There are so many ways to spin this classic dish, it’s boredom-proof. 

By David McCann
April 07, 2020
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Colcannon. I’m guessing this may not necessarily be a dish in your family’s rotation. Or even a word you know. But in our house, colcannon frequently (if not constantly) appears on the table.

Ireland is legendary for its many signature potato recipes, and this is one of the best and most versatile.

Colcannon is, in its simplest form, mashed potatoes with delicious bonuses folded in. My basic version is a batch of my sinful mashed potatoes with lightly steamed, shredded green cabbage folded in. (Trust me, stick to the green. One night I decided to try red cabbage and while it still tasted wonderful, it looked like Barney the Dinosaur on a plate… not appetizing.) To this, I add a fair amount of freshly cracked black pepper and chives. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Swap out the cabbage for other crucifers such as kale, collards, any chard, even broccoli rabe. Or heck, try using spinach. Leave out the chives. Add shredded basil or parsley. You could even swirl in some pesto.

Let your imagination run wild. And this is only the green stuff!

What about some crisped bacon thrown in? Scallions—raw and pungent or warmed just enough to take some of the bite away? Yellow onions cooked until dark and caramelized? Or some ham that you have in the fridge? Once, in a fit of creativity, I even whipped in some of my homemade hummus. And, shockingly, it was really tasty! Virtually anything that you think sounds good with mashed potatoes can work beautifully IN mashed potatoes. I don’t necessarily claim that someone in Dublin would still let you call it colcannon, but… If you limit your add-in to scallions, you may call it Champ.

These additions can add both flavor and nutrition to what, for most of us, is either a comfort food or a guilty pleasure. After all, a little kale makes everything better. 

Now, just in case you were wondering why I referred to my mashed potatoes as “sinful,” it’s because they contain riced Russets, salt, pepper, and heavy cream—period. Before you report me to someone, remember, if you use butter and milk, you are essentially using what (milk + a higher fat content)? Yep, cream. However, these mashed potatoes made with heavy cream will be smoother and silkier than any you’ve ever prepared; they’re a heavenly base for whatever mix-ins your heart desires.