An Irish Dish For St. Patty’s Day! (feat. Kale)

“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?”

That’s a real song (see video below) about a real dish, Colcannon.  I made a version of it at work today and it was such a hit, I decided to get all bloggery about it.

Colcannon is historically Irish peasant left-overs, which is really apparent from the traditional ingredients: potatoes, milk, butter, cabbage, kale, bacon/ham.  It’s the sort of hearty food that will pack your body up well against those cold Eirann nights.   It used to be a year-round sort of food, but now is trotted out mainly for holidays and when the kale is in season.  Apparently, it’s a thing over there to hide a little prize or charm (lucky charm?) in it.   I guess that’s a good way to get the kiddies to eat their kale, but it seems to me like a precursor to this:

So maybe leave the toys out of the food, for now.

I’ve come up with a version of the recipe that leaves a good bit of the fat out.   It really is a yummy, hearty, comfort food-y dish, but the kale-lover in me wants to enjoy Colcannon sans the butter/whole milk/bacon fat guilt trip.   I also am adding a teeny, teeny bit of spice to liven it up.   Please don’t come after me, Irish people.  I am probably related to one of you.  Here’s the recipe!  Think of it as an Irish stir fry.

Colcannon  (Serves 4-6)

4-5 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 head green or Chinese cabbage,  roughly chopped

1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 large leek (only the end!  chop the roots off.  chop it in half.   rinse the grit out.  then chop it into strips or half-moons.)

3/4 skim milk

1/4 c light sour cream

6 slices turkey bacon or canadian bacon, diced

1/4 tsp bittersweet paprika

2-3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Boil the potatoes and rice or mash them.  Refer to this post if you need help in this area.   Warm the milk and sour cream slightly in a saucepan, and then stir into the potatoes.   Season well with salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan,  warm 1 tbsp of the oil.   Add the turkey or canadian bacon.   Saute until it is cooked through, and then remove to a plate.   Add a bit more oil to the pan, and then toss in the leeks.  Saute for about 4 minutes.   Throw in the kale, and saute until it wilts,  then add the cabbage, and saute for 5 minutes.   Add the bacon back in, along with the paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.

You can either serve this on top of the potatoes or stir the potatoes into the kale mixture, as is traditional.


(Those outfits are am. az. ing.)

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4 thoughts on “An Irish Dish For St. Patty’s Day! (feat. Kale)

  1. kretzloff March 12, 2012 at 8:07 PM Reply

    I’ve never known how to prepare kale. Thanks for this post! Sounds really good!

    • the lady is a chef March 12, 2012 at 8:09 PM Reply

      i’ll do another, more thorough post on kale later on. thanks!

  2. Alyson Weaver March 12, 2012 at 9:01 PM Reply

    This looks supper yummy. Nice one Ashleigh. I’m gonna make it this Saturday and enjoy with a guinness…and a cute Irishman. Does watching Conan O’Brien count?

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