Recipes

Dish of the Week: Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we're celebrating St. Patrick's Day with an Irish classic, colcannon.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage. The word colcannon is from the Gaelic word cál ceannann, meaning "white-headed cabbage." While the combination of potatoes with things like cabbage and leeks is also embraced in a variety of other cultures -- including Scottish, German, English and Russian, to name a few -- the dish is widely considered to be Irish in origin.

With abundant and cheap ingredients, the potato and cabbage dish made a hearty, filling meal for the working and poorer classes. Though there are many variations on it, colcannon is often mixed with milk or cream, butter, and leeks, onions or chives and served with boiled ham or Irish bacon.

In Ireland, the dish is typically associated with Halloween -- an evening also known as "Colcannon night," where rings are hidden inside colcannon to be found by single women. Find the ring and a marriage proposal could be waiting around the corner. When Irish immigrants brought the dish to America, it eventually became associated with St. Patrick's Day.

This simple recipe, adapted from Saveur, uses a mix of and milk and heavy cream to make a rich and decadent side. We've added bacon to make it even more rich and decadent.

Colcannon

Ingredients serves 6-8 2½ lb russet potatoes, peeled 8 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for serving 1/4 medium head green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded 6 strips thick-cut bacon. chopped 1 cup milk 1/3 cup heavy cream 4 scallions, green parts only, finely chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Place potatoes in a 6-qt. saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, quarter, and set aside.

Return pan to medium-high heat and bacon, cooking until just crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain off excess bacon grease and return pan to heat. Add butter and, when melted, add cabbage, and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add milk, cream, and scallions, and bring to a boil; add potatoes, and using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until smooth and evenly incorporated. Add in bacon and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer to a bowl. Serve hot with large pats of butter on top.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano