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Yes, my hair is red. And yes, that means some Irish ancestry. Namely? A great-great gran named Ira Lake who was a steamboat captain. Oh—and there are O’Sullivans in the mix too : )
But on St. Patrick Day, everybody gets their green on to celebrate, no matter their heritage. In that spirit, here’s an easy, delicious recipe for colcannon! A buttery mix of potato and cabbage with melted leeks or onion, and (if you’re a meat eater) some bacon over the top, colcannon is delicious. From the Gaelic term “cal ceannann” (white-headed cabbage) it’s been the “food of the common man” in Ireland since the 1600’s. Glad to have that in common here. So, lá fhéile Pádraig sona! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)
- ½ pound good quality no-nitrate bacon
- 10 small Yukon gold potatoes (2.5 pounds), skin on, scrubbed and cut into even-sized pieces
- 1 stick butter, divided OR 2 Tbsp bacon fat plus 3/4 stick butter
- ½ cup hot milk
- 1 large onion, cored and diced (or two leeks, washed well, dark green parts discarded; white and light green parts diced)
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1 small head cabbage, cored, and chopped (not too fine)
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350. Spread bacon on a cookie sheet and roast bacon for 20 minutes or until crisped well and cooked through. Pour off fat into a small bowl. Pat bacon dry, dice, and set aside.
- While bacon is cooking, place diced potatoes in a large pot of water over medium heat. Simmer potatoes until fork tender. Dump into a colander to drain. Mash potatoes well, with 3/4 stick butter and ½ cup hot milk. Set aside, keeping warm.
- In a heavy saute pan over medium-low heat, melt ¼ stick butter (OR use 2 Tbsp of the reserved bacon fat.) Add onion (or leeks) and parsley and saute gently until the onion is very soft. Scoop melted onion into the potatoes and mix well.
- Replace saute pan over medium heat; add ½ cup water and cook the cabbage until tender, stirring occasionally and adding a bit more water if needed to ensure cabbage doesn’t brown.
- Mix cooked cabbage into the potatoes and onions. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve hot (with a little more butter if desired : )
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