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An Irish Classic for St. Patrick's Day: Irish Colcannon

An Irish Classic for St. Patrick's Day: Irish Colcannon
An Irish Classic for St. Patrick's Day: Irish Colcannon
Chef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

If you're like most American's, you will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day in a very un-Irish way by making corned beef and cabbage. No, they do not celebrate with this boring dish in Ireland! Since you probably will have a platter of boiled beef brisket (corned beef) you might as well have something authentic to go with it and you can't find a better dish than colcannon.

The original Irish version features cabbage. When the dish began to be made in England and served at elegant dinner parties, it was thought cabbage was to peasant, so kale was used. Also, since you'll be having boiled cabbage, you don't want to overdose on cabbage, so use kale. It is a very simple dish to prepare as for the most part, it is simply mashed potatoes combined with sauteed leeks and kale!

You can use any type of potato to make Colcannon, however we prefer to use red (new) potatoes as the texture will go perfectly with the sauteed kale and leeks. To be authentic, you do not want to peel the potatoes (make sure you do scrub them).

Ingredients needed to make Colcannon (serves 4 as a side-dish):

  • 1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
  • 1 bunch (about 10) kale leaves
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the potatoes into a pot of boiling water and cook until they are fork-tender (just as if you were making mashed potatoes)
  2. Remove the leaves from the stems of the kale. If you want, you can chop the leaves. Discard the stems.
  3. Clean the leek under cold running water. Remove any tough dark green portions before chopping the leek.
  4. In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the kale and the leek and saute 5 minutes (or until the kale and leek are tender).
  5. Place the cooked potatoes into a large bowl and mash them (with skins on). DO NOT use a food processor to do this or you will end up with a disgusting glop!
  6. Into the mashed potatoes, stir in the kale, leek and the butter they were sauteed within.
  7. Stir in the cream until well combined.
  8. Spoon onto a serving plate and serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook" is now available worldwide and features 80 dishes from the era of the most acclaimed television show in the history of PBS, Downton Abbey.

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