Colcannon is a favorite Irish recipe and a particular on St Patrick's Day . Seriously, what is not to like, creamy mashed potatoes, fresh, crunchy curly kale, a bite of spring onions and lashings of butter.
The dish is the perfect accompaniment to many traditional Irish dishes, not least a hearty Irish stew. See a few alternatives to the traditional recipe and a little of the history below.
- 675g /1lb 6oz floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 110g 4 oz curly kale, chopped (or Spring cabbage if kale not available))
- 225g / 1/2 cup spring onions, roughly chopped
- 110g / 1/4 cup spring onions, finely chopped
- 110g / 4 oz butter
- salt and pepper
- Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked - when pierced with a sharp knife the potato is soft in the middle.
- Blanch the curly kale in boiling water for one minute. Drain and reserve.
- Chop half of the spring onions roughly and the other half finely. Add the roughly chopped scallions/spring onions to the drained kale and pulse in a blender for 10 seconds.
- Drain the potatoes and add the butter. When the butter has melted, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Add the kale mixture and mix.
- Finally, add the finely chopped scallions/spring onions and season to taste.
A Brief History of the Folklore Surrounding Colcannon
Colcannon was traditionally used for predicting marriage on Halloween. Charms were hidden in the mashed potatoes and any unmarried girl who found one would place socks with spoonfuls of Colcannon and the charms on their front door handle. The first man to enter the house was their intended. Goodness, that must have been a worrying time waiting to see who arrived.
Alternatives to the Traditional Colcannon
Use cabbage instead of kale - If finding fresh, seasonal Kale is not possible then it can be replaced with cabbage, though this will never be acceptable to a purist. Use a dark green leafy cabbage such as savoy or spring cabbage finely shredded.
Colcannon Cakes - A lovely and delicious alternative to the Colcannon, is to make them into cakes. These potato cakes make a delicious side dish in the same way the regular one does. Also, top them with a poached egg and a dollop of hollandaise sauce and you have a very sophisticated breakfast or brunch dish. Making the cakes is also a great way of using up leftovers.
Not Irish, but How About a Bubble and Squeak? Bubble and squeak is the great British tradition of using up leftover vegetables from a Sunday lunch., the backbone of which is mashed potato. The potato is fried in a pan with plenty of butter, salt and pepper.