Colcannon

*Or: “The transformative effects of five pounds of butter on a bunch of kale”

I was talking with an Irish friend recently and lamenting the embarrassment of kale I’ve been dealing with, and he asked me if I’d made colcannon yet.
To which I replied, “What in the world is colcannon?”
“So you’re saying you haven’t made it.”
“Yes JP, that’s what I’m saying.”
“You should.”
“Got it. What is it.”
“Look it up and call me when you’ve got a pot of it.”
Well I did and I do and JP doesn’t get any because he was a smart-ass about it. Okay maybe some leftovers since he did point me in this direction, because it’s good. It’s tasty, it’s buttery, it’s hearty, and it would make a nice alternative side dish if you’re a little tired of standard mashed potatoes. Or if you’re me it makes a nice main course. One of the perks of being single is that you can go ahead and have a bunch of colcannon-or chips n’ salsa, or marshmallows- for dinner and nobody cares.

Anyway, I have seen some recipes that add bacon, which would be delicious, but I didn’t have any. I’m not terribly concerned with making “authentic” colcannon here, but apparently there was no bacon in it when Irish peasants were originally whipping this up. There also seems to be some disagreement on if it includes kale or cabbage, but I ate all my cabbage, and I still have plenty of kale (and a few russet potatoes that came in the Box a few weeks back), so I’m coming down on the side of the kale supporters.

All I could think of, incidentally, while making a potato dish of Irish origin was Maureen O’Hara’s character in The Quiet Man (yes, I realize this was not an accurate representation of Irish culture). The woman was irrationally and continually pissed off for a good portion of the movie, and in one early scene stomps around the kitchen with a pot and spoon, slamming whole potatoes down on the plates of everyone at the table while spitting nails in all directions. Yeesh. Maybe if she had taken the extra 3 minutes and made colcannon she would’ve been in a slightly more charitable mood. It really is quite tasty.

Anyway, here’s what I did, and what Maureen O’Hara should have done, to make colcannon. The recipe I followed, posted by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes, included green onions, but I didn’t have any of those sitting around, so my version is onion-less. This, by the way, was my first effort at making mashed potatoes for myself. Go, me. The recipe is easy to cut down. I did half of it, and there was still enough butter in it to make my cholesterol jump ten points. But it was delicious and this is the second time in the last calendar year I’ve had mashed potatoes, so I think I should be okay.

So here is what you need:

Colcannon fodder.

Colcannon fodder.

You cube the potatoes, boil them until tender, and dump them in a colander. You’re supposed to peel the poatoes, but I like the skins so I left them on. Next you add the butter to the same pot, let it melt, and add the chopped kale. Stir the kale and cook until it is wilting, then add the potatoes back in and mash them using your preferred method. We happen to have a masher. I love this kitchen.

This sucker works like a charm

This sucker works like a charm

Add the milk and stir it all together. Put YET MORE butter on top and serve. Verdict: I am officially a colcannon fan. the kale doesn’t overwhelm the potatoes at all, either in terms of flavor or texture. this may be because of all the butter. I don’t care, it tasted great. Try it!

Colcannon!

Colcannon!

Elise Bauer’s Colcannon:

2-2.5 pounds russet potatoes

5-6 Tablespoons butter

A few cups of chopped kale

1 cup milk

Cube and boil potatoes. Set aside. Melt butter in pot and add kale. Cook until wilted. Add potatoes and mash, then stir in milk. Stir it all together and serve!

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