Creamy and comforting recipe for the famous Irish potato and cabbage dish or Colcannon.
IRISH CABBAGE AND POTATOES
What can be more comforting than a hot creamy bowl of mashed potatoes and cabbage, onions and lots of butter and cream? For a potato and cabbage lover like myself hardly anything, I suppose.
I made this Irish colcannon for the first time years and years ago, it was probably one of the first dishes I have ever cooked.
Why? Not only because both my husband and I love any potato and cabbage dish, but also because this colcannon was cheap and during those times when we were both studying and were only working enough hours to help us survive, these were the kind of dishes we were eating most of the times.
Potatoes and cabbage dishes, stewed beans, stewed cabbage, hearty vegetable soups, homemade bread and lots of Gouda cheese (which is very cheap in Germany). Filling and healthy food that costs almost nothing 🙂 Hardly any meat and when I was buying any, it was mostly chicken legs or ground pork.
History of the Irish colcannon
The word colcannon comes from the Irish cal ceannann, which means white-headed cabbage.
The history of the Irish colcannon starts with the potatoes, which arrived to Ireland sometimes during the 16th century. How that happened is pretty much unclear, but the fact remains that by the beginning of the 18th century the potatoes have become one of the most important foods in the Irish diet.
Colcannon – the iconic Irish potato and cabbage dish – was first mentioned in a traveler’s diary.
William Bulkely from Wales had colcannon during the Halloween night he spent in Dublin in 1735: “Dined at Cos. Wm. Parry, and also supped there upon a shoulder of mutton roasted and what they call there Coel Callen, which is cabbage boiled, potatoes and parsnips, all this mixed together. They eat well enough, and is a Dish always had in this Kingdom on this night.” (smithsonianmag.com)
Colcannon is indeed a traditional Halloween (Oíche Shamhna) dish and in the past charms used to be mixed in this cabbage and potato dish.
For instance, if you found a ring in your colcannon it would mean you would get married, while a thimble meant you would remain a spinster in the coming year. A coin would mean money coming your way, while a rag meant poverty. A stick would mean that you will get beaten by your spouse soon… :-
How to make the mashed potatoes and cabbage?
- Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Boil them in salted water until soft, more or less 20 minutes. Drain well and while they are still hot, mash them together with the cream and two tablespoons of the butter. Add salt and pepper generously.
- While the potatoes are cooking, shred the cabbage finely and chop the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan and cook the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the cabbage is tender and slightly golden.
- Slice the green onions finely, keep one aside for garnishing. Finely chop the chives as well. Grate the white cheddar cheese.
- Mix the mashed potatoes and the cabbage together. Fold in 2 of the sliced green onions. Adjust the taste with more salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Place the colcannon in a serving bowl, cut the last tablespoon butter into small cubes and let the butter melt on the surface of the hot mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions and chives and serve immediately.
How to serve colcannon?
I suppose that most people serve colcannon as a side dish. However, most of the time, we have it as it is and being the Romanian that I am, I place some pickled green tomatoes or zucchini on the table. I need nothing more!
Or maybe though: a fried egg on top is divine!
If you want to serve the potatoes with cabbage as a side dish, you can have it with any kind of beef stew, a nice Guinness Irish with beef stew, for instance, beef Bourguignon or any other beef, lamb or pork stew you like.
You can also have colcannon with sausages (bangers), boiled ham or gammon.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Irish Potato and Cabbage Dish – Colcannon Recipe
- 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs potatoes
- 250 g/ 12.3 oz/ about 2 ½ cups finely sliced white cabbage
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 medium onion
- 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup single or heavy cream
- 3 spring onions divided
- 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ ½ cup shredded white cheddar optional (See note)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- small bunch of chives
- Peel and cube the potatoes. Cook them for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well.
- In the meantime finely slice the cabbage and finely chop the onion. Heat one tablespoon butter in a large pan and cook the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir well and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender and slightly golden. Stir often while the cabbage cooks.
- Mash the potatoes adding cream and 2 tablespoons butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the cabbage, 2 thinly sliced spring onions, and the shredded cheddar. Place the colcannon in a serving bowl.
- Add the remaining tablespoon butter, in smaller knobs, on top of the cabbage and let melt.
- Sprinkle with the remaining finely chopped spring onion and the chives and serve immediately.