Colcannon comes from the Gaelic term “cal ceannann” which means white-headed cabbage. The Irish tradition is to serve this as the main dish for Halloween festivities and is known as “Colcannon Night”. The introduction of this classic potato and cabbage dish in America has been served more commonly on St. Patrick’s Day.
I looked at a number of “colcannon” recipes in my cookbooks and online. These potatoes can vary in the ingredients used such as savoy versus green cabbage or even spinach and kale, red and russet versus Yukon gold, leek versus green onion and any seasonings. I love to compare recipes and often will pick out ingredients I like, and not necessarily traditional, whatever that is!
I decided on two sources fiestafriday.net and the kitchn.com. The kitchn used 2 kinds of potatoes (the russets peeled and the reds unpeeled); also I thought I would give savoy cabbage a try. It seems I always lean towards green cabbage and wanted to try something new – it’s prettier too with its crinkly leaves. Fiestafriday included bacon and I am all about bacon! They both used browned butter – how good is that!!! I chose to use a leek instead of green onions just for a change as it seems I use green onions in so many recipes.
I obviously loaded up the colcannon, just add the ingredients you like to taste!
Colcannon Potatoes for St. Paddy's Day, Adapted
- 1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- kosher salt
- 2-4 slices Applewood bacon, optional
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded and chopped (try to use the tender part of the cabbage and not the hard core)
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced and separated or 1 small leek, white and light green sliced and chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup whole milk (might need more), heated
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- parsley to garnish
Place the two potato varieties in a saucepan with a little salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return them to the cooking pot. Add the milk and mash – you want a few lumps for texture. I used a potato masher and not my electric mixer because I left the peel on the red potatoes.
Cook the 4 slices of bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside.
Brown the butter in a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until it browns lightly and smells nutty, about 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully and tilt the pan to see the color. Pour off 1/4 cup of the browned butter and set aside.
Return the pan with the remaining browned butter to medium heat and add the cabbage, whites of the scallions and or leek. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the chicken broth to the cabbage pan and cook until the broth has reduced, about 3 minutes.
Combine the cabbage, greens of the scallions (or leek) and crumbled bacon if using, to the mashed potatoes. Move to a large serving bowl and make a well in the middle of the potatoes. Pour the reserved 1/4 cup brown butter into the well and serve. Serve extra butter on the side…
Comment: I saved the bacon grease and used it to cook some “bangers” and onions to go along with the colcannon; a shortened version of Dublin Coddle. I was going to make a corned beef and decided on these sausages instead…
Here are some other St. Patrick’s Day recipes:
- Irish Lamb Stew
- Cabbage and Noodles
- Irish Coffee
- Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Liqueur Cupcakes
- St. Patrick’s Day Pistachio Cookies
- Weight Watcher’s Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Weight Watcher’s Version
- St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast Casserole
- Irish Soda Bread with Apples, Guinness and Cheddar
- Shamrock Pesto Puff Pastry
- Dublin Coddle
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Slow Cooker
- Weight Watcher’s Kielbasa, Cabbage and Potato Stew
- Corned Beef Hash
- Reuben Panini
Savoy cabbage on the left and green cabbage on the right…