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The Flavors of Ireland Fill Colcannon

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Leave it to the Irish to come up with a one-bowl dinner that combines a rich and satisfying combination of pork, potatoes and kale or cabbage. The resulting magic is called colcannon.

According to Wikipedia, “An old Irish Halloween tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins concealed in it, as the English do with Christmas pudding. This is still done today and small amounts of money are placed in the potato.”

The dish is served there in autumn because that’s when kale comes into season, but we suggest it as an economical dish for St. Patrick’s Day with its streaks of green floating in the mashed potato mixture.

This is a dish that is great to play around with because you can use what ingredients you prefer or have on hand; and it still comes out great. So, try colcannon with ham or bacon or even Canadian bacon, which is closer to the Irish style of bacon. Use sautéed leeks or onion stirred into the mix or scallions as a garnish. Use the water from steaming the cabbage instead of milk (just keep the butter).

You can also serve colcannon as a meaty side dish or the main course of a meal. A green salad and a slab of brown bread – not to mention a pint of lager – would round out the meal.


1 pound ham, cubed
3 pounds gold potatoes
At least 1 pound green cabbage, shredded or chopped
1 1/4 cups milk (see note)
1 stick butter, cut in pieces
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 scallion, chopped, for garnish

Place the ham in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 45 minutes until tender. You may have to add more water. When meat is ready, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, steam the potatoes 30 minutes or until soft. Peel the potatoes.

Steam the cabbage several minutes until soft. Reserve the water.

Heat the milk until hot but not boiling.

Using a stand mixer, add the potatoes and butter and mash until well incorporated and lumps removed. While that is mashing, add the milk slowly until well incorporated. Add the cabbage first, then the ham. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with scallions.

Note: You can make a lower-fat version of this by using the warm water from the steamed cabbage instead of the milk.

Makes 6 main course servings or 12 side-dish servings.

Adapted from “Tyler’s Ultimate”/Food Network

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One Response to “The Flavors of Ireland Fill Colcannon”

  1. carol yeager says:

    I was lucky enough to savor this dish for 2 dinners and a breakfast. Now to try and replicate this in my own kitchen … 😉
    I recommend this recipe for colcannon for any time of the year …tho cooler weather probably makes it more like comfort food than as a warmer weather appetizer.

    Thank you, John.