Authentic Irish Colcannon & St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Colcannon and gluten free beer | BoulderLocavore.com 504-001

Since I was a child I’ve loved St. Patrick’s Day.  Being unaware of the religious origins it was all about the whimsy of leprechauns, pots of gold and other unexpected folly of the day; claiming that one’s undergarments were green when forgetting to wear the pinch-avoiding color visibly.  Having Irish heritage woven in my extended family, as well as the good fortune to travel to the Emerald Isle often for both work and pleasure, the holiday has a much more full meaning for me as an adult.  And of course so much of that focuses on the food.

For a number of years my husband (who also is of Irish descent on his father’s side) and I would watch the movie ‘The Commitments’, make corned beef and cabbage and drink Guinness on St. Patty’s day.  So often the holiday fell  on a work night so we’d avoid the scene at local American Irish pubs.  As our children have grown up (and we’ve learned corned beef and cabbage really is not traditional fare for the holiday) we have evolved a rogue leprechaun who visits our house turning the milk and toilet water green, randomly stacking as many chairs as possible striving to touch the ceiling and other naughty things.  In our hearts is our love for all things Irish, and for friends and family there.

Sadly now that I'm gluten-free Guinness is out of the picture and I don't know of any Irish gluten-free beer.  I recently discovered a new gluten-free beer, Green's from Belgium, who makes a Dubbel Dark Ale that's really good (made with Millet, Buckwheat, Rice and Sorghum).

Sadly now that I’m gluten-free Guinness is out of the picture and I don’t know of any Irish gluten-free beer. I recently discovered a new gluten-free beer, Green’s from Belgium, who makes a Dubbel Dark Ale that’s really good (made with Millet, Buckwheat, Rice and Sorghum); especially when served in pewter goblets from Ireland which were a gift from a visiting Irish friend.

One of my favorite things about being in Ireland is the pub scene.  More than a bar or a restaurant it truly is the social center of the culture.  Hours upon hours are spent commiserating with friends and laughing up a storm.  The food is rustic and flavorful and the beer of course superb.  My favorite Irish recipes are all very simple.  Made with whole ingredients, they are not time consuming but are certainly soul-warming.  Colcannon is a traditional mashed potato dish woven through with kale and scallions.  If you have not enjoyed it before you may imagine a strong taste of kale making it seem like more of a green vegetable dish.  This it is not.  The curly kale is lightly blanched and processed with the scallions before incorporating into the buttery potatoes.  The heady aroma of the kale and onion when freshly diced coming out of the food processor is truly sublime; light, fresh and singing of springtime.  With only five ingredients this dish is easy to whip up, a great traditional Irish dish and a familiar cousin to the iconic American comfort food, mashed potatoes.

Irish Colcannon and gluten free beer | BoulderLocavore.com

A Tip for removing Kale Stems:  Hold the end of the kale stalk in one hand (the stem).  With the other hand place the thumb and forefinger at the base of the leaves on the stock.  Pull the stalk with the first hand, holding the other thumb and forefinger firmly in place.  Leaves will peel off the stock easily.

Authentic Irish Colcannon

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 ample side servings

Though Yukon Gold potatoes may not be an indigenous Irish potato variety, their creamy nature makes this traditional Colcannon recipe perfection. Colcannon is a traditional dish for St. Patrick’s Day, combining the beloved potato, kale, scallions and butter. Try it once and you’ll be hooked!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 8 ounces of Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 4 ounces de-stemmed Curly Kale leaves (about 6 ½ ounces with stem)
  • ½ cup Scallions, trimmed, white and lower green of stalk rough chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with scallion slices (about ¼ cup needed for whole recipe)

Instructions

  1. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil that will hold the volume of potatoes with plenty of room. Add a large pinch of salt.
  2. Slice potatoes horizontally into ¾ inch-1 inch thick slices. Cut each slice into 4 to 6 pieces. Place potatoes in boiling water until done (about 20 minutes; poke a fork in them to ensure they are no longer hard and are cooked through). Drain and return to cooking pot.
  3. While potatoes are boiling, bring a second pot of water to boil for the kale blanching and fill a large mixing bowl of ice and water. Place the kale leaves into the boiling water for two minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they all become submerged. Remove, and place immediately into ice water bath. Allow them to remain there for another two minutes then place them in the bowl of a food processor.
  4. Add the rough chopped scallions to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse for 10-15 seconds until kale and onions form a finely diced mixture.
  5. Add the stick of butter to the potatoes, mix together to allow butter to melt. Once melted, mash the potatoes with a masher or potato ricer. Add the diced kale and scallion and stir to fully combine. Serve hot garnished with scallion slices.
http://boulderlocavore.com/2013/03/authentic-irish-colcannon-st-patricks-day.html

Irish Colcannon and gluten free beer | BoulderLocavore.com

Irish and St. Patrick’s Day posts You Might Enjoy:

Dublin Coddle and Irish Soda Bread (gluten-free)

The Straight Scoop on St. Patrick’s Day from The Daily Spud {Guest Post}

Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream Shake

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Comments

  1. says

    How fun to know we aren’t the only house where milk turns green! ;-) Pancakes have always been a favorite green food here too.

    I’ve never made colcannon, even though we usually do a traditional Irish dinner with corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes. Definitely going to give this a try – thanks for sharing!

    • says

      You’ll have to give it a go Meeling. It’s a beautiful simple dish. I also made Dublin Coddle last year for a post which is hearty, rustic food (and more traditional to Ireland than corned beef and cabbage; my Irish friends tell me that is the American interpretation of St. Patty’s Day food!).

  2. says

    I love this dish! In fact I love it so much I made it earlier this week, and will be posting about it next. :-) There are a lot of recipes out there that include cabbage instead of kale, and they’re good. But kale is so much better in this dish. Yours looks wonderful — thanks.

    • says

      How fun John I’ll hop over and take a look! This is a recipe from Ireland but I have noticed variations too (have not seen cabbage but it makes sense). I think it’s a bit like variations on how we make mashed potatoes. It’s such a simple, delicious dish. Can’t wait to see yours!

  3. says

    I grew up in a family with no Irish ancestry and no great love of St. Patrick’s day, but then my youngest brother lived in Ireland for a couple years and I followed suit after leaving Uni. I live in Cork for the better part of 1999. Now the whole month of March and all the St. Patzapalooza silliness makes me homesick for authentic Irish food and craic, I shudder every time someone offers me bad American corned beef and cabbage. Give me bangers and mash, sausage rolls, full Irish breakfast, boxties, curry and mushy peas, or real fish and chips any day.

    • says

      Oh you have made me SO hungry with your comment and I see you too are a kindred spirit of Irish food. My friends there would balk at the drunken festivities in the U.S. for St. Patrick’s Day telling me it was really a religious holiday in Ireland. However if you take a peek at the Guest Post I linked to from Aoife who writes The Daily Spud in Dublin, she said things are changing and becoming more frolicking in Ireland too. All the foods you listed sing to my heart and stomach and are exactly what I love about the food scene there. And I had some of the best salmon in my life outside Dundalk. Love Cork. Spent a long weekend in Timoleague once and have been to Cork itself a number of times for business.

  4. emma says

    My husband is also of Irish descent so Irish dishes are prepared in our household quite frequently. To be honest, I’ve never tried this one but I’ll have a perfect opportunity to do so in the weeks to come either at home or during a course I signed up for a month ago. To put it more precisely, my husband gave me a special gift on this year’s Valentine’s Day – he booked a cooking class organized by Zac’s cooking school in our native Vancouver so we’re now collecting interesting recipes to come up with during that course and this one will definitely be part of our list. :)

    • says

      Ironically Emma this is a classic that my local friends in Ireland assured is a traditional St. Patrick’s day dish but I don’t recall having it when in Ireland. Perhaps I did but don’t recall (maybe too much Guinness!). I hope you’ll enjoy your cooking classes! I’ve enjoyed taking them over the years usually when traveling to a region to make special local dishes.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 1. Easy, Comforting, and Spring-y: Colcannon is traditional Irish potatoes not only remind you of the comforting American mashed potatoes but also ”spring-y” with kale and  scallions added in. This recipe by Boulder Locavore is so simple with 5 ingredients and yet a great one to celebrate the Irish Feast! http://boulderlocavore.com/2013/03/authentic-irish-colcannon-st-patricks-day.html […]

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