With loads of leafy greens in our winter garden, we’re constantly searching for creative ways to incorporate them into our meals. Look no further than Colcannon — creamy comfort in every forkful, just made for the dreary, mid-winter evening. This traditional Irish mashed potato dish is dressed up with fresh kale or cabbage and leeks (that onion cousin that looks like a giant scallion). In most recipes the ingredients are boiled then mixed together with all sorts of good stuff like butter and cream. We like to sauté the greens and leeks in the butter instead of boiling them — it adds an extra level of flavor.
If you don’t do dairy or simply can’t imagine putting so much butter into mashed potatoes, try using olive oil instead (about a quarter cup or so — maybe a bit more — and omit the cream/milk). Instead of Irish, you’ll have Italian mashed potatoes. And while you’re at it, why not vary the greens — something a bit more Mediterranean, with a little edge to perk up a cold January evening, like dandelion, broccoli rabe or escarole. We even add leaves from our broccoli and cauliflower plants in the kitchen garden. Yes, they’re edible, too.
Somehow it seems ridiculous to point out the healthy kale packed into this dish given the amount of butter we’re also tucking in. So we won’t bother. But you’re welcome to stress that point if you like.
- 2-1/2 pounds Yukon gold or Russet potatoes
- 3 cups coarsely chopped greens such as kale, chard, dandelion, cabbage (or a combination)
- 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Slice leeks lengthwise. Rinse under running water to remove any dirt between the layers. Thinly slice an roughly chop. Peel potatoes and cut into large cubes of uniform size. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 15-20 minutes).
- While potatoes are cooking, heat butter in a large skillet on medium-low and add greens and leeks. Cook until soft and tender (about 15 minutes). Add cream and milk and warm over low heat.
- When potatoes are done, drain water from the pot and leave potatoes. Mash well, then add contents of the skillet to the potatoes. Mix together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with more butter if desired.