Hometown Recipes: St. Patrick's Day Colcannon
Warning, warning, this recipe is not, I repeat, is not, low calorie! I figure that since we only eat it once a year, it’s not a problem.
Colcannon is a very old traditional Irish dish, which consisted of smashed potatoes, cabbage and sometimes boiled ham. I have changed the recipe a bit over the years as I am not a big fan of ham, especially boiled ham.
So, even though I’m pretty sure that if she were alive today, my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Gallegan would probably give me the stink-eye, and I could hear the well-remembered “Erin Kathleen Doherty, what are you doing?” I am sharing this receipe with you anyway.
I also add two cloves of garlic to the potatoes (I think I must have been Italian in another life) which my dear grandmother would have considered utter sacrilege.
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I hope you enjoy this dish and who knows, you may decide it’s worth making more than once a year
“When Irish eyes are smiling, sure it’s like the morning spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy, all the world seems bright and gay,
And when Irish eyes are smiling, they’ll steal your heart away!”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!
Prep time is about 15 minutes (remember, this is in Mom Time)
Cook time is about 20 minutes (also Mom Time)
You will need:
6-quart pot with lid
11-12” frying pan
4 medium Russet potatoes, about 3 pounds, washed, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup half-and-half or whole milk
½ cut butter (1 cube), cut into 1-inch slices
4 slices of good quality bacon. (I use Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon – sorry Barry)
½ of a large yellow onion coarsely chopped, about 1 ½ cups
½ head of green cabbage, washed, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces, about 4 cups
Flat leaf parsley coarsely chopped for sprinkling Colcannon
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill 6-quart pot about two-thirds full of water and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Put potatoes and garlic in pot and bring water to a boil. Gently boil potatoes for about 13 minutes or until tender, but not mushy.
While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon, done to your liking. Put cooked bacon on a plate covered with paper towel to drain. When cooled, coarsely chop and discard any large fatty pieces. You will have about ¾ cup.
Fill 3-quart pot about two-thirds full of water and bring to a boil. Add chopped cabbage and gently boil for 5 minutes or until al dente. Do this while you cook the onions.
You should have approximately 1 tablespoon of bacon grease left in the pan. Add rthe chopped onion and cook on medium to medium-low for about 8 minutes or until golden brown and soft, stirring often.
Drain cabbage well and add to the onions. Stir to combine and cook for another 7 minutes or so. Add the chopped bacon, stir to combine and continue to cook on low for another minute. Turn off heat.
When the potatoes are done, drain off all the water into a colander. Return potatoes to the hot pot and stir gently to absorb any moisture. Mash with potato masher until chunks are all smashed. Add butter slices and put lid back on for one minute to allow butter to start to melt. Mash butter into potatoes to combine. Add the half-and-half or milk and mash just to combine. Don’t over mash, as potatoes will become gooey. Stir in onion, cabbage and bacon mixture with a wooden spoon. Taste to adjust salt and stir in coarse ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Erin Walgamuth has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe section.
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