Traditional Irish Colcannon is a traditional Irish potato dish eaten at Halloween. Its unique and simple recipe has become popular around the world. It usually includes chopped kale, cabbage, or green cabbage mixed with hot floury mashed potatoes. In America, it is often at Irish tables during St. Patrick’s day as part of the Irish American Celebration.
This tasty dish is easy to make and a popular favorite at oíche shamhna (Halloween). This simple recipe is an ideal one to make with the kids. The word colcannon is from the Gaelic cal ceannann,’ which means white-headed cabbage.
In the past, similar to barnbrack, charms were mixed in with the colcannon. Depending on what charm you found, it was seen as an omen for the future. A button meant you would remain a bachelor, and a thimble said you would remain a spinster for the coming year.
A ring meant you would get married, and a coin said you would become wealthy. Others filled their socks with colcannon and hung them from the front door’s handle, believing that the first man through the door would be their future husband.
Ingredients needed for the Colcannon Recipe
Four pounds of potatoes, or about 7-8 large potatoes (russet potatoes are best)
One green cabbage or Kale
One cup Cream
One stick of unsalted butter, divided into three parts
4-5 scallions (green onions), chopped
fresh ground Pepper
Traditional Irish Colcannon
- 4 pounds potatoes or about 7-8 large potatoes (russet potatoes are best)
- 1 green cabbage or Kale
- 1 cup Cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter divided into three parts
- 4-5 scallions green onions, chopped
- Kosher Salt to own taste
- fresh ground Pepper to own taste
- Fresh Parsley to garnish
- Peel and boil the potatoes. Remove the core from the cabbage, slice it thinly, and put it into a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water from the kettle and keep at a slow rolling boil until the cabbage is just wilted and has turned a darker green. This can take anything from 3-5 minutes, depending on the cabbage. Test it and don’t let it overcook if anything, it should be slightly undercooked.
- When the cabbage is cooked, drain it well, squeeze it to get any excess moisture out, then return it to the saucepan. Add one-third of the butter and cover. Leave it covered and in a warm place, but not on a burner, with the butter melting gently into it while you continue.
- When the potatoes are soft, drain and return the saucepan with the drained potatoes in, to a low burner, leaving the lid off so that any excess moisture can evaporate. When they are perfectly dry, add the milk to the saucepan along with a third of the butter and the chopped scallions if you are using them. Allow the milk to warm but not boil – it is about right when the butter has fully melted into it and it starting to steam.
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