Colcannon is a centuries-old traditional Irish mashed potato dish… made with the addition of greens. Typically made with cabbage, you can use collards, spinach, kale or leeks instead. The word “colcannon” is a Gaelic term (cal ceannann) meaning “white-headed cabbage.” Centuries ago, cabbage, leeks and potatoes were considered foods of common folk and popular dishes included these things.
Although colcannon is mostly seen around St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a really good side dish to serve anytime. It sits nicely alongside so many foods, especially Rays Country Ham. Enjoy with country ham biscuits or a slice of ham with eggs for breakfast too.
When it comes to potatoes, we have so many choices, and some make better mashed potatoes than others. Our favorite is Yukon Golds for creamy mashed potatoes. If you prefer “fluffier” taters, use Russets instead.
This recipe can easily be doubled so you can freeze a batch to enjoy on another day.
Serves about 6
2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes (4-5 large)
3-4 cups chicken broth or water
1 stick butter
1 8-ounce pkg. Rays Country Ham slices, cut into 1” matchstick pieces
1 small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1-12 ounce can evaporated milk
salt and black pepper
crushed red pepper, opt.
Peel and cube potatoes. Place in pot and cover with broth (or water). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook uncovered until soft, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside to keep warm.
Browned Butter: While potatoes are cooking, heat butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisking and watching closely as it melts. Continue heating for about 6-7 minutes until butter smells toasty and has turned golden brown. Pour into bowl and set aside. (Best to do this in a lighter colored skillet so you can see when browned to remove from heat before burning.)
Wipe skillet to remove any butter bits and over medium heat, cook ham. After about 2 minutes, remove ¾ of the ham and cook remaining ham until a little crispy. Set both aside.
Put cabbage and onion into the same hot skillet. Add about 3/4 cup of water, cover and cook over medium heat until tender. Uncover and stir fry until a little caramelized. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of oil. If you like, add a bit of crushed red pepper.
Drain potatoes. Add ¾ of the butter, half the can of the milk and black pepper; cream with immersion or hand mixer. If needed, add more milk. Taste and add salt if needed. (The butter, broth and ham have salt so you may not need to add any.) Fold in cabbage and the ham that was cooked for 2 minutes. Put in serving bowl, drizzle with remaining butter and scatter with the crispy ham lardons. Garnish with some green onion or chives.
Variation: Substitute sweet potatoes for a really delicious alternative!
Note: You can make this recipe without browning the butter, but we highly recommend this added layer of toasty buttery goodness!