Colcannon Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day

Colcannon is made with mashed potatoes, cabbage, butter, salt, and pepper. It can contain other things such as milk or cream, leeks, onions, chives, garlic, boiled ham or Irish bacon. It used to be a cheap staple food for everyday. Though it’s usually eaten in autumn and winter, when the cabbage comes into season.

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Here a nice easy recipe for you to try:
1 1/4 pounds (about 2 large) russet (baking) potatoes, scrubbed and, if desired, peeled
3 cups thoroughly-cleaned and thinly sliced leeks, white, light green and medium parts only
1/2 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon bacon fat, butter, or vegetable oil


Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with salted water and simmer them, covered, for 15 minutes or until they are tender. While the potatoes are simmering, in a steamer set over boiling water, steam the leeks for 5 minutes or until tender. Chop them roughly. Drain the potatoes in a colander, mash them with the milk and butter, then stir in the leeks, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat bacon fat, butter or oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, press a layer of the potato mixture about ½-inch thick into the skillet. Cook, without touching, until bottom becomes deeply browned, about 4-5 minutes. Turn over potatoes and brown the other side. Remove to a warm plate while you brown the rest of the potatoes. Serve hot.

And there is an old traditional folk song from Ireland that you can sing as you cook:

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavored butter that your mother used to make?

The chorus goes:

Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I’m to cry.
Oh, wasn’t it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.