A Saint Patrick’s Day Series of Side Dishes and Desserts: Colcannon and Glazed Carrots
It strikes me that Saint Patrick’s Day food is all about the boiling.
As I was preparing our St. Paddy’s Day supper yesterday afternoon, I had . . . drumroll please . . . FIVE separate pots a’boilin’ away on me stove.
One was for the corned beef, another for the potatoes, and three others for the leeks, cabbage, and carrots. I’ve heard of folks just saying the heck with it and boiling everything in the same darn pot. Considering the boatload of dishes I had to wash after the big boil-fest, the one-pot wonder version sounds like a plan for next year.
Since my chosen theme this week is St. Patrick’s Day sides and desserts, I’m going to completely ignore the lovely corned beef, much to its dismay, and focus on the Colcannon and glazed carrots.
Colcannon. Okay, really, if you haven’t made this before for Saint Patrick’s Day, or any day actually, do yourself a favor and make it. It’s delicious. It’s so completely delicious, in fact, that an anonymous Irishman actually wrote a sort of potato love song about it.
Did you ever eat Colcannon
When t’was made with yellow cream,
And the kale and the praties blended
Like the picture in a dream?
Did you ever take a forkful
And dip it in the lake
Of heather-flavoured butter
That your mother used to make?
If you were to ask me, I’d say the spud love song is taking things a wee bit too far.
But you didn’t ask me, so we’ll keep moving right along.
Now, “Colcannon”, which is basically mashed potatoes with tender leeks and cooked cabbage blended in, must not be confused with “Champ”, which is similar but instead of leeks and cabbage, other green things are mixed in like chives, parsley, peas, green onions, or nettles.
Frankly, while I’m not 100 percent sure what a nettle is, it sounds a little too dangerous for my Midwestern palate. It turns out, also, that Champ is meant to be served piping hot with a cold glass of buttermilk to wash down the heat.
Once again, thanks, but no thanks. I’m sticking with my lovely friend, Colcannon.
Here’s how one goes about making her.
Recipe courtesy of: allrecipes.com
1 pound cabbage
1 pound potatoes
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch mace or nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup butter
In a large saucepan, boil cabbage until tender. Set aside and keep warm.
Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
Chop leeks, green parts as well as white, rinse, and simmer them in just enough milk to cover, until they’re soft.
Let me just take a moment to say, leeks are dirty little devils. Once you slice them, be prepared to rinse them in a big bowl of water, and then rinse them again since there’s typically silt in between each one of their tree-ring-like layers that needs to go.
See, and you thought I was kidding. Yuck-o! Wash your leeks until they squeak!
Yes, they look all innocent and pretty, but as my mom always said, “Never trust an unwashed leek.” Okay, maybe she didn’t say that. I’m not sure if she’s ever even met a leek, but I wish she had said it, because they are not to be trusted. They are, however, so worth the extra bathing time.
Here they are all sliced and in the middle of the “de-gritting” process.
The water below shows that I have to go for a second rinse.
And, finally, they are all clean and simmering in a warm milk bath. AAAaah! It’s like a spa day for leeks. Except, after they’re all clean and relaxed, we eat them.
Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked leeks and milk.
Blend in the cabbage and heat until the whole pot is full of pale green fluff. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Mix thoroughly.
The user-friendly printable version of the recipe is hanging out further on down the page.
And now, on to the glazed carrots . . .
I’ll just touch briefly on the glazed carrots because they aren’t half as high maintenance as the Colcannon.
First, you’re going to need a pound of peeled carrots, 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Slice any extra wide carrots lengthwise until they’re relatively the same diameter as their other carrot friends, and therefore will cook at the same pace.
Start a large pot of water boiling (shocker, I know), and toss the carrots on in, letting them boil until they’re tender.
Pour out any remaining water and dump in the butter and brown sugar. Let them melt together and then bathe the carrots in all of the deliciousness.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s the printable recipe for the Colcannon:
Traditional Irish Colcannon for Saint Patrick’s Day!
- 1lb cabbage (cubed)
- 1lb potatoes (peeled and cut into two-inch wedges)
- 2 leeks
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- pinch nutmeg or mace (optional)
|In a large saucepan, boil cabbage until tender; remove and chop or blend well. Set aside and keep warm. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.|
|Chop leeks, green parts as well as white, clean them, and simmer them in just enough milk to cover, until they are soft.|
|Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked leeks and milk. Blend in the kale or cabbage and heat until the whole is a pale green fluff. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter. Mix well.|
That Colcannon – she’s a beauty, isn’t she? And the carrots aren’t bad looking either.
Tomorrow I’m finishing the “Saint Patrick’s Day Sides and Desserts” series in a blaze of glory with “Chocolate Guinness Pudding”.
Join me here tomorrow, and we’ll lift a pint or two together!
P.S. Here’s my little secret. Colcannon is often made with kale instead of cabbage, but I couldn’t do it. You know my stance on Kale.