Colcannon is a buttery, garlicky, creamy variety of mashed potatoes. The menus in Irish pubs list ‘bangers and mash.’ Bangers are large sausages served with the colcannon – a tasty, filling combination. I have also eaten a version of this dish in Ireland with cabbage chunks instead of the kale. The kale version is prettier on the table (IMO).
3-4 large red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
8 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sea salt for potato water
1 additional teaspoon sea salt for seasoning the dish
Ground pepper to taste
Boil potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes (or until fork tender).
Meanwhile, wash and trim kale, discarding the spines of the leaves. Blanch, drain, gently squeeze out the water and chop finely. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and garlic powder in a large frying pan and cook leeks until tender over low heat, about 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped kale and 2 Tablespoons butter and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with pepper to taste.
Drain and mash the potatoes. Whip in the kale mixture and 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly beat in cream until mixture is smooth, but still firm. Season with additional salt & pepper if needed.
In a small frying pan, brown the onions in the remaining butter.
Create a mound of the potatoes in a dish. Make a depression in the center and pour the browned onions and butter in the well until they spill over the side. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. (the photo is of a version I make without the onion topping.)
Our travels in Ireland led us to quite a few B&Bs and at each and every one, they served soda bread with breakfast. We liked the versions with raisins, so when we returned to the USA, Sheila baked and I taste-tested until we agreed on this recipe. Most people have it only on St. Patrick’s Day, when they pretend to be Irish, but we enjoy it all year round. No yeast required.
Preheat oven to 325. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine 4 cups flour, raisins, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
In a stainless steel bowl, gently whisk the buttermilk and vegetable oil. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients while mixing on low speed until the dough forms a ball, 30-40 seconds. Scrape the dough away from the paddle and turn the dough ball over. Mix on low speed for another 30 seconds.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead vigorously with the heels of your hands until smooth, about two minutes. Form the dough into a round loaf. Pinch a small handful of dough and gently twist, being careful not to tear the dough from the loaf. Place the dough, pinched side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water, then lightly brush the mixture over the top of the loaf. Score the loaf by cutting a 1/4’’ deep ‘X’ into the top. Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. The bread is done if a hollow sound is heard when the bottom is tapped with your finger. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.
Serve with butter or honey. Makes a very nice toast. Enjoy!
Ireland is a fabulous place to visit from Spring right through early Fall. The country has plenty of top-notch scenery, challenging golf courses, stud farms, and castles galore. And, it has all that really great food. Sheila and I had loads of fun going from tea room to pub to restaurant, sampling traditional Irish dishes.
The one constant at lunch wherever we went was the dense brown bread. It varied slightly in taste with different bakers, but it was usually served with soup or at afternoon tea, with jam, butter or honey.
Of course, when we came back to the States, Sheila and I created our own version of the bread so that we could serve it on St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, it is on the table with the soda bread, giving our guests a chance to try both. To be clear, Sheila does the baking and I do the tasting and cleanup. We make a great team in the kitchen. 🙂