Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day…or any day!
Maybe it’s because my dad grew up on a potato farm in Prince Edward Island, or maybe it’s because potatoes are just so delicious, versatile and filling, but I absolutely adore these tasty tubers. While I also love other starchy things like pasta and rice, potatoes are definitely one of my very favourite comfort foods. I decided that in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, this year I’d try to refresh a recipe given to me by an Irish friend years ago. Colcannon is a popular Irish dish made from potatoes and greens – typically cabbage or kale – and there are myriad ways to prepare it. For my version, I chose red skinned potatoes, unpeeled, for extra fibre and nutrition, plus I and included parsley to add more vibrant green colour to the finished product. I also decided to prepare the Colcannon in individual serving dishes to ensure fair distribution and enjoyment of the melted butter. Lastly, I had a hunch that a quick trip under the broiler just before serving to crisp up the top would be a good idea; it also means the dish is nice and hot when you go to serve it. You’ll note some make-ahead instructions below. As for what to serve this with? We eat it on its own but it would be equally terrific with corned beef (check out my fantastic Instant Pot version), sausages, ham, roast chicken or fish.
- 2 pounds (900 grams) red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt, divided
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) butter, divided
- 4 cups (1 L) shredded napa or savoy cabbage (about 1 small head)
- 4 green onions, separated into white and green parts and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chicken broth or white wine
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Place the potatoes and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium pot and just barely cover with cold water. Place lid on pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes feel tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 10 minutes.
- While potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a broad, large saucepan placed over medium heat. Add the finely chopped white parts of the green onions to the pan along with the shredded cabbage. Sprinkle with remaining salt and the pepper and cook, stirring often, until cabbage has wilted and thicker pieces are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken stock or wine to cabbage and increase heat. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes until liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove from heat.
- Drain the cooked potatoes and return them to their pot. Place over low heat, shaking pot, for 1 – 2 minutes until potatoes have dried out and look a bit floury. Remove from heat and mash coarsely with a potato masher. Add milk and mash to combine.
- Preheat oven broiler to high.
- Add the cooked cabbage to the mashed potatoes along with the parsley and all but 2 tablespoons of the minced green onion tops; fold to combine.
- Transfer the potato and cabbage mixture to four two-cup (500 mL) ovenproof baking dishes (or one larger 2 quart dish). Smooth the tops then make a well or indentation in the centre.
- Note that the dish can be made ahead to this point and covered with foil then refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Heat, still covered, in a 350F oven for 30 minutes prior to removing foil and broiling as described in the next step.
- Broil for 4 – 5 minutes until the top is bubbly and getting a bit crispy. Remove from oven.
- Divide remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter into four equal pieces and place one in the centre of each hot dish. Sprinkle with reserved sliced green onion tops and serve immediately.