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Colcannon Filled Cabbage Purses with Irish Parsley Sauce Recipe

I enjoy fusion cuisine. Some of the best combinations of flavors and textures I have ever eaten have come as the result of taking the flavors of one culture and the techniques of another to form something extremely unique and ultimately satisfying. This is one of those dishes.

Cabbage “purses” are a traditional Greek food, usually stuffed with lamb, veal or some other protein and served as a side dish. For this recipe I took a very Mediterranean method and paired it with a couple of Irish classics, colcannon and parsley sauce. While these aren’t things I’ve ever seen done together, the end result is truly amazing. The flavors are delicate and subtle, but more than satisfying enough to be filling and I think this would pair nicely with lamb, beef, venison, veal or even a full bodied fish, if it is suited to the sauce.

A bit of warning. These are a bit tricky to make and are extremely fragile, but well worth the effort in the end if you are so inclined!

Colcannon Filled Cabbage Purses with Irish Parsley Sauce Recipe
Yield: 4 servings

Colcannon Filled Cabbage Purses with Irish Parsley Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes


For cabbage purses:

  • Colcannon
  • 10-12 large cabbage leaves
  • Scallion greens

For Irish parsley sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup cabbage stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste (note: Purely traditional parsley sauce does not use salt)


    For cabbage purses:

    1. Carefully remove leaves from a large head of cabbage. Remove stems and thick veins gently with an extremely sharp pairing knife to avoid tearing.
    2. Trim the greens from one bunch of scallions. Reserve the white ends for later use.
    3. Blanch cabbage leaves and scallion greens in boiling salted water for approximately 5 minutes or until leaves are pliable and greens are wilted. Transfer gently to a large bowl filled with water and ice. This will shock the greens and allow them to retain their color.
    4. If desired, place 1/2 cup of the blanching water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by 1/2 to make a knock-off cabbage stock for the parsley sauce.
    5. place a tablespoon of colcannon in the center of the leaf and fold edges up to form a purse. Tie with blanched scallion greens and place gently in a steamer basket.
    6. When all leaves have been formed, place steamer over simmering water and steam pursed for 10-12 minutes or until filling is heated through.
    7. (Alternate cooking method: Place purses in a shallow oven proof dish with 1/4 inch of vegetable or cabbage stock and bake, loosely covered with foil at 350°F for approximately 8 minutes.)

    For Irish parsley sauce:

    1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir together to form a loose roux. Stir continuously for 1 to 2 minutes, until flour smells just slightly nutty but has not browned. (A white roux) Add stock gradually, stirring constantly. Once fully incorporated, add milk. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for approximately 3 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon.
    2. Stir in parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Serve immediately.


    1. Spoon a good bit of parsley sauce onto the center of a serving dish or bowl. Arrange purses in sauce. Drizzle a tiny bit of sauce over purses.
    2. Serve immediately.
    3. When eating this dish, take a piece of the purse and cover in a good nit of the sauce. Each component of this dish is a bit bland on its own, but when the flavors are combined, it’s phenomenal.

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 332mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 9gSugar: 14gProtein: 11g

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

    I’ve seen methods for wrapping the purses that don’t involve blanching them first. This might be a lot simpler, as the leaves tear quite easily once blanched. (Make a lot more than you think you will need!)

    This method lends itself to more fillings than just colcannon. I just happened to have quite a bit left over after St. Patty’s Day, so I used this method to create somethign different from what i had on hand. You could use simple mashed potatoes witha bit of bacon or cheddar cheese and this would work equally as well.

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