food + drink · vegetables

Colcannon a Traditional Irish Potato Recipe


Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe consisting of creamy mashed potatoes with kale (or cabbage), this simple side dish is both hearty and comforting… but oh-so tasty. Finding locally grown Kale at the farmers market here in Bahrain (and some supermarkets), makes this  colcannon even tastier. Kale is a nutritious leafy green which belongs to the Brassica family that includes the vegetables broccoli, brussels sprouts and collard. Have you ever made Kale chips? Kale chips are the trend and if you would like to make them, Smitten Kitchen shares her recipe.

Floury type potatoes are best for making mashed potatoes as they have a lower moisture and higher starch content. Some supermarkets stock a varieties of potatoes and label by name, I used Russet potatoes for this colcannon recipe but you can also use Yukon Gold, Kerr’s Pink and Maris Piper. These type of floury potatoes are also perfect for making another traditional recipe, Irish Potato Bread.

colcannon-1756Waxy potatoes tend to go a bit gloopy when mashed and I have found, by pushing the cooked potatoes through a food mill or a ricer, results in a better mash with less glup… at least that’s my two cents worth.  St.Patrick’s Day is upon us and if you celebrate and like to have some green in your food, try to include a health green. This little sheep figurine in the photo above is all the way from Clones, my home town were I grew up… Mum felt that I had to have one sit on my kitchen dresser in Bahrain. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to dear family and friends near and afar.



  • 1kg potatoes
  • 300g kale or Savoy cabbage
  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • extra butter, for garnish

How to make: Peel the potatoes, cut into quarters and place into a large saucepan. Cover the potatoes with cold water and season generously with salt,  bring water to a boil. Cook potatoes for about 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the kale by removing the tough center rib, shred the leaves with a knife. Melt 25g of the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the kale and cook until it has softened and turned a vibrant green, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with some freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the milk and the remaining butter into a small saucepan, heat to almost boiling, remove and set aside. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and mash or pass them through a food mill or ricer.

Add the hot milk with melted butter to the potatoes and beat in with a wooden spoon. Stir in the kale. Check seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Serve in a warmed dish and garnish with a large knob of butter which should melt against the hot potatoes.

Note: Depending on desired consistency you can add some more hot milk if you like a very creamy mash.

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