Ireland: Three Colcannon Recipes

Colcannon: the traditional Irish fireside dish

For lore about the history of colcannon (and the songs that go with it), follow this link.

Otherwise, just scroll down for the recipes themselves. These three versions are typical of regional variations on the colcannon theme: the dish is rarely made the same way twice (everybody's Mum's version is best!...) and within the broad guidelines you'll get from the recipes below, you'll see that it's hard to get colcannon wrong.

If you're not a big fan of curly kale or cabbage, you can always substitute other leafy greens such as spinach, escarole, and so forth. (One native Irish version we've seen even calls for nettle tops.) And some people (like EuroCuisineLady) like to add sautéed onions as a garnish. This is OK too.    

 

MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
 
      Title: Colcannon #1
 Categories: Irish, Vegetables
      Yield: 4 servings
 
      1 lb Curly kale or cabbage,
           -cooked
      1 lb Potatoes, cooked
      1    Onion, chopped
      1 oz Dripping per lb. vegetables
           Salt and pepper
           Milk if necessary
      1    Ring, wrapped in greaseproof
           -paper
 
  Mash the potatoes or pass them through a food mill.  Chop the cabbage
  or kale and add it to the potatoes.  Mix well.  Peel and chop the
  onion. Melt a little of the dripping in a large, heavy frying pan and
  cook the onion in it.  Remove and mix with the potato and cabbage.
  Season to taste, and stir in a little milk if the mixture is too
  stiff.  Add the rest of the dripping to the hot pan and, when very
  hot, turn the potato and cabbage mixture into the pan and spread it
  out.  Fry until brown, then cut it roughly and continue frying until
  there are lots of crisp brown pieces.  Just before serving, slip in
  the wrapped ring -- the trick, as you can see from the rhyme, is to
  make sure the ring doesn't turn up too soon -- then the children will
  eat it all willingly!
  
  (from GOOD FOOD FROM IRELAND, Georgina Campbell)
 
MMMMM

 

MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
 
      Title: Colcannon #2
 Categories: Irish, Vegetables
      Yield: 4 servings
 
    450 g  Kale or cabbage
    450 g  Potatoes
      2    Small leeks or green onion
           -tops
    150 ml Milk or cream
           Pinch of mace
           Salt and pepper
    100 g  Butter
 
  ~- If using the kale, strip from the stalks or likewise remove the
  stump of cabbage before cooking in boiling salted water until tender
  but not overcooked.  Drain very well and chop finely.  Meanwhile,
  cook the potatoes, and while they are cooking chop the leeks or onion
  tops and simmer them in milk or cream for about 7 minutes.  Drain the
  potatoes, season and mash them well, then stir in the cooked leeks
  and milk, adding a little more milk if needed.
  
  Finally blend in the finely chopped kale or cabbage (modern cooks will
  find a blender or food processor ideal for this).  Add the mace and
  taste for seasoning.  Heat the entire mixture gently, then pile in a
  warmed dish.  Make a small well in the center and pour in the melted
  butter.
  
  (from IRISH TRADITIONAL FOOD, Theodora Fitzgibbon)
 
MMMMM

 


MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
 
      Title: Colcannon #3
 Categories: Irish, Vegetables
      Yield: 4 servings
 
  2 1/2 lb Potatoes (cooked, mashed)
      1 c  Cooked kale (finely chopped)
      1 c  Hot milk
      4    Chopped scallions (optional)
           Butter

  Strip the heads of kale away from the stems and shred them finely.
  Kale is a tough vegetable which needs to cook for 10-20 minutes
  depending on its age.  Cook as you would for any green vegetable in
  furiously boiling salted water until it is just tender.  (Some people
  add 1/2 tsp baking soda to the water to help keep the kale at its
  brightest green.)  Strain it and refresh it with cold water. Drain it
  thoroughly and squeeze out any excess water.  Nowadays I put the kale
  into a food processor with the hot milk and blend them into a green
  soup which I then mix through the mashed potatoes.  I then reheat it
  in the oven until it is very hot.  This produces a dish fit for St.
  Patrick's Day in greenness.  It is perfectly acceptable just to mix
  the kale and milk into the potatoes without recourse to the food
  processor, but the resulting dish is just speckled green.  Do not use
  the processor if you are making colcannon with cabbage instead of
  kale.  Don't forget the coin and the ring to amuse the children.
  
  (from THE POOLBEG BOOK OF TRADITIONAL IRISH COOKING, Biddy White
  Lennon)
 
MMMMM

 

 

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