Last Friday, some friends and I were all complaining that we had each missed out on the usual St. Patrick Day fare and festivities. So, I invited everyone over on Sunday and offered to make a pot of Colcannon. I fixed a slight variation on the recipe below. I made the Colcannon a day before and then prepared it in a “bubble-and-squeak” method. This just means that I made small patties of Colcannon, floured both sides, and browned it in a frying pan with a little olive oil. I served it with a Guinness gravy, rosemary Irish Soda Bread, arugula and citrus salad, and homemade applesauce.
Colcannon has to be the ultimate comfort food. It is simply cabbage, mashed potatoes, and ham. I first heard about it on an episode of Tyler’s Ultimate in which he showed it being made three different ways. I have played around with the recipe a couple of times, and this is the one I have ended up with. I’m using bacon, but you can also substitute with a center-cut slice of ham. The main variations of my recipe is I’ve cut back on butter by using Greek yogurt and I’ve also substituted buttermilk for milk to help give a little more tang.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
3 pounds of red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sprig of rosemary, as well as ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tbls. of butter (or olive oil)
1- 6 oz. container of plain Greek yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
Salt and pepper to taste
Bacon and Cabbage:
½ lb. bacon (but could also use a slice of center-cut ham)
½ small head of cabbage, cored and chopped
¼ cup of Guinness or dark stout
½ cup of water
A pinch of salt and pepper
Cooking the Cabbage:
1. Over medium heat in a large, shallow pan, cook the bacon. When the bacon is crisp, drain it on a paper towel and set it aside. With some tongs and paper towels, sop up the bacon grease, reserving a little (about 2 tbls.) to cook the cabbage.
2. In the same pan over a medium heat, add the cabbage and toss it in the bacon grease.
3. Once all the cabbage is coated, add the Guinness and the ½ cup of water. Add salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.
4. Cover the cabbage with a lid and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the cabbage is done, it will have reduced in size and be tender. For the recipe, I like it a little firm still to give the Colcannon a better texture.
5. While the cabbage cooks, start the potatoes.
Cooking the Potatoes:
1. In a large pot, place the potato pieces, rosemary sprig, bay leaf, and salt and add cold water. The water should cover the potatoes completely.
2. Over medium-high heat, bring the water to boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat slightly and partially cover the pot by leaving the lid slightly ajar. After the water comes to a boil, you’ll cook the potatoes for 5 minutes, or until a fork can be inserted and removed easily.
3. When the potatoes are done, drain the water off. Return to potatoes to the original pot or to a bowl and add butter, yogurt, buttermilk, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash the potatoes using a potatoes masher or a hand blender.
Mixing the Colcannon
1. Take the bacon and crumble it up with your hands. Add it to the potatoes.
2. At this point, the cabbage should be done and you can ladle it into the potatoes. The liquid from the cabbage will help smooth the potatoes. If potatoes are too thick or have dried, add a little more buttermilk.
3. Stir to incorporate and taste to adjust seasonings.