Gluten Free

Colcannon

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You know how when you know you can’t do something, that is the very thing you REALLY get a hankering to do? Well, that’s me these days. I want to travel. I know we can’t travel, but that makes no difference to my inner suitcase. Because I can’t travel I comfort myself with trying to replicate different foods we had while travelling. It’s small comfort and does not fool my inner suitcase but it’s better than nothing.

One of the recent replications was Colcannon. When we were in Ireland a few years ago, I fell in love with Colcannon. In a nutshell, Colcannon is potatoes and cabbage mashed together with lashings of butter. Many Irish dishes include cabbage and potatoes and this one is no exception. The basic version is cabbage slowly braised in butter while the potatoes are cooking, then mashed in with them when they’re done. I searched for a recipe and found several that were more deluxe versions. Since we were serving it for a Sunday dinner, I decided to up the ante a notch. We served it with sausage simmered in a barbecue sauce, corn and a delicious salad. That made me happy because now we had bangers and mash, a true-blue Irish combo. I even went and set up the photo in front of my Londonderry heart ornament on my tree. It was delicious; so delicious that my daughter who is not really fond of mashed potatoes went for a second helping. You will agree with me that there is no greater endorsement than second helpings. In fact, it is good enough to fit in with a Christmas feast. I promise.

Tip: Save a bit of the braised kale and bacon pieces to sprinkle over the top for garnish at serving time.

Bangers and mash and Londonderry hearts.

Colcannon

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds (about 8 medium) red or yellow potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup cream or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • approximately 6 cups of coarsely shredded or chopped cabbage
  • 2 leaves of kale (optional, but it adds colour, nutrition, iron and fibre)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons butter for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cook peeled and quartered potatoes in boiling salted water 12 – 15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, fry diced bacon until half cooked, then add the chopped onion and cabbage to the pan. Continue cooking on medium until the cabbage is very tender and starting to caramelize, but isn’t too brown. Turn the heat down if needed. As it cooks, it takes on the flavour of the bacon; this adds to the deliciousness of the whole dish. Slice the kale off the stem with a large knife, chop it and add it to the pan to soften just before mashing the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Once potatoes are soft, drain off the water, and add cream and butter to mash. I just used my masher, but you could use a mixer. Remove a half dozen pieces of bacon and kale for garnish before folding the mashed potatoes into the pan of cabbage. Serve in your favourite bowl and sprinkle with the saved kale and bacon. Tuck a few pats of butter in the centre.