So I was looking up traditional Irish recipes to see if I could make something to blog about for St. Patrick’s Day (anyone like how I completely blow past Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and even Pi Day – Pie Day!! – and then decide to make a themed recipe for a holiday that’s way more about drinking than eating? What can I say, I gotta follow my muse!) and I discovered Colcannon.
I’ve never had Colcannon before, and while it sounds vaguely familiar, didn’t really know what it was. Turns out it is essentially mashed potatoes with kale mixed in. Mashed potatoes. With Kale! What could possibly be better than taking mashed potatoes and then adding kale to them? OK, I know some of you are probably thinking “Taking mashed potatoes and…not adding kale to them?” But bear with me because the final dish is pretty and tasty and really doesn’t feel like you’re eating leafy greens.
It’s also not much harder than just making mashed potatoes, which as I’ve discussed before, is easy. Just peel and chop up your potatoes into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces (you don’t actually have to peel them if you like the skins, but I wanted a nice clean white and green dish so I ditched the skins for this one).
Pop those into a big pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes or until they are soft and can easily be cut in half by a fork or spoon. While those are boiling, dice an onion and throw it into a skillet – I used a 10″ skillet and everything fit pretty well. Let the onion heat until it’s translucent and just starting to brown – conveniently about the same amount of time it takes to chop up a bunch of kale. For this I used lacinto kale, which looks like this:
I chopped it into maybe 1 inch pieces and ended up with about 6 cups of chopped kale, which I added to the skillet.
Let that simmer until the kale softens and wilts and everything starts to smell fantastic and much less like salad than it did a minute ago. Once the kale is wilted you can add some minced garlic for 30-60 seconds until it’s fragrant and you’ll end up with something that looks somewhat like this:
You could probably stop here and go for a more chunky/coarse dish, but I decided I wanted a nice creamy dish so I used my stick blender to puree it a bit. (I should also take this opportunity to point out that this may be absolutely nothing like real Colcannon – as I mentioned I’ve never had it before and I basically got as far as “A dish consisting of mashed potatoes with kale” on the wikipedia article before I jumped up to go make it, so I’m definitely not guaranteeing authenticity.)
You could also use a regular blender or food processor, but I decided to use the stick blender for the potatoes as well so I stuck with the one tool because I don’t like washing dishes. Anyway – once you have your kale, onion and garlic puree, the potatoes should be pretty close to ready to drain and then return to the pot or put in a large bowl. Drizzle them with just a bit of oil and salt and smash them with a fork or hand mixer or hand blender – it really just depends on how smooth you want them. The ones I made were super smooth to the point of being a tiny bit gummy, but that’s exactly what I was going for.
Add about a cup of soy, rice, or hemp milk (I would recommend avoiding the nut milks because they tend to have a slight flavor that doesn’t jive with mashed potatoes in my mind, but if you know what you like, by all means use it!) and blend or mash until the potatoes have the consistency you want.
Once they are ready, just toss in the kale mixture and stir everything together. So pretty! I think my favorite thing about this is that the kale and onions add enough nutrition that this can really feel like a meal on its own instead just of a side dish. Because who am I kidding, I already eat mashed potatoes as a meal anyway so I may as well get some leafy greens in there. Anyone have any St. Patty’s traditions they are looking forward to tomorrow?