Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Traditional Irish Colcannon

Yay! Here's recipe number two from our early St. Patrick's Day celebration dinner. It just wouldn't be St. Pat's Day for me, if I didn't make a big old pot of Colcannon. When I say that this dish makes plain old mashed potatoes seem like sawdust, I am not telling tall tales. Although it might be said that the Irish have a bit of a knack for that. ;~)

It's rich. It's creamy. And it's made with heavy cream and the most delicious butter known to man... (Kerrygold) Irish Butter. Just take a peek at the pics below and you'll see why it is that I say that. It also has Leeks and Kale mixed in and they add the most wonderful sweet and savory goodness to the potatoes. I promise you this... Once you've tasted Colcannon, you'll never want plain old boring mashed potatoes again. (OK... That may be one of those tall tales - or not.)

This is how it's done...

Traditional Irish Colcannon
  • 1 Medium Bunch Curly Kale, washed and chopped coarsely
  • 1 to 2 Leeks, rinsed well and chopped
  • 3 Lbs Red Skinned Potatoes, cut into equal sized cubes
  • Heavy Cream
  • Butter (Irish butter is best!)
  • Salt & Pepper

Rinse both the Leeks and the Kale very well, because they often have a little sand caught in the folds, even when the grocer rinses them before putting them out for sale. Chop them both coarsely and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer and either put the Kale and Leeks directly into the water or place a fine strainer or colander in the pot, leaving enough of a water level to cover them. Blanch them for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Fill a large bowl with water, ice and salt. (Yes, I salt the ice water too - trust me, it makes a difference) When the Kale and Leeks are just slightly softened, place them in the ice water to stop the cooking process and set their color. It only takes a couple of minutes. Remove them from the ice bath to a paper towel or clean tea towel to drain. You want them to be pretty dry before adding them to the potatoes.

Fill a large pot with cold water and liberally salt it. Add your cubed potatoes (I leave the skin on for the flavor and a little bit of added texture and color) to the pot and partially cover the pot with a lid. Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium-high to high heat and cook them until they are fork tender.

This is the true gold at the end of the rainbow. Irish Butter. There may be other brands of Irish butter in your store, but my local grocery store only stocks the Kerrygold brand. (and that's perfectly OK with me because it's a very good brand - and no, I am not being paid or compensated in any way to promote them)

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them and return them to the pot. Place them over very low heat and stir them a bit to help dry out any excess water. Once they are a bit dryer, add your heavy cream and butter. I'm sure you're wondering how much of each of these ingredients to use, right?

Well, I didn't list amounts for either of these, because I'm sure some people would think I was insane if I admitted how much of each I use.  Let's just say... that it's more than a wee bit.  Oh, alright. I'll fess up. But,  please be nice and try not to judge me. This is a once in a while thing and St. Pat's is the holiday that celebrates my Irish heritage. I used 3/4 Cup of Heavy Cream and 6 Tbls of Butter.  OK. It was really 8 Tbls of butter. There. I admitted it. ;~)  You can use less if you want to, but I do recommend splurging on this dish. I promise that you won't regret it...  Until you get on the scales the next day. Ha!

Anyway... Mash the potatoes to whatever texture you prefer. I like mine just a tiny bit chunky. Add in your blanched and drained Kale and Leeks and salt & pepper to taste. (They can take a pretty good amount of salt) Set them aside and cover them if you aren't serving right away. I put them in the dish I'm serving them in and put them in a low oven. (about 300 degrees)

Serve the Colcannon with your main dish and any other sides that you like. I served my Colcannon with my Ale Braised Beef Brisket and Fried Cabbage with Bacon and Onions. (The Cabbage recipe is HERE and the Ale Braised Beef Brisket recipe is HERE!)


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  1. It is unbelievable how good this looks! I'm big on butter in my MP's...I often switch up the cream and add sour cream instead...there is no such thing as a diet mashed potato. :)

  2. Oh, that looks wonderful! I'm going to have to make that, it looks too yummy not too try.
    Visiting from Kathleen's St. Pat's Day crawl. I'm a new follower too! Pam

  3. Colcannon is my favorite way to do mashed potatoes...doesn't matter what time of year it is, either!

  4. Now that looks like an amazing dinner-enjoy:@)

  5. Now THAT is how I like to eat- so never going to judge that! haha!

    This sounds so good- the entire plate of goodness looks amazing and delicious.

    I have to try that, never have.

    Thank you SO MUCH!

  6. Liza: You are sooo right, girl! No such thing! At least not in my house. LOL Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Hope you're well and that you have a lovely SPD!

    Pam: Hi! Thanks for the visit and the follow! Hope that if you give it a try you'll let me know how it turned out! Can't wait to see what you brought to the party! Be by soon!

    Marigene: What a pretty name! Thanks for stopping by! I could eat Colcannon every day and not get tired of it.

    :@) Thanks! We sure enjoyed it!

    Michele: Ha! Thank you kindly for not judging. You're obviously a girl after me own heart! I do hope you'll try it and let me know how it turned out!

    A Happy St. Paddy's to all!

  7. Not a fan of Colcannon, but I do love Irish butter. We used to always have that when we lived in England.

  8. Your Colcanon is calling me. I've made it before, but your recipe looks much better than the one I had. I've seen Kerrygold butter, but haven't tried it. I do buy their Dubliner cheese. Delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipes and I'll try the butter. Happy St.Patrick's Day!

  9. Oh, forgot to tell you, I'm happy to be your 168th follower.

  10. How exciting!! Someone else making Colcannon. I hope you visit my blog to see my version. I must say, I'm going to try your version next time. I used cabbage and regular potatoes and ham. It is great. I made it for church tonight, but my husband, son and I enjoyed a "preview" at noon today. Yep... lotsa butter!! Yummo!!
    I'm with Babs... your newest followers.
    Ladybug Creek

  11. It looks delicious! So glad you are meeting new people through the crawl. That's what is all about, visiting and getting to know peeps! :)

  12. Priscilla: I don't know if there's much better than Irish butter. I don't use it all the time, but I do pick it up for special occasions and recipes.

    Babs: If you love the Dubliner cheeses, then I just know you'll love the butter. It has a flavor that American butter just can't compete with. Thanks so much for following. I'm thrilled to have you as a new blog friend!

    Karen: Thank you! I stopped by and your Colcannon looks just delish! I love it just about every way it can be prepared. Thanks for the follow too! So happy to have you along for the ride!

    Kat'leen: I'm having a blast hopping around and meeting everyone ~ many thanks to you, lovely lass. Happy St Pat's m'dear!

  13. Your Colcannon looks delicious!

    Do you sing the song when you serve it?

  14. Foodsmiths GS: Aye, So I did! And if you know that particular song, you must be at least a wee bit Irish? That, or a true lover of Irish music...


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