comments 16

Colcannon and Irish Bacon


I’m not really the kind of person to post Irish dishes simply because it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. In all honesty, this meal came about from searching for something to accompany the nice Irish bacon that I get from my CSA.

While idea hunting, I came across colcannon, and somewhere in the dusty outer reaches of my memory came the image of mashed potatoes and winter greens mushed together. Not quite sure where I had it first; it might have been at some random inn or, more likely, some Irish pub in Boston. In any case, it didn’t make that much of an impression on me at the time. Furthermore, I would have never considered making it if I hadn’t read this from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews:

“To serve [colcannon] in the traditional Irish manner, push the back of a large soup spoon down in the middle of each portion to make a crater, then put a large pat of room-temperature butter into each one to make a ‘lake.’ Diners dip each forkful of colcannon into the butter until its walls are breached.”

Holy. Crap.

If I had known that you were supposed to eat colcannon that way . . . well, let’s just say that it would have been dangerous. Dangerously delicious, I mean!

In his recipe, Andrews asks you to heat the milk together with chopped green onions, and then beat the hot infused milk into the mashed potatoes. I actually spaced out and tipped all my cold milk into the potatoes before I remembered that step. Regardless, it still tasted wonderful.

So if you think that a dipping “lake” of melted butter for your mashed potatoes and greens (which might as well be ornamental at this point) sounds as awesome as it does to me, than colcannon is definitely for you!

And once those “walls are breached,” Irish bacon tastes pretty darn good in the ensuing butter flood. Don’t forget the mustard!

Ingredients:

2 large Russet (or floury) potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into large dice

1 cup of whole milk

6-8 tablespoons of butter at room temperature

1 bunch of Lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (you could also use curly leaf kale, savoy cabbage, or any other kind of leafy winter green)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

About a pound of Irish bacon

Coarse Dijon mustard

How to prepare:

1. Place the diced potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until they can be easily crushed against the side of the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. Drain the potatoes well. Add two tablespoons of butter and the cup of milk to the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until all the potato pieces are crushed. If the mash doesn’t seem sufficiently nice and fluffy, add some more milk, a little bit at a time, until it has the right consistency. Cover the pot while you prepare the rest.

2. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cut kale and a little bit of water (about a tablespoon). Season the kale with salt and pepper. Sauté the kale until it begins to wilt. Tip the kale into the potatoes and stir everything together to combine. Adjust the seasoning.

3. Brown the Irish bacon slices on both sides in a large cast-iron skillet. Transfer the browned slices to paper towels to drain.

4. Mound a good amount of warm colcannon on each plate. Using the back of a spoon, make wells in the middle of each mound and put a hefty knob of butter in each one.

Serve your colcannon with a few slices of Irish bacon and grainy mustard on the side.

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16 Comments

  1. Why can’t I stop looking at that darn bacon. I am in love.. WOW. Okay this is the perfect bacon for my breakfast lol. I LOVE the kale and potatoes as well.. delish!

  2. Now that my dear, is a true Irish St. Patrick’s Day meal. You know, we really are on the same wavelength with a colcannon recipe.

  3. The picture is mesmerizing. I kind of feel naughty looking at it.

    A “lake” of butter to dip my super delicious bacon into? Wow! Should I take my heart attack pills and call 911 before or after dinner?

    Hubby would love, love, love this dish. It’s like a dream come true.

  4. Now I’ve stopped laughing at rubyandwheaky’s bacon trance…

    Mega YUM! Love the idea of the greens mixed with the spuds. Might try this with some of our homemade organic beef sausages added in for good measure. Heaven on a plate.

    Luck of the Irish to you ♥

    • Sausages sound like an amazing thing to have with colcannon! I have always wanted to make homemade sausage. Good to hear you did. It’s inspiring!

      Luck of the Irish to you too!

  5. Oh, wow. I want that butter, I mean colcannon. You are the ideal CSA customer–I love how you work to show off each ingredient to its best advantage!

    • Haha! It is very buttery!

      As for the CSA, I am really happy to be a part of it. It’s been great to learn more about what I eat and where it comes from. Showing off the farm’s products is super easy too because everything is so great. Can’t wait for spring fruit and veg to come out though!

  6. I’ve been wondering what colcannon is and then I realized that we just give it a different name here in Holland. We call it “stampot” and it is pretty much a staple especially in autumn and winter. We normally boil the potatoes together with the kale. Then when cooked, add milk, butter , pepper, and bacon bits and then mashed it. We serve it with some meat like sausage or meat balls.

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