Have you ever eaten colcannon? I only heard about it for the first time a few years back, and it's now one of my favorite recipes for fixing mashed potatoes. Colcannon is a traditonal Irish side dish that's often served around Halloween, yet is also popular for celebrating St. Patrick's Day (at least in the states). It's a mixture of mashed potatoes with cooked greens (usually kale or cabbage) and plenty of butter. Basically, the epitome of comfort food!
This is one of those simple dishes that's the sum of all its parts. Historically, (from what I can gather online) Irish folks used to fix this using whatever was in season and readily available (hence the kale or cabbage if it was an autumn/winter dish) and often with homemade butter.
And the best part? You're supposed to make a depression in the steaming potatoes as you serve them and place a knob of butter in the middle so each person can dip a forkful into the melting butter with every bite. Total heaven!
Because of this, I like to use really good butter (specifically Kerrygold, which is a grassfed Irish brand) and salt for this recipe, along with my favorite potatoes, which are Yukon gold. Kale is a popular choice for colcannon, but I happened to have a head of savoy cabbage in my fridge, so I went with that instead. I love adding it to recipes these days for a bit of crunch and to help stretch them further (cabbage is pretty filling).
Some folks like to add in chopped green onion (or scallions), but I went with yellow onion instead. Not traditonal, just how I like it! :)
In this spirit of this recipe, you should use whatever you have on hand (or readily available), but it's totally worth seeking out high quality ingredients for some of the best mashed potatoes you've ever eaten.
Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Greens)
A traditional Irish side dish of mashed potatoes mixed with cooked greens and plenty of butter. Colcannon is one of the simplest, easiest, and tastiest ways to fix potatoes!
Yield: 6 cups (approximately)
2 1/2 lbs. of potatoes (I used Yukon Gold, unpeeled), washed & chopped
1 medium onion, peeled & diced
4 cups of chopped cabbage, kale or other leafy green (I used about 1/2 a small savoy cabbage)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter, divided (plus extra for serving)
1/2 cup of milk, cream, or broth
Sea salt, to taste (like THIS)
Black pepper, to taste
stainless steel stock pot or enameled cast-iron dutch oven
potato masher, muddler, large fork, or immersion blender
Wash and chop the potatoes into large chunks, place in the bottom of a large pot, and fill it 3/4 the way with water, adding a bit of salt, if desired. Bring the water up to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierce with a fork or a knife (usually takes 15-20+ minutes).
Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of butter to a large skillet set to medium heat. Peel and chop the onion and add to the skillet. Cook the onions for 7-10 minutes, or until they start to soften and turn golden. Core the cabbage, slice it thinly, then chop into smaller pieces. Add the other tablespoon of butter to the skillet, followed by the cabbage. Stir everything, then season to taste with salt & pepper. Cook the onion and cabbage together for another 10 minutes, or until the cabbage softens to your taste. (You can cook them both a bit longer if you like them caramelized.)
When the potatoes are tender, drain off the water and return the pot back to the burner on low heat. Add in the butter and milk (or cream/stock, if using) then mash the potatoes roughly. Fold in the cooked onion and cabbage (or greens), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a knob of butter on top (make a little depression in each portion of potatoes for the butter).
I'd like to hear from YOU!
Have you ever tried colcannon before? Or, if not, do you have a favorite recipe for mashed potatoes? Does eating them bring back any warm memories? I'd love to hear!
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