Sunday, March 14, 2021

Colcannon with Bacon

Colcannon with Canadian Bacon Slices
Serve with Bacon, Ham, Canadian Bacon or Sausage

Recipe by Robin

Colcannon! I’ve never made it and wasn’t planning on it. But our weekly food shares have delivered cabbage and potatoes for weeks. I’m not keeping up cooking-wise. Plus, St. Paddy’s day is right around the corner. I’m usually way to busy to coordinate an Irish treat on this holiday, but colcannon can be as simple as the two main ingredients plus butter and a few scallions. Proportions are forgiving, depending on quantities on hand. And yes! It’s perfect comfort food for chilly winter into spring weather!

Serving Option #2, Mix in Bacon or Ham
People add all sorts of ingredients to colcannon, like leeks, cream, milk, and garlic. But to me, those variations tend towards potato leek soup, for which I’ve already blogged three recipes. I’m guessing that back in the day good Irish folk used the humble onion and perhaps some dried herbs for seasoning. I’m told that neither milk nor cream is traditional, plus I’m using less dairy these days. My recipe sticks to basics. That means butter. I used 4 tablespoons total, but for company I’d add another 2 – 4 tablespoons, depending on the richness of other menu items.

To make the texture fluffier but still lactose-free, I added a touch of oat milk (I know, completely nontraditional). Another option, which also will add flavor, is mashing in some chicken or veggie broth.Or simply reserve some potato boiling water and add it as needed while mashing. Or go ahead and use a little milk or cream if you like dairy and it likes you.

Potatoes, Cabbage, Butter, and Onion
Ingredients are Basic Winter Veggies, and Butter
To meat, or not to meat? Bacon, ham, and sausage are, from what I’ve read, traditional accompaniments to colcannon. Served either sprinkled on top (bacon), mixed in (ham or bacon), or on the side (sausies). I mixed cuisine metaphors by using Canadian bacon, basically a different part of the pig. I’ve read that it’s marginally healthier because it’s leaner and less salty, but honestly I chose it because I like its flavor and texture. Because we’re just two at home, I’m serving slabs of the bacon with the colcannon. For future potlucks, and with leftovers, I’ll chop it up and mix it in with the potatoes and cabbage.

Though I’m not keen on St. Patrick’s driving the “snakes” out of Ireland (AKA religious persecution), I do love wearing green and celebrating the Irish nation and its foods and drink. Erin Go Braugh!

Colcannon with Canadian bacon slics
Savory and Hearty Winter Fare
Yield: ~10 cups

  • 3 lbs. potatoes
  • Salt for boiling potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced (~1¼ cups)
  • 5 - 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage, or more
  • 4 - 8 T butter, divided
  • 8 - 10 oz. Canadian bacon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 - 3 sliced scallions, for garnish

Peel the potatoes if you like, or if skins are thick. Thin skins can stay on if you like. Cut potatoes into ~1” x 2” pieces for fastest cooking.

In a large pot, boil potatoes in salted water till tender, 15 – 20 minutes. Add cabbage to the boiling potatoes in the same pot during last 5 minutes or so. Cooking time needn’t be precise, since everything gets mashed together in the end. Just be sure both cabbage and potatoes are tender.

While potatoes are cooking, sauté onion over medium heat in 2 tablespoons butter till very tender and golden, 10 minutes or more.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place Canadian bacon slices on a baking sheet (protect sheet with parchment for easy clean up). Bake bacon in preheated for 15 minutes or till slightly browned. Keep warm and set aside while draining the potatoes and cabbage.

Drain potatoes and cabbage, reserving ½ cup liquid if desired in case mashed potatoes seem dry. Return potato mixture to pot. Add sautéed onion and the butter it cooked in. Mash mixture thoroughly with hand masher. Add more butter (2 – 6 tablespoons to taste), plus salt and pepper to taste. If creamier texture is desired, add 1/8 cup or more reserved potato water, chicken or veg broth, or oat or other milk, or cream.

Chop and add bacon if desired, or serve on the side.

Preheat serving dish in microwave for a minute, or till warm. Spoon colcannon from pot to serving dish. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve hot.

Onion sauteed to Golden
Saute Onions till Soft and Golden

Boil Cabbage Right on Top of Parboiled Potatoes

Potatoes, Cabbage, and Sauteed onion in Mashing pot
Add Sauteed Onion to Boiled Potatoes and Cabbage

Mashing Ingredients together in Pot
Add More Butter and Mash it All Up

Colcannon in Serving Bowl with Scallions on Top
Top with Sliced Scallions

Colcannon with Canadian Bacon Pieces Stirred in
Stir in Bacon, Ham, or Canadian Bacon if Desired

No comments:

Post a Comment