An age-old Irish peasant dish assembled from leftovers, colcannon potatoes are traditionally served on St. Patrick's Day and Halloween but are also enjoyed throughout the year. The name colcannon comes from the Gaelic word for white-headed cabbage, an essential ingredient in the tasty mash along with potatoes, cream, butter, and sautéed leeks or onions. Home cooks customarily bury charms or coins, foretelling good luck or wealth, in the dish, perhaps in an effort to get children to eat their vegetables. Our colcannon makes a wonderful accompaniment to Stout-Braised Short Ribs.
- 2 1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 large leek, white and light green portions,
halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch curly kale, about 3/4 lb., stemmed and
- 1 small head napa cabbage, about 1 lb., cored
and coarsely chopped
- 1/8 tsp. mace or freshly grated nutmeg
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.
Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches. Fold in the milk mixture in two additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.
Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
Pour off all but 3 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the shallots and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and toss just until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the mace and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm. Serves 8.