Friday, March 15, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Colcannon

From Simply Recipes

St. Patrick's Day, or the Feast of St. Patrick, is this Sunday, so I thought I would make colcannon as part of the holiday dinner.  Colcannon is an Irish potato dish traditionally served on Halloween, a holiday which has its basis in an old Gaelic festival called Samhain.  Various charms were added to the dish which were supposed to predict one's future, especially concerning marriage.  However, colcannon is also popular any time of the year in Ireland.  A song and a poem have even been written about this beloved dish (see below).

While I have made a version with cabbage before, I have never used the traditional kale.  Since I have recently become a big fan of this nutritious leafy green vegetable I decided to try colcannon with kale this time.  I may even indulge in the tradition of making a well in the center and melting a knob of butter (as pictured above), then dipping spoonfuls of the colcannon into the butter -- decadent indeed!


2 lbs. potatoes (I use Yukon Gold, but the original recipe calls for russets, which should be peeled and cut into chunks)
salt to taste (about 2 T.)
6 T. butter
1 small bunch kale, chopped (about 3 loosely packed cups)
3 scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 C. milk or cream
chopped parsley for garnish

Put the potatoes into a medium-sized pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain into a colander.

Return the empty pot to the stove over medium heat.  Melt the butter and add the kale.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until wilted.  Add the scallions and cook for one minute.

Pour in the milk, mix well, and add the potatoes.  Mash the potatoes with the greens to your desired consistency.  Add more salt to taste if needed, top with parsley, and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center if you dare!  Serves 4.


From Dublin to Shannon,
They all love Colcannon
And no one has known it to fail.
It's a dish of great fame
And in Irish its name
Translated, means White-Headed Kale.

This favorite of mine
Has spring onions, chopped fine
And boiled up with milk or with cream.
The potatoes then mash
As quick as a flash -- 
With chopped buttered kale they're a dream.

Beat them all up together
Till they're light as a feather,
Then pile on some more knobs of butter.
When the whole lot is topped
With parsley, fine-chopped,
Oh, what cries of delight they will utter!



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