Colcannon is a simple side dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage that's just as good made with leftovers as it is made fresh. Comforting, easy and great alongside so many dishes.
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With St Patrick's Day fast approaching, it seems only right to add another Irish recipe to the list (make sure you don't forget to have some Irish fish chowder too). This is such a classic side that I can imagine many people serving with corned beef soon, but really it's good for much more than just that.
Colcannon is said to have originally been developed as a way to use up leftovers, as is the way with many traditional frugal dishes. However this is also really quick and easy to make from scratch. For me, this is how I typically make it so that's how I've described below.
What is colcannon made of?
Colcannon is essentially a combination of creamy mashed potatoes with some kind of shredded green vegetable. There are a number of ways to vary this, however. Some make it with kale, others cabbage (and this can be regular green or savoy). Then you can add a few other things to give a bit more depth of flavor like leek, onion or a little garlic.
Here I have made it with savoy cabbage and a little leek, but it's really easy to adapt to taste or based on what you have.
Is it Irish or Scottish?
The name colcannon is Irish, but it is very similar to a Scottish dish called Rumbledethumps and the English Bubble and Squeak.
All combine potato and cabbage (or other greens), both common crops in the region. They can also all be made with leftovers, making sure no food goes to waste.
What do you eat colcannon with?
You might think I'm going to say corned beef, and certainly that would work. I just have to admit I'm not that big a fan. Plus in reality, that's more of an American way of celebrating St Patrick's Day rather than what most people in Ireland would eat.
This works well with any dish you might have mash with to soak up a sauce or for comfort factor, so think things like a beef and stout stew or Irish stew, or try it alongside sausages or baked ham.
Colcannon is an easy Irish side dish, that works well with so many mains. So make your mash that bit more interesting and give it a try.
Try these other potato dishes:
- Dauphinoise potatoes
- Speck, potato and cheese souffle
- Parsnip and potato farl (potato scones)
- Plus get more Irish and British recipes in the archives.
Colcannon - Irish potatoes and cabbage
- 12 oz potatoes 340g
- 4 oz cabbage 115g
- ½ leek
- 2 tbsp butter 25g, or more as needed
- ¼ cup milk 60ml, or more as needed
- Peel and dice the potatoes then set to boil in a pot of boiling water, lightly salted. Simmer until tender to a knifepoint then drain.
- Meanwhile, shred the cabbage and slice the leek in half rings. Warm half of the butter in a small skillet over a medium heat then add the leek. Cook a minute then add the cabbage and cook, stirring, until it wilts.
- Add the remaining butter, milk and some salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash. Add some more milk and butter as needed if your potatoes are still a bit dry or if you want them creamier.
- Mix the mashed potatoes in with the cabbage, mix through and serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try these other Irish recipes (and Irish-inspired):
- Beef and Smoked Sausage Cabbage Rolls from Food Lust People Love
- Dublin Coddle - Irish Bacon, Sausage, and Potato Stew from Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Irish Coffee from Tara's Multicultural Table
- Mushy Peas from Pandemonium Noshery
- Traditional Shepherd's Pie from Cookaholic Wife