The name Colcannon in Gaelic is: Cal ceann fhionn – which means white-headed cabbage, though green cabbage or even kale may be used. It is naturally a gluten free food, so no worries there.
Traditionally, Colcannon was eaten at Halloween when meat wasn’t eaten. It was a dish that supposedly told the fortune of those eating it, for wrapped (in paper) and tucked into the potatoes would be a few little surprises for the lucky (or not-so-lucky) one, including a plain gold ring, a silver sixpence, a horseshoe, a thimble, and a button. If you found the ring, it meant you would be married within the year, the sixpence meant wealth, a horseshoe meant good luck. Find a thimble and you would be a spinster, and of course, a button meant you would remain a bachelor.
Whether you choose to play the game or not it’s up to you, but this is still a delicious way to serve mashed potatoes!
- potatoes - 2 lbs.
- cabbage or kale - 1 small (approx. 1 lb.)
- leeks - 2 (sliced)
- butter or non-dairy butter - For sauteeing and mashing
- milk (unsweetened - of your choosing) - As needed to mash potatoes
- nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
- salt & pepper - To taste
- chives or green onions - garnish
Wash and peel potatoes. Cut them in half or in thirds. Cover them with water (in a pot). Bring them to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly (so they don't bubble over) and stir the potatoes around now and again. You'll know they're done when a fork slides easily into the center of the potatoes.
Meanwhile, while they're cooking, wash and chop or shred the cabbage (or strip the kale from the stalk and chop). Then wash and slice the leeks (both the white and the green portion). Saute them together in a skillet with a bit of butter for just a few minutes, stirring frequently. The cabbage/kale will have wilted and the leeks should be tender, but not mushy.
When the potatoes are through boiling, strain them well and prepare as you normally would, with milk and butter, only this time you're going to add 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Then go ahead and whip or mash the potatoes until they're creamy smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the cabbage and leek mixture into the pot and stir through.
Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped chives or green onion and butter and serve!
Bain sult as do bhéile!
(Which is Gaelic for: Enjoy your meal!)
And I hope that you do! :)