Irish mashed potatoes or colcannon is an Irish comfort food that is extremely popular in Ireland. It is easy, economical, and tasty.
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Colcannon is a Gaelic word "cal ceannann" which means white-headed cabbage. In Ireland, potatoes, cabbages, and leeks were considered common food, so it's only natural for Irish home cooks to experiment with these ingredients.
Irish mashed potatoes or colcannon has many different variations. It can be made with savoy cabbage which needs to be boiled, or with curly kale which doesn't. You can also add cubed ham or crumbled bacon for more protein.
- Potatoes: We used a floury variety. (Russets in the U.S. or roosters in Ireland.)
- Greens: We used kale, but you could substitute with savoy or green cabbage.
- Alliums: We used green onions, but leeks or chives would also work nicely. You could also add a diced shallot.
- Dairy: We used butter and heavy cream for a higher fat content.
How to Make
It's best to prep all your ingredients before you start.
- Wash, peel, and cut up the potatoes. (If you prefer to cook the potatoes in their skins, feel free to do so.) Submerge them into cold water and add some salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until fork tender.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat and add the kale.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and saute the kale for 5 minutes, then add the green onion. Sauté for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the cream and heat through.
5. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them in a colander.
6. Whip the russet potatoes in a stand mixer until smooth, but don't add anything to them just yet. (If you are using roosters, it's traditional to mash them by hand.)
7. Add the cooked kale, green onion, and cream mixture to the warm mashed potatoes, then stir in the seasonings (garlic powder, white pepper, and salt). Taste and adjust seasonings.
8. Serve warm with a knob of butter.
The only difference is colcannon has cooked kale, savoy, or green cabbage added to it. Champ is a variation of colcannon. If you don't have any kale or cabbage in the fridge, make champ. They are both served with a knob of butter.
In Ireland, the best and most popular potatoes are roosters, because they have an excellent taste and a floury texture.
The main ingredient in colcannon is mashed potatoes. The other ingredients are green onion, kale, or cabbage, and some fat like butter and cream and spices to taste.
For the past 200 years, mashed potatoes have been extremely popular in Ireland and are commonly served at dinner.
In Ireland, it is commonly served with boiled ham or rashers (bacon). In Northern Ireland, it is served with bangers (sausages). Other meats that go well with colcannon are corned beef, scallops, and smoked haddock. If you're looking for a meatless meal, try serving it with poached eggs.
Make Ahead: Can be made earlier in the day and kept warm in a small crockpot that is set to warm.
Leftovers: Cover tightly and place in the fridge for up to four days. They can be repurposed by making Irish potato pancakes, shepherd's pie (cottage pie), or fritters.
Reheat: Irish mashed potatoes or colcannon can be reheated on the stovetop over medium heat until heated through. Stir in a little bit more fat (butter, cream or whole milk) to keep it creamy.
Freeze: Yes, you can freeze colcannon if the mashed potatoes have fat in them, so make sure to add cream, whole milk or butter. Mix your fat of choice in really well, and wait until the colcannon has completely cooled.
- Best American potato? Russets would be the closest to the Irish rooster potato.
- Like it creamy? Use butter, heavy cream or whole milk.
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Irish Mashed Potatoes (Colcannon)
- 8 medium russet potatoes, peeled
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish
- 1 cup green onions, sliced in ¼ inch pieces
- 6 cups kale, cut in small pieces
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- Peel and cut the potatoes into eighths. Put the potatoes into a pot of cold salted water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain well, then place in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with the paddle attachment until fairly smooth. Resist the temptation to add anything while mixing.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the kale and cook for 5 minutes. The greens will shrink a lot. Add the green onions and cook for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low. Pour in the cream and heat through.
- Add the cream, kale, and onion mixture to the whipped potatoes. Add white pepper, garlic powder, and salt to taste. Stir until well combined, then transfer to a serving bowl.
- Make a small well in the center of mound of colcannon with a spoon. Place a tablespoon of butter in it and watch it melt. Eat from the outside in with each spoonful dipped in the melted butter.
- Best U.S. potatoes? Russets would be the closest to the Irish rooster.
- Want the creamiest colcannon? Use butter, cream or whole milk.
This recipe was originally published on March 2, 2018. This recipe was republished with resized photos and additional information on February 25, 2022.