Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish, made with potatoes, cabbage, butter and milk. Serve these creamy mashed potatoes with Irish Beef Stew or a hearty and comforting meal.
What is Colcannon?
Colcannon is arguably the most well known of Irish potato dishes. Inexpensive, creamy, and comforting, this dish consists of mashed potatoes, milk, butter and cabbage. Scallions (or green onions) are sometimes used, and I decided to use them as well for the extra flavor. Typically a well is made in the center of the dish and a large knob of butter is placed there to melt, allowing everyone to get a little butter with their serving.
Is Colcannon usually served on St. Patrick’s Day?
Actually, no. Colcannon is traditionally served on Halloween in Ireland, sometimes with various trinkets hidden in it. If someone finds one of the trinkets, it can predict that in the next year they will find wealth (a coin), marriage (a ring), spinsterhood (a thimble) or bachelorhood (a button). But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this creamy and comforting dish any time of year.
Why is it called Colcannon?
The word Colcannon likely comes from the Gaelic word cal ceanneann meaning “white-headed cabbage”. Depending on the region, either cabbage or curly kale is used. According to the cookbook Real Irish Food by David Bowers, curly kale starts to show up in grocery stores in Ireland close to Halloween.
Cabbage or Kale?
Is cabbage or kale used in Colcannon? It can be either. As mentioned above, the Gaelic word cal ceanneann means “white headed cabbage”. However, now many people in Ireland only use curly kale. Most likely the greens used were what was cheap and readily available, so use what you prefer.
Is Colcannon the same as Champ?
Champ is similar to Colcannon, but Champ does not have cabbage. Champ is mashed potatoes with milk, butter and scallions.
More Irish Recipes
- 2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 head green cabbage or kale
- 1 cup milk
- 8 tablespoons butter 4 ounces
- 4 green onions chopped green parts separated
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh chives for garnish
- Add potatoes to a large pot, cover with water and salt well. Bring pot to a boil and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
- When potatoes are tender, drain, mash, and set aside in another dish. Return empty pot to heat.
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter in the pot, then add the sliced cabbage. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until cabbage is soft and wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and white part of the green onions. Stir until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk and cook until milk is warm, 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes and mix until everything is combined and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, transfer colcannpon to a serving bowl. Make a well in the center and add a large square of butter, about 2 tablespoons. Garnish with chives and green parts of the green onion. Serve.
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