn’t speak deeply to me, but this Colcannon with Brown Butter is just on another level. The colcannon itself doesn’t really veer from the traditional Irish dish of mash and kale or cabbage, but instead of having a melted pool of golden butter on top, along with the also traditional scallions (that’s to say, spring onions) I brown the butter first, so that it is deep, caramelly and nutty. But then, brown butter is one of life’s great joys. It’s easy enough to make: all you need to do is heat butter in a (preferably light-coloured, such as stainless steel) pan until it turns the colour of a hazelnut, which for the amount here should take around seven minutes. And yes, there is a lot of butter, and feel free to reduce it if it appals you, but do remember that colcannon is not just a dish that celebrates potatoes but also exults in, not apologises for, the butter.

I wish I could use good Irish potatoes, such as Kerr's Pinks or Golden Wonder for this, but I can’t get hold of them where I live. So I use Roosters instead, and wonderful they are, too. Ideally - and this is not always easy, I know - you need potatoes of around the same size and you boil them unpeeled and whole this stops them from getting waterlogged. I don’t ever bother to peel the potatoes before mashing them you’re folding cooked kale in so it’s not going to be a smooth mash anyway. Finally, you brown the butter, mix the spring onions with it, beat some into the mash, and pour the rest over, letting the butter leave scallion-flecked, brown-speckled pools of deep delight on top.

This is divine enough with just some rashers of bacon on the side, though frankly I can eat it in a bowl just by itself. But I have to commend to you now alongside your Christmas ham, or to bring bolstering warmth to a plate of cold cuts in those post-Christmas days.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

There’s not a form of mashed potato that doesn’t speak deeply to me, but this Colcannon with Brown Butter is just on another level. The colcannon itself doesn’t really veer from the traditional Irish dish of mash and kale or cabbage, but instead of having a melted pool of golden butter on top, along with the also traditional scallions (that’s to say, spring onions) I brown the butter first, so that it is deep, caramelly and nutty. But then, brown butter is one of life’s great joys. It’s easy enough to make: all you need to do is heat butter in a (preferably light-coloured, such as stainless steel) pan until it turns the colour of a hazelnut, which for the amount here should take around seven minutes. And yes, there is a lot of butter, and feel free to reduce it if it appals you, but do remember that colcannon is not just a dish that celebrates potatoes but also exults in, not apologises for, the butter.

I wish I could use good Irish potatoes, such as Kerr's Pinks or Golden Wonder for this, but I can’t get hold of them where I live. So I use Roosters instead, and wonderful they are, too. Ideally - and this is not always easy, I know - you need potatoes of around the same size and you boil them unpeeled and whole this stops them from getting waterlogged. I don’t ever bother to peel the potatoes before mashing them you’re folding cooked kale in so it’s not going to be a smooth mash anyway. Finally, you brown the butter, mix the spring onions with it, beat some into the mash, and pour the rest over, letting the butter leave scallion-flecked, brown-speckled pools of deep delight on top.

This is divine enough with just some rashers of bacon on the side, though frankly I can eat it in a bowl just by itself. But I have to commend to you now alongside your Christmas ham, or to bring bolstering warmth to a plate of cold cuts in those post-Christmas days.


How to make traditional Irish colcannon

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An Irish Halloween tradition

In the past, charms were mixed in with the colcannon to celebrate Halloween. Depending on what charm you found it was seen as a portent for the future. A button meant you would remain a bachelor and a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth. Others filled their socks with colcannon and hung them from the handle of the front door in the belief that the first man through the door would be their future husband.

Traditional Irish colcannon recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs (1.8kg) potatoes, or about 7-8 large potatoes (‘old’ potatoes or russet potatoes are best, waxy potatoes won’t do)
  • 1 head of green cabbage or kale
  • 1 cup ( 7 fl oz, 240 ml) milk (or cream)
  • 1 stick (4oz, 120g) butter, divided into three parts
  • 4-5 scallions (green onions), chopped*
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh Parsley or chives

*Not everyone adds scallions to colcannon, but they do add something, in my opinion.

Peel and put them in a pot to boil.

While the potatoes are cooking, remove the core from the cabbage, slice the leaves thinly, and put into a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water from the kettle and keep at a slow rolling boil until the cabbage is just wilted and has turned a darker green. This can take anything from 3-5 minutes, depending on the cabbage. Test it and don’t let it overcook - if anything it should be slightly undercooked.

When the cabbage is cooked, drain it well, squeeze to get any excess moisture out, then return to the saucepan. Add one-third of the butter and cover. Leave it covered and in a warm place, but not on a burner, with the butter melting gently into it while you continue.

When the potatoes are soft, drain the water and return the potatoes to the saucepan. With the drained potatoes in, set the burner to low, leaving the lid off so that any excess moisture can evaporate. When they are perfectly dry, add the milk to the saucepan, along with a third of the butter and the chopped scallions (if you are using them). Allow the milk to warm but not boil – it is about right when the butter has fully melted and the pot is starting to steam.

With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes thoroughly into the butter/milk mixture. Do NOT pass through a ricer or, worse, beat in a mixer as it will make the potatoes gluey and disgusting.

Mix the cabbage thoroughly through the mashed potato.

Before serving, season with a little salt and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives. Most importantly, make a well in the center of the mound of potato and put the last third of the butter in there to melt.

*Originally published in 2011, updated in October 2020

Read more

Have you made colcannon before? What's your favorite Irish recipe? Let us know in the comments!


Colcannon

Author and Irish food authority Malachy McCormick says that colcannon is Ireland&aposs national dish. (For the record, he dismissed਌orned beefਊnd cabbage as a New World creation.) Of course, he&aposs right: This is a dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale dressed up with a little butter and milk—the kind of food people ate regularly. Our recipe also calls for leeks, which definitely elevates the mash. And if you want to go a step further, make shepherd&aposs pie, topped not with the usual mashed potatoes but with colcannon—it&aposs an inspired upgrade.


This is a simple and straight-forward colcannon recipe.

Cook the potatoes, cook the greens, mash the potatoes, add the greens, add the cream and bacon, and voila! You simply can’t mess this up.

Here’s how I make colcannon potatoes. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!

  1. Cook the potatoes in salted water.
  2. Cook the bacon. Reserve.
  3. Sauté the leek and scallions in the bacon grease.
  4. Add the kale and cook until wilted.
  5. Drain potatoes and place back in pot or in a large bowl.
  6. Mash the potatoes.
  7. Add the sautéed greens and continue mashing until incorporated.
  8. Add the heavy cream, butter and reserved bacon.
  9. Mix until smooth. Season. Serve!

Colcannon

This Irish classic is a great combination of potato and cabbage - perfect for a hearty winter side.

Preparation

Cooking

Skill level

Ingredients

  • 600 g floury potatoes
  • 400 g savoy cabbage (you can also use kale)
  • 60 g butter
  • 4 spring onions
  • 6 tbsp warm milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Cut the potatoes into quarters and boil for about 30 minutes.

Drain, mash with a fork and leave to steam dry.

Wash, trim and shred the cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes in boiling, salted water and lift out with a slotted spoon. Drain well. Melt half of the butter in a large pan, add the cabbage and spring onions and sweat, stirring, until translucent.

Mix the cabbage and onions with the mashed potato and add enough warm milk to produce a creamy consistency.

Season with salt and pepper and serve in bowls, adding a knob of butter to each portion.


INSTRUCTIONS

Peel potatoes if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks. Add them to a large pot with 1 teaspoon salt and fill with enough cool water to just cover. Place lid on pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and place lid slightly ajar to prevent boiling over. Cook until fork tender, roughly 20-25 minutes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and leave in colander. Return pot to stove top over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add kale and cook until well-wilted, about 3-4 minutes.

Add potatoes back to the pot with the onions and kale and mash over low heat. Add the milk a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Mix in butter and bacon pieces, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Portion into bowls, make an indention into the center, add a small pat of cold
butter.


Mashing Potatoes

  • You can do a rough mash for more texture in your potatoes or mash longer until they&rsquore creamy.
  • Add additional milk or cream until they&rsquore as loose as you&rsquod like.

Season: Taste your potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with pats of soft butter and dig in!


Watch the video: Colcannon - St. Patricks Day Potato Recipe - Mashed Potatoes with Kale, Leeks, and Spring Onions (June 2022).


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