I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Friday, March 16, 2012

Get yer Irish on

Though I tried to get a potluck going on at work this week to celebrate St. Patty's Day, somehow it fell through the cracks. We ended up with donuts, green cookies, and my contribution of Colcannon. Kind of an unusual potluck, agreed, but hopefully we will all be on the same page next year and people will actually be NOTIFIED that we are having a potluck.

Growing up, I only remember having corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. Must be because that's what Dad's mother made when he was growing up (my Mom swore Dad would not eat anything his mother didn't make). So somehow I got a wild hair this year, and decided to make an Irish dish for St. Patty's, choosing Colcannon because A.) I love potatoes, and B.) I love potatoes. But I don't mind me some greens either. I've made mashed potato casserole thingies on many occasions that involved spinach and onions, and have loved them every time, but OMG - potatoes, leeks, and kale win hands down over any other combination I've ever tried before.

This is yet another score that will become a permanent part of the recipe files, so why didn't I ever eat or make this before? Colcannon has only been around for at least three hundred years, and like many other simple, frugal country dishes, is brain-dead simple to make, and impossibly delicious. I'll be feelin' me Irish more frequently in the future, I can tell already.


3 lbs. (about 6 medium-large) russet potatoes , peeled and chopped in about 2" chunks

8 oz. chopped kale (or other greens of choice), trimmed of tough stems

1 large leek, halved lengthwise, washed of debris, sliced in ½ " pieces (about 1½ - 2 cups)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 cup milk (I use unsweetened soy milk)
¼ cup Earth Balance margarine or similar fat
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
½ tsp. pepper, or to taste
¼ tsp. ground mace or nutmeg (optional)
2 Tbs. minced herbs, such as chives and parsley

Place potatoes in a large pan with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place kale in the bottom of a steamer in an inch or two of water. Place the steamer basket above the kale, add the leeks and garlic, cover, and bring water to a simmer. Steam until the vegetables are tender.

When potatoes are tender, drain and return to the pan on medium-low heat, stirring a bit to remove excess water.

Mash the potatoes, stir in the cooked vegetables, and then add milk through seasonings and herbs. Blend everything gently and heat through before serving.


  1. My family always made corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day too--never colcannon. I think I've made it once a long time ago, but I really should try it again!

  2. ohkeeka, maybe it's one of those regional things. I don't miss corned beef at all since I became vegetarian all those years ago, I couldn't stand the salt, but having seen so many vegan versions the past couple of years, I might give it a try. However, colcannon is a food group now as far as I'm concerned! Although I'm sure it would be great with spring onions too, as I saw many other recipes call for, try it with leeks- it is sublime. I'm making it again this week and will try to get a decent photo of the actual dish to replace the quickie flash shot that's up now.