Corned beef, cabbage, colcannon and soda bread – this is a list of dishes typically served on a St. Patrick’s Day. And this is what we mean when talking about simple yet delicious Irish food.
Colcannon is traditionally made from mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. The simplest, but still delicious version of colcannon is a combination of mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage or kale complemented with good Irish butter.
In early years, in Ireland this food was inexpensive and available all year round. Butter and cream were important additives to the diet during cold nasty Irish winters. But usually only rich people could afford butter and cream, the poor made the colcannon with milk only.
Now, when the Irish table has become more diverse, Colcannon is often eaten during autumn or winter, when collard greens are in season. You can use more or less cabbage or kale in this dish – it is a matter of taste and personal preferences. I believe that nutmeg and hot red pepper additions greatly improve the taste of this simple and warm dish.
For an attractive presentation you can put the ramekins with colcannon under a broiler for 5-8 minutes.
- 4-5 large potatoes (2 – 2 ¼ lb), peeled and cut into the chunks
- 1 large bunch kale (or white cabbage), coarsely chopped
- ½ large onion, chopped
- ½ stick (2 oz / 55 g butter
- ½ – 1 cup milk or cream (see Tip)
- A pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Black pepper
- Olive oil for frying onions
Pour water over the potatoes and bring to a boil. Add salt and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan. Add the onion and sauté for 7-10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the cabbage, salt, cover and hold it under the lid for about 2-3 minutes. The cabbage will “settle”. Stir and cook for 10-12 minutes until the cabbage becomes tender.
Stir in the butter, nutmeg, black pepper, mix well.
Mash the boiled potatoes with milk or cream.
Mix the potatoes with the cabbage.
Serve with a piece of butter.
The exact amount of milk or cream depends on the desired consistency of the dish and potatoes quality. Start with ½ cup, then, after mixing with cabbage, add more if needed.
Cook with pleasure!