Friday, March 16, 2012

Colcannon (Irish Potatoes)

Colcannon is an Irish dish of boiled, mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage or kale and flavored with leeks, shallots or onions, cream or milk and butter. 

Not only is it delicious but it's a great way to get extra veggies in your diet.  If you're like me and still like to play with your food, you can shape it into four leaf clovers with the back of a teaspoon!

It is wonderful served family style as well,

 or topped with boneless, lightly breaded and fried pork chops.  We had this for dinner a little over a week ago and everyone loved it, except for Ashton.   I'm sure it would be perfect with corned beef!

Colcannon is a word derived from the Gaelic cal ceannann' which literally means white headed cabbage.  Colcannon's earliest reference dates to 1735 when a William Bulkely of Bryndda made two trips to Dublin at that time.  The potato and cabbage dish was introduced to England in the 18th century and became a favorite among the upper classes.

Irish tradition associates Colcannon with Halloween festivities where it was used as a purpose of marriage divination.  A charm would be hidden in a bowl of colcannon as portents of marriage proposal should an unmarried girl be lucky enough to find it.  Others would fill their socks with a spoonful of colcannon and hang it from the door handle, believing that the first man through the door would become their future husband.  Hmmm...don't know about that one.   I'd hate to wear those socks...or wash them!


1 1/2 lbs chopped cabbage or about 2 10 oz bags
8 medium potatoes  (about 2 lbs)
3 leeks
1 1/3 cup milk
1 cup butter divided
1 pinch ground mace 
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chives or green onions for garnish

Boil cabbage until tender, drain and set aside, covered to keep warm.
Chop leeks from the whites up to the dark green leaves (don't use those) and put in a skillet.  Pour milk over and simmer, covered, until tender.  Stir occasionally to keep milk from scalding.
Peel and boil potatoes until tender.  Drain and mash with 1/2 cup butter, a pinch of mace and salt and pepper (I salt and pepper liberally with this dish).  Stir in cabbage, leek and milk mixture.   Traditionally this is served by making well in individual servings,  filling the well with a little melted butter.  Sprinkle with chives or green onions.

Colcannon can also be made with a little ham or bacon chopped up and added to the mixture.  Topped with cheese, and then baked, it is extra yummy!

(legend is that a four-leaved Shamrock is of such rarity that it will endue the finder with magic power)
by Dublin poet, musician, artist
~Samuel Lover~

I'll seek a four-leaved shamrock in all the fairy dells,
And if I find the charmed laves, oh, how I'll weave my spells!
I would not waste my magic might on diamond, pearl, or gold,
For treasure tires the weary sense, such triumph is but cold;
But I would play the enchanter's part, in casting bliss around - 
Oh! not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

To worth I would give honor!  I'd dry the mourner's tears,
And to the pallid lip recall the smile of happier years,
And hearts that had been long estranged, and friends that had grown cold,
Should meet again - like parted streams - and mingle as of old;
Oh! thus I'd play the enchanter's part, thus scatter bliss around,
And not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

The heart that had been mourning o'er vanish'd dreams of love,
Should see them all returning - like Noah's faithful dove,
And Hope should launch her bless'd bark on Sorrow's darkening sea,
And Misery's children have an ark, and saved from sinking be;
Oh! thus I'd play the enchanter's part, thus scatter bliss around,
And not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special 
Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday
Friday Inspiration At The Picket Fence 


  1. Oh my gosh this looks delicious...i will for sure give it a try. Love all the great pictures as well...thanks for sharing...

  2. Looks delicious, Nancy...colcannon is my favorite way to eat potatoes...they are definitely on the menu tomorrow!

  3. Happy St. Pat's Day, Nancy. This looks delicious. Wish I were having dinner with you! ~ Sarah

  4. I think I'd have to forget about those
    socks! :-)

    The food looks delish ~ I know I'd love those potatoes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Nancy, I love this post and your story of the colcannon. It sounds so yummy and definitely will be trying this one. I love potatoes and leeks also anything Irish. Guess its my way of connecting with may paternal great-grandmother who was half Irish. : ) I really love the idea also of adding cheese. Have you ever made it using the red potatoes? I buy those alot and was wondering if it might change the taste. Can you imagine if they forget to take the sock down from over the door? LOL!!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Your Colcannon looks delicious and I hope you have a Happy St.Patrick's Day.

  7. I love colcannon and try to make it every St. Patrick's Day. Thanks for sharing your version and it's history!

  8. I love this dish!!! My friend used to make this and I thought it was a German dish, they must have a version of this too!!! Gonna make this for sure, thanks.....cleo

  9. Nancy this looks delicious and I've always wanted to make this. This Sunday when I'm home from our roadtrip I'll make it. Both my husband and I love all the ingredients in it. Thanks for sharing this and the history and other wonderful little tidbits and trivia. So very interesting. I've enjoyed this St. Patricks Day or rather getting ready for it more than I have in years. And its all because of the neat bloggers and their posts. Really fun!

    HAPPY St. Patricks Day


  10. Thank you, I shall definitely be making this. I looks pretty too!

  11. Looks delish, I LOVE colcannon (well of course I do, being Irish, lol!)
    I'm off to the parade now, to post my annual set of "behind the parade" pics, see you tomorrow or later today!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  12. I have never had this but it looks like something that I would enjoy; carbs and I have a great friendship. My dad had an Irish grandmother who made wonderful potato pancakes but never gave out the recipe and it went with her to her grave. How sad. He loves potatoes and I have a feeling that he will really enjoy this dish. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. I saw this on Foodie Friday. I have never tried it, but it looks delicious! I am a new follower. Patsy

  14. Yummy!!! Hugs and wishes for a beautiful day. P.S. I hope you will stop by and say hello and enter the latest giveaway too.

  15. Thank you so much for the recipe, Nancy! It sounds and looks delicious and reminds me a little of 'Bubble & Squeak' which I make now and then when I have leftover cabbage and potatoes. I hope you had a delightful St. Patrick's Day!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing, I'm going to plant some Leeks this year in the garden now I know another recipe to put them in..The recipe sounds lovely and a great change...enjoy the day...with love Janice


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