Every St. Patrick’s Day, I make a traditional Irish dinner of corned beef and boiled cabbage, carrots and potatoes. This year I followed a Sandra Lee recipe which called for cooking everything in the crock pot in a mixture of water and apple juice. Actually, I cooked everything but the potatoes in the crock pot. I boiled the potatoes separately. The dinner was really delicious and it was incredibly convenient because I was out for most of the day when I made it. I love crock pot dishes that you can leave cooking when you leave the house. When you get home, the dinner is basically done!
In addition to the traditional boiled dinner, I decided to make another traditional Irish dish, Colcannon. It’s a mixture of mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, scallions, butter (and lots of it!) and in this variation, bacon! I thought this was absolutely delicious, and I could have eaten just Colcannon for my whole meal. It was that good. You load anything with bacon and butter and you can’t go wrong.
The original recipe called for steaming the potatoes, then peeling them. Yukon gold potatoes have such thin skin, that I decided to mash the potatoes with the skin on. It didn’t hurt the dish one bit.
My parents and some friends came in for our St. Patrick’s Day meal. My father HATES mashed potatoes and he also HATES when food is all mixed together, like in this dish. (Think that’s where my kids get their picky eating habits from?) Well, guess what? He really liked this dish and it’s a big combination of things that he dislikes! He had seconds! If that’s not an endorsement for this dish, I don’t know what is.
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Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head Napa cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1-pound bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces or crumbled
4 scallions, finely chopped
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.
Add cabbage, scallions, and bacon to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.
Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top by swirling a wooden spoon. Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.
Yield: 6 servings as a side dish
Two years ago: Whole Wheat Biscuits