Colcannon (Traditional Irish Mashed Potatoes)
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage (or kale) and leeks that I remembered this week because I found myself with an over abundance of cabbage. (A combination of miscalculation and good fortune. So Irish.) Like many Americans, I am about 1/16th Irish, but I want ALL the mashed potatoes.
Here are the simple ingredients for this recipe that I made today. You can find many variations online and I cannot for the life of me find the original recipe from when I discovered Colcannon last year. I could have sworn that it was in Cooking Light magazine, one of my favorite resources I still receive by mail, but a thorough search turned up nothing. I couldn’t waste any more time, so I made one up. It’s really that simple. Potatoes, leeks, scallions, cabbage, sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper (or a seasoning blend like MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE ONE, pictured above. I know there are probably hundreds of seasoning blends out there, but I stopped counting when I found this one. This post is in no way sponsored by Lesley Elizabeth, I just want to profess my love and let you in on this super versatile and delicious blend that I put in just about everything savory that I cook. I confess: if I say salt and pepper, I’m probably really using this blend.)
To make this simple Irish variation on mashed potatoes, I cook the sliced leeks and cabbage in butter and the aforementioned seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste) right alongside the pot of peeled, chopped and boiling potatoes, on the stove. The variations on this dish could be endless, as you could substitute kale, chard, or any combination of hearty winter greens for the cabbage and leeks. It’s really a great way for sliding those veggies into your loved ones bellies, cloaked in fluffy mashed potatoes. This is the kind of deception I can totally get behind.
When both are fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes, I mash the potatoes in the pot with a potato masher (after draining) with milk and a bit of sour cream and then add the cooked veggies to the potatoes and stir to combine.
That’s Colcannon! It’s really that simple. You could go ahead and eat it at this point, but for a nicer presentation, transfer the Colcannon to an oven proof baking dish (like this shallow Dutch Oven or a Souffle dish), top it with sliced scallions and butter and bake it in the oven to meld the flavors together and get a nice crusty top.
We had Colcannon twice this week because I like to cook once, eat (at least) twice and this is a dish that reheats beautifully. The first night we ate it as a side dish for oven baked baby back ribs, and the second time around it was a side dish for smoked kielbasa and roasted carrots (baked together on a sheet pan while the Colcannon reheated, super easy!).
If you don’t already have Colcannon in your repertoire for comforting and versatile winter side dishes, I highly recommend checking out this recipe:
- 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced/chopped
- 2 large leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed and sliced
- 1/3 to 1/2 head of cabbage, cored and sliced
- 4 oz butter (1 stick), plus extra for topping if desired
- Salt and pepper to taste, or 2 tsp salt/pepper/garlic blend
- 1 cup milk (any kind, I use unsweetened almond)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 4-6 sliced scallions, white and light green parts
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, approx 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cabbage, cooking and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and cooked, about 15 minutes. Season to taste.
- Remove potatoes and vegetables from heat. Drain potatoes. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes and slowly mix in milk and sour cream until potatoes are creamy and fairly smooth.
- Add cabbage and leeks to mashed potatoes and stir until combined. Transfer mixture to a shallow dutch oven or baking dish. (Can be done ahead up to this point and heated later).
- Top the Colcannon with sliced scallions and additional tablespoon or two of butter. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until piping hot and beginning to brown. Serve hot.