Irish Colcannon: Potatoes, Cabbage, Bacon, Gravy... Need We Say More?
Today's Irish colcannon has Gaelic origins. 'Colcannon' comes from the word cal ceannann, meaning white-headed cabbage.
Like many popular Irish dishes, colcannon is simple to make, and involves inexpensive ingredients, such as potatoes and cabbage.
The keys to our favorite version of colcannon are bacon and onion gravy.
A great way to serve colcannon is with Irish bangers, with the drippings saved for the onion gravy.
We enjoy adding a bit o' Guinness to the gravy as well, and watching the reaction of our guests when they figure out where that flavor comes from!
If you like what you see and want more information about Irish food and recipes, please visit our main section on Irish food here!
Meanwhile, please enjoy our favorite recipe for Irish colcannon!
Irish Colcannon: Ingredients
- 1 lb of potatoes peeled or if you prefer, unpeeled thin skin potatoes, such as small red ones
- ½ Lb bacon (cut the bacon into small 1-inch squares)
- 1TBSP Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (This can be approximately a head of cabbage, depending on the size of the cabbage
- 6 TBSP Butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
- ½ Cup whipping cream (You can use milk, but it isn’t nearly as good.)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
- A large onion, chopped, 5 or 6 scallions or a clump of chives (A
clump is a handful of chives slightly less than an inch in diameter) It
doesn’t matter which one you choose, they all give the yummy onion
flavor to the mix.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Irish Colcannon: Preparation
- Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
- Cut the
potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
- Add the
Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
- Stick one of the
potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and
easy to penetrate with the prongs.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
- When they’re
finished cooking, add 4 TBSP of butter.
- Add the cabbage and onions.
- Sauté the cabbage mixture until it’s just about done, with the onions
translucent but the cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the
mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a
bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing
it to silky smoothness---unless you left the skins on, then almost silky
- Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to
- Serve hot.
Onion Gravy Ingredients
- 12 Bangers (Irish sausages) or other type of sausage if you choose---while keeping it
Irish may mean using authentic ingredients, keeping it priced well is
also very Irish, as is making do. Any sausage will do —but it’s best with authentic Irish bangers.
- 3cups—24 fluid oz—of Guinness
- 3 TBSP of light brown sugar
- A few TBSP water or chicken stock
Onion Gravy Preparation
- In a large sized skillet, brown half the bangers on all the sides,
set aside and brown the other half. You could do them all at once, but
it gets a bit crowded and confusing when you’re working with quite a
- Add the Guinness to the pan and put in all the bangers, lowering
the flame to simmer. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to cook them
completely. The beer should be almost half the volume.
- Blend the remaining ingredients. I remove the liquid and
set it aside, melt the butter in the pan, add the flour to create a
paste and slowly add the liquid back with the burner on low. After about
a ½ cup is in the pan, I add the brown sugar.
- Bring the gravy to a boil and then lower the heat, stirring until
slightly thick. If you find it’s too thick, you can use a bit of water
or stock to thin it.
- Serve with warm colcannon.
We always created an Irish colcannon volcano
with bangers lining the sides, and then we drizzled the onion gravy lava
down the sides. A fun, versatile, and delicious Irish expression!
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