Some russet potatoes are the size of a small cat. Choose one medium russet potato per person or one large per two people, plus one for the pot. That should be about half a pound per person but this recipe is easily adaptable to any size group.
Go for authentic Irish flavor by using Irish butter when mashing the potatoes and sautéing the greens. Don’t skimp on the butter or the salt and pepper. The potatoes will be the better for it.
Colcannon can be served and adapted in many ways. Serve it as a side dish with corned beef, sausages, salmon or roast chicken. By itself, it’s a vegetarian main dish. Serve it for breakfast beside or under soft-boiled or over-easy eggs. Toast some soda bread for dipping.
Enrich the colcannon by adding Irish cheddar to the mix. Stir in diced cooked thickly sliced bacon. Or both.
If you’ve made a very generous amount, leftovers can be mixed with some beaten egg as a binder, formed into patties and sautéed until golden. Serve as a side dish or for breakfast alongside eggs and breakfast meat or some smoked salmon.
Put on your favorite Aran sweater, turn on some Irish fiddle tunes and make a batch of colcannon. You’ll feel the Irish love, no matter your last name.
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks of fairly equal size
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups shredded green cabbage (can swap in a cup of thinly sliced baby spinach or baby kale)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and tender green parts
- 1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
- 4 scallions, green parts only, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place potatoes in a Dutch oven or very large saucepan and add cold water to cover them by an inch. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook at a steady boil until tender, starting to check after 20 minutes.
While the potatoes cook, heat about 6 tablespoons (3/4 of the stick) of butter in a large skillet. Add the cabbage, optional greens and onions. Cook, turning the vegetables, until they wilt. Set aside but keep warm until the potatoes are done.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the pan over medium high heat until the water evaporates. (You’ll hear a sizzle as that happens.)
Turn off the heat and add 1 cup of the milk to the potatoes. Mash until fairly smooth. Add the contents of the skillet and mix well. The mixture should be the way you like mashed potatoes. Add more milk if it seems too thick.
Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Turn into a warmed serving bowl. Make a small depression in the middle and add the remaining butter and let it melt into a golden puddle as you take the bowl to the table.