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Colcannon – An Americanized Version

From the archives. The weather is cooling off a bit for most of us, and this is the perfect side to warm things up with

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish usually served on Halloween. The name is derived from the Gaelic “cal ceann fhionn”, which translates to “White Headed Cabbage”, but it is made with green cabbage or kale.  I’ve made colcannon before, but that version was taken directly from Monica Sheridan’s “My Irish Cook Book” (now available in updated form as The Art of Irish Cooking) and was as close to the traditional Irish version Ms. Sheridan described as was possible for me to produce.

I’m calling this an Americanized version for several reasons.  First, I used both butter and olive oil in preparation, not just the milk and butter called for in traditional recipes.  Secondly, in a traditional Colcannon the cabbage or kale is boiled.  The kale in this recipe never saw liquid, it was sauteed in butter, olive oil and garlic, which is the third change from the traditional.  I’ve not yet seen a colcannon recipe that calls for garlic.

Regardless of the differences from the original, I think that this dish turned out marvelously.  It may not actually be Colcannon in the traditional sense, but it was good, satisfying and well worth the minimal amount of effort it took to produce.  It actually sparked the idea for an entirely different version, but that’s for another post…

If you haven’t already, give Colcannon a try.  I think you’ll love it even if you aren’t part Irish.

Colcannon - An Americanized Version
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and rough-chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter + 2 tbsp. more for finishing
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp. more for finishing
  • 1/2 cup milk (approximate)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water and 3 good pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain well and return to pot. (Off the heat, for now.)
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet. Add garlic and stir, just until fragrant. Add chopped kale by the handfull, stirring to wilt, until all of the kale has reduced in size by about three-quarters. Remove from heat.
  3. Heat milk, green onions and remaining butter in a small saucepan until the milk reaches a bare simmer. Return the potatoes to low heat, add the milk mixture and mash until desired consistency. Stir in the kale with and any drippings left in the skillet. If desired, stir in 2 additional tbsp. olive oil for twxture and flavor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Share and Enjoy!

What I would have done Differently had I thought of it at the time:

Oh, I have ideas!  Not that this was anything but wonderful.  I ate an entire batch on my own. (The kids couldn’t get past the “green stuff”… More for Dad!)  But they have nothing to do with the sheer perfection that evena mediocre batch of colcannon is…  I’ll shush now and move on.

Links to other recipes like this:

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