Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Colcannon (Irish: cál ceannan - white head) is an Irish favorite.

Colcannon is an Irish dish that is rich in tradition and history. Traditionally it's made on All Saints Day or Halloween, though it's a perfect food to warm you up on cold nights. Back in the day, some families would leave out a plate of it, with a lump of butter in the center for the fairies and the ghosts. Another old Irish Halloween tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins concealed in it. Traditional charms were put in the colcannon that symbolized different things. A button meant you would remain a bachelor and a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth. Start your own traditions--Gather the family together and make this simple, but fun recipe for dinner!

The typical version is mashed potatoes with curly kale or cabbage, butter, cream, salt and pepper. At one time this was a cheap, year-round staple food. The 'healthified' version by yours truly is as follows:

1/2 head of savoy cabbage (green cabbage), sliced
1 1/2 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes (white potatoes)
3/4 cup Skim milk (preferrably organic)
1 clove garlic, whole
1 tbsp fresh thyme - chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp salt, plus another 1/8 tsp salt
Pepper to taste.

Begin by peeling and boiling the potatoes in salted water (1/4 tbsp) 'til done. Saute the sliced cabbage in olive oil on medium heat with the thyme. Cover and cook 'til soft. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat milk and garlic clove on low-med flame, bring to a simmer. DO NOT BOIL. Drain potatoes when cooked until soft. Remove garlic from milk and add milk to potatoes. Mash it all together. When cabbage is cooked, fold into potatoes. You don't want to mash the cabbage along with the potatoes. Taste and season with salt (1/8 tsp or as much to your liking) & pepper.

This is great served with lamb or steak. In fact even a bowl by itself is great.

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