Authentic Irish Colcannon

12:00 PM

I'm very proud of my Irish heritage and a few years ago I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time in Ireland. While I was there I picked up a great little cookbook that I find myself going back to over and over.  Not only does it have great traditional recipes, but it also gives a brief history of each recipe.

Colcannon is a mash made of white vegetables, typically served at the midday meal. In fact, it was the centerpiece of the traditional harvest dinner, and eating more or less daily.  Colcannon is made from a mixture of raw, white vegetables that are heavily seasoned and layered in a giant saucepan.  Once finished cooking, it would be ladled out in huge servings to the men coming in from the fields, and of course, topped with fresh country butter.  At Halloween, coins are wrapped in foil and buried in the colcannon for children to discover as they eat.

If you're used to a typical St. Patrick's Day dish of Corned Beef and Cabbage, try the Colcannon instead next time. It's definitely worth it, in fact, it's so good you should definitely make it more often than just March 17!


Authentic Irish Colcannon
  • 1 medium-sized head white cabbage
  • 2 medium-sized parsnips
  • 3-4 medium-sized onions
  • 8-10 medium-sized potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pint water (2 1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz butter (1/2 cup)

Cut cabbage into four, remove stumps and wash each leaf thoroughly in salt and water. Put four or five outer leaves aside, chop the remaining leaves finely.

Wash and scrape parsnips, remove skins from the onions (I also peeled the potatoes). Cut parsnips, onions and potatoes into half inch slices.

Arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a saucepan, cover with a layer or parsnips, then a layer of onion, the a layer of cabbage; season well, continue layering the vegetables and again season well.

Pour water over the vegetables and cover vegetables completely with the outer leaves. Put the lid on the saucepan, bring to the boil and cover; simmer until cooked, 25-30 minutes.

Strain off any excess water. Remove the outer leaves of cabbage. Mash the vegetables well, add the butter and mix well. Put into a serving dish. Serve hot with plenty of creamy butter. Serves 4-6.

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