Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.
Mashed potato is the Gentile’s chicken soup. It’s nature’s tranquilizer. I take it instead of valium.
— Andrew Payne
I Love Mashed Potatoes
I really like mashed potatoes. Actually, I love mashed potatoes. A few nights ago, my husband was watching a travel show on Ireland; they featured a local cook preparing colcannon, and it looked amazing! I'll explain what colcannon is in a moment. Anyhow, my husband turned to me and said "That looks really good. Could you make that for us?" How could I possibly say no? Thanks to my paternal grandma, I'm one-quarter Irish. And potatoes are a daily dietary requirement, aren't they?
Now, for an explanation of colcannon: simply put, it's buttery mashed potatoes swirled with green cooked cabbage and (occasionally) bits of pork in the form of Canadian bacon or ham.
Now, let's be honest; colcannon isn't exactly "health food." Potatoes and cabbage, on their own or together, are certainly health-conscious additions to one's diet. But the smoked pork and ample nobs of butter applied to the final product quickly reduce this recipe from a thoughtful dietary choice to a planned act of temporary insanity.
Read More From Delishably
Call me crazy—I love colcannon.
- 2 pounds smoked pork neck bones
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 head cabbage or 1 bunch kale (stems and ribs removed), about 3 cups sliced
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- Place pork neck bones in a crockpot (slow cooker). Cover with water and cook on low for 6-8 hours (3-4 hours on high) or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the cooker and set aside to cool. Reserve the water in the crockpot.
- Chop cabbage into small (1 inch) dice and add to water in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low one hour. Drain the cabbage and set aside.
- When cool enough to handle, remove all bones and fat from cooked pork. Set aside.
- Place potatoes in a steamer basket in a large saucepan with a lid. Cover and steam over low heat until the potatoes are done; a sharp knife should easily slide into the potato. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle remove skins; place peeled potatoes in a large bowl. Mash until no lumps remain; add 1/4 cup butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until all butter is incorporated. Heat milk in the microwave; add to potatoes and continue to whip until potatoes are creamy.
- Using a large spoon, stir cooked cabbage and cooked pork into mashed potatoes.
- Divide mixture among 4 serving bowls. Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the middle of each serving. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each well.
*Makes 4–6 servings
What About Corned Beef and Cabbage?
Two days ago, I was at my local grocery store, and I bought a head of cabbage specifically in preparation for making this dish. The clerk at the checkout line asked if I was making corned beef and cabbage. (Almost everyone who meets me assumes correctly that I'm part Irish. If the reddish-blonde hair and green eyes were not enough of a hint, the leprechaun stature is usually a dead giveaway.)
I laughed and tried to explain that corned beef and cabbage is an American dish. Any true Irishman seeing such a large chunk of meat on his table would have thought that he had died and gone to Heaven.
© 2013 Linda Lum