There have been a few times during the four seasons of the award-winning British television series called Downton Abbey, where you have seen this dish presented in the majestic dining room. It is a Fall classic and usually served as a side-dish with most roasted entree's (beef, pork or fowl). Colcannon is a dish originated in Ireland but became very popular throughout England during the Edwardian era and quite common within the United States during the infamous Roaring Twenties.
The original Irish version featured 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. 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 a 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).
For more food and party ideas to celebrate Downton Abbey, visit the Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey, which includes recipes from the book, additional recipes and how-to pictures!
Ingredients needed to make Colcannon (serves 4 as a side-dish):
- 1 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
- Place the potatoes into a pot of boiling water and cook until they are fork-tender (just as if you were making mashed potatoes)
- Remove the leaves from the stems of the kale. If you want, you can chop the leaves. Discard the stems.
- Clean the leek under cold running water. Remove any tough dark green portions before chopping the leek.
- 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).
- 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!
- Into the mashed potatoes, stir in the kale, leek and the butter they were sauteed within.
- Stir in the cream until well combined.
- Spoon onto a serving plate and serve.
The book Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals, is now in its third printing and available worldwide, including the official website for Downton Abbey!