My disclaimer: I am not Irish. I have never been to Ireland. I have never had colcannon. In fact, before this week, I had never even heard of it! But I discovered that colcannon is a traditional Irish dish.
In searching for St. Patrick’s Day recipes, I found several versions of colcannon. Some included parsnips, some included leeks, some included ham or bacon. The main qualification for the dish seemed to be that it is a base of mashed potatoes with shredded cabbage or kale mixed in. Sometimes the cabbage or kale was boiled, sometimes sautéed. I’m sure every Irish grandmother has her own version, just like every Italian grandmother has her own version of Sunday meatballs and “gravy.”
I decided to add cubed ham to mine. Most recipes called for leeks or scallions, which I did not have so I used a white onion. I found one version that used 2 sticks of butter for a 6 serving recipe (that is almost 3 tablespoons of butter per serving, if you’re doing the math!!) Since it is such a hearty dish, I thought that it would almost make a meal all by itself. I remember that sometimes my mom would serve leftover mashed potatoes with a couple of fried eggs for breakfast or dinner, so that is what I have done here. I like my eggs sunny side up or over easy so the yolk can mix with the potato... yum.
Here is the recipe for my version:
Colcannon & Eggs
3 pounds potatoes, peeled
9 T. (1 stick + 1 T.) butter
Small head of white cabbage, cored and finely chopped (about 6 cups)
1 large onion finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 lb ham, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups hot milk
3 T. finely chopped parsley
Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender (do not overcook.)
While potatoes are cooking, melt 2 T. butter in a large skillet. Saute cabbage until softened and turns bright green. Remove from skillet to large bowl.
Add 2 T. butter to skillet and saute onion until translucent. Add to cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss lightly.
Add 1 T. butter to skillet and saute ham until golden. Add to cabbage and onion.
When potatoes are tender, drain. Return to pot. Add 4 T. butter and milk. Mash until creamy. Fold cabbage, onion, ham and parsley into potatoes. Keep warm.
Fry desired number of eggs. Place colcannon on plate and make a small indentation with a large spoon. Place eggs on top.
Makes 8 servings