Colcannon with Cabbage, Onion, Garlic and lots of Butter


Satisfying, buttery and hearty, this traditional mashed potato dish is a seasonal favorite. The Irish know this dish as Colcannon from Gaelic cal ceannann meaning “white-headed cabbage” and for the past few hundred years it’s become a customary dish served for Imbolc, one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals marking the time of year, or in Ireland it is the feast St. Brigid's Day.


The dish was introduced to England later in the eighteenth century, where it became a favorite among the upper classes which turned this humble mashed potato dish into a culinary tour de force using greens like cabbage, kale, endive and leeks.



Made with what would have been the last few items in the cold room: mashed potatoes, fried cabbage, onions (mine has garlic... because I believe it tastes better with it) and plenty of butter and cream, it often features ham or bacon. It can be made with kale, leeks and a bit of bacon with is more Dutch, like the recipe a few posts ago, "Burning Love Mashed Potatoes." It is also a meal that I place in the February Hunger Moon Market Gypsy monthly guides as it describes a month with little food choices in the home, a cold time of year and a need for comfort not just nutritionally but as a meal to gather around and dip a fork full into the melted butter in the center.




It's totally simple and pretty inexpensive considering the price of cabbage, kale & leafy greens. It was considered a working persons meal but later became popular with the upper classes. Although I’ve never tried, apparently it can be prepared in advance and frozen. You thaw the potato mixture in the fridge at least 24 hours before you plan to serve, and let it stand 20 minutes before baking.


One of the first Irish references for Colcannon can be found in the Journal of William Bulkely of Bryndda.The dish was introduced to England later in the eighteenth century, where it became a favorite among the upper classes which turned this humble mashed potato dish into a culinary tour de force using greens like cabbage, kale, endive and leeks.




An Irish traditional food of the masses, plenty of old world food magic revolved around Colcannon. Unmarried woman would put the first and last bites into a sto