Sunday, March 4, 2007


"Well did you ever make colcannon, made with lovely thickened cream
With the greens & scallions mingled like a picture in a dream
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy flavoured butter that your mother used to make

Oh you did, so you did, so did he and so did I
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry
Oh weren't they the happy days when troubles we knew not
And our mother made colcannon in the little skillet pot

"Colcannon" (trad.) sung by the Black Brothers

"…I wish we could oftener see among our people here what they are so fond of in Ireland, that is, cabbage and potatoes boiled together, with a little bacon or pork fat, or suet or dripping, with salt and pepper. You nearly all know how good colcannon is; and why you do not eat it here, I cannot think."
-- Emily Bowles, St Martha's home; or, Work for women, p. 65

Basic Colcannon Recipe

3 lbs potatoes (floury, older potatoes works best)
1 lb cabbage or kale, very coarsely chopped (remove ribs from kale)
1/2 cup milk or cream
as much butter as you dare
3 green onions (scallions), sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Quarter the potatoes (do not peel) and cook in salted water until just tender. Drain and let the steam come off until they are rather dry.

Cook cabbage or kale in water until tender. Do not overcook. Drain and toss in a little butter.

Add milk or cream to the potatoes and mash by hand. (Lumps are good!) Add the cabbage and green onions, mix and add salt and pepper to taste.

Dish into bowls and serve with plenty of butter on top.

This very simple recipe can be altered as desired; try the following variants:

-Brown diced bacon and
sauté the cabbage or kale in it before adding to the potatoes
sautéed yellow onions or shallots instead of green onions
-top with grated cheese or even a fried egg.

1 comment:

Ellie Finlay said...

This sounds utterly delicious! Especially topped with a fried egg!