Monday, March 12, 2012

Colcannon – The Name Has Nothing to Do with Viking-Killing Leprechauns

You’ll be happy to know that since finishing this St. Patrick’s Day-inspired colcannon video, I’ve come to learn what the name actually means. Apparently, “colcannon” is Gaelic for "white-headed cabbage," which I’m sure everyone will agree is not nearly as interesting as my explanation.

Regardless of its etymological origins, colcannon is probably my favorite St. Patrick’s Day recipe. It combines the lovely, Spring-is-finally-here-greenness of kale and leeks with the always-alluring comfort of buttery mashed potatoes. Thinking about this next to some beautifully roasted lamb, makes me wonder why it’s only made once a year?

There are so many holiday-inspired recipes that are certainly easy and delicious enough to be added to the regular rotation, but for whatever reason aren’t. Why don’t we roast a turkey with all the fixings other times of the year? Wouldn’t Easter bread be just as awesome in November? Why we deny ourselves these things the rest of the year is one of the great culinary mysteries.

In fact, I think I’m going to heat up the last of my colcannon, sip on a Guniness or three, and carefully ponder this and other great questions. Anyway, I hope you give this a try soon, and may you all have a very happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Enjoy!


For the green mixture:
4 oz trimmed kale leaves
1 leek, light parts only, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tbsp room temp butter
*boil kale and leeks for 5-6 minutes in salted water, then puree with butter and onions in blender
For the rest:
3 pounds russet potatoes, boiled tender, drained VERY well
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream or milk, or to taste
butter and green onion for the top

View the complete recipe

Bonus Colcannon Coverage!

Check out this great video from my new friend, Jay del Corro aka The Aimless Cook. He's using a variation on colcannon as a base for lamb stew. Why didn't I think of that? I invite you to get the recipe, and read the original post here. Enjoy!


23 comments:

Boothman said...

Sir John, would the Colcannon work for the topping on the Shepherd’s Pie, instead of plain potatoes?

Chef John said...

Yes!

Steven said...

I think the reason we don't eat these things more often is so they seem more special when we do.

Anonymous said...

can you replace the butter with bacon fat?

Chris K. said...

I was going to post a limerick about County Cork, but I don't think Chef John would approve it for the blog.

But that's some fine looking colcannon. Definitely on the menu this weekend!

rich said...

we only eat certain food certain times of the year so those times remain special. i couldnt imagine having roast turkey and stuffing on any day besides thanksgiving and christmas...the same thing for ham on easter and corned beef on st patrick's. i will not eat those four foods on any of the other 361 days of the year.

Jonathan said...

i thought the difference between Colcannon and Champ was using kale for the first and green onions for the other ,.... so is that a "Champ Colcannon" ? :)

hugs

Jay said...

and here I am waiting for the leprechaun. (. .)

Naked Maggie said...

It is so green! I love it!

Steven K. said...

It goes against my natural instincts not to add garlic to that list of ingredients. Is it not needed?

Jim said...

Colcannon to top the shepherd's pie....brilliant!

Finding myself. said...

Hi Chef John! What is your favorite brand of stainless steel cookware?

Chef Mike said...

Hi Chef John. Thank you for the double videos you have been posting, lately.

Chef Mike said...

Hi Chef John. Thank you for the double videos you have been posting, lately.

Michael said...

In Scotland this is called 'rumbledethumps' ;)

philogaia said...

Chef, the one common thread in your story about the origins would be, of course, blarney. :)

I made colcannon for the first time last year and realized that I had been a deeply deprived woman before that. This is my hands down favorite way to get more dark greens into my diet. I have used it as topping for Shepherd's pie and it is outstanding. I only blanch my kale a couple of minutes and whiz it in the food processor. Less trouble. And I just add the butter separately. But I'm the boss of my colcannon. I love leeks so I'm going to try that. I might also try green garlic or garlic snapes when they come out this spring...

More inspiration as usual, Chef.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing a lot of countries probably have a traditional mashed potato and cabbage dish, but this one looks awesome!

Ours in the Netherlands is called stamppot, which basically means 'mashed food', and it comes in a number of varieties. My fave is my dad's version of stammpot rauwe andijvie, which has bacon and bacon fat in it and raw endive just slightly wilted from the hot mashed potatoes but still crispy, yum!

Thom said...

I gave up starchy carbs for Lent, but couldn't wait to get a peek at this dish. I used cauliflower in place of potatoes and left everything else the same. Big Hit! Not the same, but was well worth it.

Anonymous said...

I made this exactly as written and it was fantastic. Thanks for a great recipe. My kale hating husband really liked it (yeah!).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recipe!
My 5 yo wouldn't eat mashed potatoes. When I mentioned that this dish was related to little green people she was all over it and ask for seconds! The fact that both of my kids were eating kale and didn't complain once is fab!

Anonymous said...

I made the colcannon and bangers with mash from a TV show, but it only had cabbage. Looking forward to try it with leeks, kale and scallions!

Anonymous said...

How many servings is this? I want to make this for eight people but I don't really know how much is enough.

Chef John said...

This makes about 6 portions.