Traditional Irish Colcannon Recipe

Traditional Irish Colcannon Recipe

Traditional Irish Colcannon Recipe
nutritional information (per serving)

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nutritional information
Servings: 4 to 6
amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 8g38%
33 mg11%
761 mg33%
dietary fiber 5g18%
total sugar 6g
Vitamin C 43 mg215%
Calcium 146 mg11%
Iron 2 mg14%
Potassium 1069 mg23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.

(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This classic Irish dish combines potatoes and kale into a hearty mash that's a perfect partner for corned beef and cabbage, lamb shank and almost any hearty meat entree. I learned how to prepare it from my Irish grandmother, who told me that her family would use whatever vegetables they had on hand to complement the potatoes — cabbage, broccoli leaves, kale, sorrel, watercress, or even seaweed, if those times were really difficult. The lesson here is that this recipe is as adaptable and economical as it is delicious.

Why is it called Colcannon?

The word colcannon derives from the Irish word for white cabbage, cál ceannan. Finally, many words associated with the brassica family (kale, kale, mustard greens, etc.) derive from the Latin word for cabbage, caulis. Think kale, cabbage (an obsolete name for headless cabbage), and kale.

They are the key to crafting great colcannons

The key to making a great Colcannon is to start with perfectly cooked potatoes to soak up more of the butter and milk. Keep the potato chunks in large chunks, after cooking, steam dry in a colander and add the butter to the potatoes before the milk mixture for best results. The vegetables are sautéed and then milk, mustard powder and a bay leaf are added. This combination makes the porridge creamy, hearty and irresistible.

What kind of potatoes should you use for Colcannon?

For the perfect colcannon, choose starchy potatoes as they contain more starch and less water, resulting in a fluffy mash. Varieties such as Rosamunda, Desiree, Melody, Blue Congo, King Edward, Maris Piper or Early Puritan are excellent for this dish. Of course, the readily available and reliable russet potato works great.

What to serve with Colcannon

Serve Colcannon with cooked ham, Irish bacon, corned beef, Irish stew or lamb chops for a hearty and flavorful authentic Irish meal. Colcannon is also a fine meal on its own, served in your favorite bowl with an ice-cold knob of butter on top.

What is the difference between Champ and Colcannon?

Champ and Colcannon are both popular Irish mashed potato dishes. They are very similar, although Champ recipes typically only include scallions (scallions), while Colcannon adds cabbage, kale, or leeks.

Tips for making Colcannon

  • Dry Potatoes = Better Colcannon—Leave the boiled potatoes in a colander for 5 minutes to allow the steam to dissipate and the potatoes to dry. The thirstier the potatoes, the more butter you can add!
  • Start with cold water—Make sure you put the potatoes in cold water so they cook more evenly.
  • Potatoes love salt—Potatoes can use a lot of salt, so it's important to salt the water and then add more salt to taste after the dish is ready.
  • Use whatever green you have– In keeping with the spirit of this dish, use whatever greens you have on hand. Self-harvested greens such as stinging nettles make excellent colcannon.
  • Go on—The Colcannon can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Heat gently in a pan, adding a splash or two of milk if the colcannon is dry.

“Colcannon is one of my favorite dishes and this recipe does not disappoint. The combination of creamy Yukon golden potatoes, chopped fresh spring onions, and sweet, tender, sautéed lacinato kale makes this recipe a winner. With the generous amount of greens in this dish, you can feel downright virtuous eating mashed potatoes!” – Joan Velush

  • 3 large (approx 2 Pound) Yukon Gold potatoespeeled and quartered

  • 2 teaspoon fine Saltmore to taste

  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butterat room temperature

  • 3 cups roughly chopped Kaleor other greens (leaves only, discard hard ribs)

  • 4 Middle green onionsthinly sliced, divided white and green parts

  • 1 dried or fresh Bay leaf

  • 1 1/4 cups milk

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

  • Fresh ground black peppertaste good

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot or saucepan (4 liters). Add salt and enough cold water to cover the potatoes by about 5cm.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the largest potatoes are soft (they will easily give way when poked with a fork and break), about 12 minutes. Drain in a colander in the sink while you prepare the greens. Set the pot aside, you will use it again.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the kale, white parts of the spring onions, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add milk and mustard powder. Once the milk is simmering, reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Return the drained potatoes to the reserved pot. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the green parts of the scallions. Mash almost until smooth with a potato masher.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Add the kale and milk mixture to the saucepan and discard the bay leaf. Stir to combine. The mixture will look a bit runny at first, but will thicken as the potato starch absorbs the moisture. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

How to store leftover Colcannon

Leave leftovers uncovered in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Microwave or cook in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until hot.

recipe variations

  • Kohl Colcannon: If it's not possible to find fresh seasonal kale, substitute shredded kale. Use a dark green collard like savoy cabbage or spring cabbage, soak it in a tablespoon of butter, then stir it into the mashed potatoes.
  • Colcannon cake: A beautiful and delicious alternative to Colcannon is to use it to shape cakes. For every 3 cups of Colcannon, you will need 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 egg, and an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything, form the porridge into cakes and fry in vegetable oil on both sides until golden brown. Top them with a poached egg and a dollop of hollandaise sauce. Baking these cakes is also a great way to use up leftovers.
  • Bacon Colcannon: Fry 3 to 4 slices of bacon in a pan until crispy. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and discard the rest. Follow recipe as directed, but use 3 tablespoons butter and the reserved tablespoon fat to mash the potatoes. Mix the porridge with the vegetables and top it with the bacon and just a small knob of butter instead of 60 grams.
  • Russet Colcannon: You can use russet potatoes, but you may not need as much milk. Add these little by little, stopping when you have a fluffy mush.
  • Vegan Colcannon: You can make this recipe vegan by substituting non-dairy butter and unsweetened oat milk for butter and milk.

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