"Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?"
"Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot."
3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 (1-pound) piece ham or bacon, cooked the day before
4 scallions, finely chopped
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.
Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces.
Add cabbage, scallions, and ham to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.
Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top by swirling a wooden spoon. Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley and / or scallions.
I was just discussing Colcannon with a customer in my shop yesterday... His son was needing a traditional dish...and he was lamenting that he couldnt find corned beef...
After explaining that Corned Beef was an Irish-American meal.. I gave him my Gran's recipe for Colcannon.... I just received a text from the customer...Colcannon was a hit thhis morning!
Good recipe, but in my house colcannon was made only with curly kale, never cabbage.
Mine too Paul Thomas. My Mayo grandmother (formerly a professional Irish cook in New York) taught me it is essential to drain the water out of the boiled potatoes immediately they are cooked, then put the pan back on the stove with the lid off and the gas switched off and leave them to steam off for around 8 mins. This gets most of the moisture out of the potatoes.
Meanwhile, saute a finely chopped shallot in a little oil and butter. When it is soft, add the very finely chopped curly kale and cook it through to similarly steam out excess moisture. The potatoes should be nice and dry when you mash them. Next add a generous amount of butter and some double (heavy) cream, and fork your cooked shallots and kale through the mash. Season with salt, pepper and a generous grating of whole nutmeg.
If you use scallions (spring onions) rather than kale this is not actually colcannon but champ. My gran would always poke an extra lump of butter into everyone's portion so it looked like a butter volcano.
A lovely way to serve colcannon, by the way, is with crisply fried streaky bacon rashers, crisply fried slices of good quality black pudding and quickly sauteed (in the same pan) baby scallops. It's a family favourite of ours.