Colcannon

St. Patrick's DayIrishKalePotatoes

Colcannon Potatoes are an Irish mashed potato recipe with mixed with greens and scallions and LOTS of butter and cream. You can't go wrong with this green-filled dish on St. Patrick's Day!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What is Colcannon?

Have you ever had colcannon? A St. Patrick’s day favorite, colcannon is an Irish potato recipe, a mixture of creamy mashed potatoes and usually kale or cabbage.

I first encountered colcannon potatoes while doing research on traditional Irish cooking. Not surprisingly the Irish have all sorts of ways of cooking potatoes, with festive names like champ, bruisy, pandy, boxty, and this one, colcannon.

Irish Mashed Potatoes

In the following colcannon recipe, we mix the mashed potatoes in with chopped cooked kale, green onions, milk or cream, and lots of butter.

To serve, make a depression in the middle of the mashed potatoes and put a knob of butter in it. To eat it, you dip a forkful of the potatoes in the melted butter.

If ever there was a recipe to get one to eat one’s greens, this is it!

More Favorite Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

Learn More About Irish Cooking

By the way, if you are looking for books on traditional Irish cooking, I can recommend two excellent ones. The first is Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen, of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork.

The second is The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews, which won the James Beard award for cookbook of the year in 2010.

How to make colcannon

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Colcannon Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish

For a variation, sub out half of the potatoes with parsnips. Can add chives, leeks, or bacon too.

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt
  • 5 to 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (with more butter for serving)
  • 3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, cabbage, chard, or other leafy green
  • 3 green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup milk or cream

Method

1 Boil the potatoes: Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil.

Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a colander.

2 Cook the greens and the green onions with butter: Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it's hot, add the greens.

Cook the greens for 3-4 minutes, or until they are wilted and have given off some of their water.

Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.

3 Mash the potatoes with milk or cream and greens: Pour in the milk or cream, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium.

Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens.

Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.

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Links:

Colcannon Soup here on Simply Recipes

Colcannon Cakes here on Simply Recipes

Colcannon with Broccoli Rabe - from A Veggie Venture

Colcannon with Wild Greens - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Books:

Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage - by Darina Allen

The Country Cooking of Ireland - by Colman Andrews

Colcannon Irish Potatoes with Melted Butted in Serving Dish

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

93 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jac

    I’ve been making this since my daughter was only 1 year old and she loves it even now at age 12. I’m still making this recipe and many others. I don’t know if you’ll see this, Elise, but I moved out on my own when I was 16, and had my first baby when I was 22 – you played a huge huge part in teaching me how to cook and I still log on here and make one of your recipes at least once a week. My son makes your banana bread once or twice a month and is VERY proud indeed. Thank you so much for all the years of good food!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Jeanne

    We enjoyed this dish, and the change of pace from the usual cabbage. I did make it vegan with almond milk and Melt margarine, and served it with faux apple sage sausages. Very satisfying meal for a cool night.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Mabel

    It is easy, and delicious.
    Being that kale is SO good for you nutrionally..what a great recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Megan

    Didn’t have enough butter, so we used bacon. It was lovely!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Joan

    I make this every year! We love it! Make colcannon cakes with anything left. Just add flour and an egg, make patties and fry up for breakfast with egg and bacon. YUM!!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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