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Our creamy Colcannon is rich and delicious, and loaded with flavor!
I’ve read somewhere that there are as many recipes for Colcannon as there are cooks in Ireland, and each family puts their own special touch on this classic, creamy comfort food!
Colcannon is a traditional Irish side dish of mashed potatoes and either kale or cabbage. It’s most commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day dinners – but this Colcannon is so good, it really deserves a place as a side dish to any meal!
One bite of this creamy, cheesy Colcannon – and you’ll agree that this side dish is going to steal the show at your next meal! You can serve this alongside a classic New England Boiled Dinner of corned beef and cabbage – but it’s equally as delicious served alongside a roast chicken or meatloaf.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Potatoes – We used a mix of both Russet and yellow potatoes because each variety lends a different flavor and texture to the finished dish.
- Cabbage – Just about any cabbage will work in this dish, but we chose Savoy cabbage because it has a mild flavor when it’s cooked as well as a very tender texture.
- Kale – Our favorite is Tuscan kale – also known as Lacinato or dinosaur kale – which has darker, more tender leaves and a delicious flavor. A curly kale variety will also work but the cooking time may be longer.
- Bacon or Salt Pork – This adds wonderful flavor to the Colcannon – don’t skip it!
- Dairy – Every mashed potato recipe needs creamy dairy in the mix. Ours includes whole milk, heavy cream, butter, and a wonderful Irish cheddar cheese. Kerrygold Skellig cheddar cheese is amazing, but if you can’t find it, choose any quality cow’s milk cheddar for this dish.
Why You’ll Love Colcannon
- It’s creamy and delicious – the ultimate comfort food!
- Although traditionally served as a side dish, it’s so filling, you might be tempted to eat it for your meal with a salad on the side.
- You can easy adapt this recipe with different varieties of cabbage, kale, potatoes and cheese – whatever you have on hand.
How do I make Colcannon?
- Boil the potatoes until fork-tender.
- Saute the bacon or salt pork, then add butter, and each of the vegetables. Cook until tender.
- Drain and mash the potatoes.
- Add the dairy, seasonings, and cooked vegetables – stirring to combine.
- Stir in shredded cheese, then serve immediately with butter on top.
You may enjoy these other potato recipes:
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Boursin Cheese
- Crispy Creamy Potato Pancakes
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Lemon Rosemary Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Potatoes O’Brien
- Maine Potato Stuffing
1 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes
1 1/2 pounds yellow potatoes
4 slices uncured bacon, diced small, or 4 ounces meaty salt pork (salt rinsed off), diced small
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup leeks diced, white only cleaned of all sand
1 cup sweet onion diced, such as Vidalia
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups Tuscan kale, pulled from ribs, chopped and rinsed
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt (If you use salted butter, cut down on the kosher salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
7-ounce package Kerrygold Skellig cheddar, shredded, or other top-quality sweet cow’s milk cheddar cheese
Place whole skin-on potatoes in large pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling add a little kosher salt to the water. Cook 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
While potatoes are cooking, in a large skillet, place diced bacon or salt pork and cook over medium heat until almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and cook for 4 more minutes.
Add leeks and onions and cook for four minutes then add garlic and cook for one more minute.
Add cabbage and kale and cook just until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
Once the potatoes are done, pour into a strainer to remove the water, then place the potatoes on your cutting board and peel. Return yellow potatoes to the pot and mash. Dice the russets into small pieces and add to the mashed yellow potatoes. (Two different potato textures is a nice surprise)
Add milk, cream, salt, pepper, mace, nutmeg and the ingredients from the skillet and stir to combine.
Stir in the shredded cheese and pour into a serving dish or bowl and dot with the remaining two tablespoons of butter and serve.
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Savoy cabbage is similar to regular cabbage only less dense with slightly curly leaves. If you cannot find Savoy cabbage, Napa cabbage is a good substitute.
Kerrygold Skellig is a very tasty imported Irish cheddar made from cow’s milk. If you substitute, select a similar good quality cheddar.