I came across this traditional Irish dish, Colcannon, meaning “white-headed cabbage” in Irish.
The dish is made from mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale, and is simple like many other Irish
dishes. It's often eaten with boiled ham or Irish bacon, but I decided to eat it with some of
my lamb stew. Colcannon is traditionally eaten by making a “hole on top” to hold
a “knub of butter.” I made a hole on top but filled it with the broth of lamb stew instead and topped
with parsley. Simple and tasty.
I also thought I would share a snippet of the history of Colcannon. The traditional Irish
song “The Skillet Pot” talks about memories of eating Colcannon:
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?
Watch it performed by The Black Family
- 6 cups finely chopped green cabbage (about ¾ of a head)
- 3 leeks, green parts, thinly sliced
- 4 large Russet potatoes (~4 lbs)
- 1 cup low fat milk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoons salt (for salting the water)
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 2 Tablespoons margarine
- ¼ cup chopped parsley for garnish
- Wash and slice potatoes into 1 inch pieces or larger. I peeled two and left the skin
on two for some texture. Place in a large pot with cold water to cover potatoes by 1-inch.
Place 2 teaspoons salt in water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
Skim off foam from the water to eliminate some of the impurities that boil to the top.
- When potatoes are cooked, drain and set aside in large bowl and cover with plastic
film. Meanwhile, set up a steamer basket in the same pot and bring ½ inch water to a boil.
Then, place sliced cabbage in and cover with loosely fitted lid. Steam for about 5 minutes,
or until tender. Taste to check. Better to undercook than overcook and create off-odors. When
ready, immediately place in a separate bowl to the side. Rinse out large pot.
- In a small pot place the milk, water, and thinly sliced leeks. On medium heat,
bring to a gentle simmer, then take off the heat.
- Place all the potatoes in the large pot and mash or run through ricer. When all
clumps are broken up, add the leeks and milk and stir and whip up well. Then, add the cabbage,
butter, and pepper. Again, stir and whip up well. Keep warm. Serve with beef, lamb, or vegetable
broth and garnish with parsley.
For photographs and detailed instructions, please visit