Irish food should not be saved for St. Patrick’s day. There are more than a few delightful Irish recipes that are far more suited to Fall and Winter than to spring. Colcannon is one of them, which did not stop me making it during a 40+ day streak of temperatures over 100°F.
Colcannon is pretty much just mashed potatoes with greens. Cabbage is most traditional, or kale, but in the summertime mustard greens or collard greens are much easier to find. The only real trick to this recipe is to work quickly once the potatoes are boiled. I don’t like using a whole second pot to cook the greens first, so I mix them into the mashed potatoes while they’re still steaming. The heat from the potatoes just cooks the greens. It’s delightful.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
2 large russet potatoes
2-3 T heavy cream
6-8 T butter (room temperature)
1/2 pound kale, cabbage, or other greens. I used collard greens.
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel and cube the potatoes and boil until they are tender enough to fall apart when stabbed with a fork.
While the potatoes are boiling, remove the central rib from the greens and chop the leaves well. Turns out my greens were more wilted than they appeared in the grocery store, so I didn’t get as much out of them as I’d hoped. Le sigh.
Rice or smash the potatoes quickly, then add 2 tablespoons of cream and 6 tablespoons of butter. Stir briefly.
Add in the greens. Let the colcannon sit 2-3 minutes to heat the greens thoroughly.
Stir the greens in well. Give it a taste, and add salt and pepper, plus more cream and butter if needed.
Serve with Guinness marinated Cornish hen and some fresh steamed apsaragus.
I make this dish much richer and thicker than most mashed potatoes, because I think the texture needs to fully support the greens and the added fat (from using a ton of butter and cream instead of milk) adds a lot more flavor than you might expect. It’s very enjoyable, and the only thing I’d change about it next time is to use more greens.