Colcannon With Kale
In doing some looking at various recipes, there seem to be some basic rules for traditional Colcannon–potatoes, butter, and either cabbage or kale. Even though I decided to break the rules a bit and add bacon, I think most Irishmen I know would approve! Any time of year, this hearty dish would be considered good luck for anyone around the table!
Servings Prep Time
8people 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
8people 15minutes
Cook Time
  1. Peel the potatoes, and dice them into same-sized chunks (about 1-2″ cubes). Slice the leeks and rinse them well as they will likely have a lot of sand in them.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water. Add two bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to an active simmer, cooking for approximately 20 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain well.
  3. While the potatoes cook, cook bacon until just crisp. Remove from skillet and drain any fat from the pan.
  4. In the same pan, saute the leeks until tender and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
  5. Add kale to skillet, and cook until kale is cooked through and begins to lightly crisp on the edges. Set the leek and kale mixture aside.
  6. Add milk, butter, salt & pepper to potatoes. Using a hand mixer, mash the ingredients until creamy.
  7. Add kale & leek mixture, as well as 3/4 of the bacon. Gently fold ingredients into potatoes until incorporated.
  8. Serve immediately topped with additional bacon.
Recipe Notes

What I love about these peasant dishes like Colcannon is that, because they were born of what was on hand, variation was the mother of necessity in terms of using what you had.  And I would assume that the variation of kale vs. cabbage came about in this way.  Of course, no one knows that for sure, but I think no matter which way you prepare it, you’ll have happy people digging into this hearty and delicious dish.

For those purists out there, have no fear.  I’ve included below the original recipe used by my family, and demanded by my brother each year.

Traditional Irish Colcannon:

  • 4 lbs. white potatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 cups finely sliced green cabbage
  • 3 tbsp. minced onions
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel & quarter the potatoes.  Place them in a saucepan, and cover with water by 1 inch.  Cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain and mash them.
  3. Meanwhile, cook cabbage in 1 inch of water until tender.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt to the water.
  4. Saute onions in 1 1/2 tbsp. of the butter until soft.
  5. Combine onions with potatoes, drained cabbage, pepper & milk. Beat until smooth
  6. Pour potato & cabbage mixture into cooking spray-coated dish, and dot with remaining butter.  Bake 15 minutes; serve immediately.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from me, and from Jeff!

Jeff St Pattys Day