Colcannon Mash – Irish Mashed Potatoes

We have this saying in our family, that it’s not dinner without two kilos of potatoes. I’ve been assured it’s an Irish thing. But seriously, if a colcannon mash was on the menu every night, for me, that would go some way as to why we need so many potatoes. I mean, is there anything more comforting than creamy mashed potatoes? Especially mash with other bits in it?

A traditional Irish colcannon recipe is mashed potato, butter, and milk mixed with steamed kale or cabbage. This version includes a few extras that together make the perfect side for basically anything slow-cooked or roasted. The cabbage and English spinach is cooked in a little butter and well seasoned. (Don’t you just love English spinach? It’s the best vegetable for hiding in dishes. Because, you know, extra greens are never a bad thing.) The addition of spring onions at the end just brings the whole thing together.

Creamy colcannon mash in a red Le Creuset pot.

What you need to get started

  • Good mashing potatoes. In Australia, the best mashing potatoes are King Edward or Dutch creams, although they can be a little hard to find as they are not usually in the supermarkets. You most commonly find in the supermarkets, Sebago (the dirt-covered ones), Desiree (the pink skin ones), or Colibans potatoes. All of which are good all-rounder potatoes and mash well. Don’t live in Australia? Look for floury potatoes with more starch, less water – they make the best mashed potato.

  • Full cream milk While you can totally substitute lite or skim milk, I’m a full cream kinda girl.

  • Butter, unsalted always. Lurpak is my butter of choice but any good quality butter is great. If you prefer salted butter, go for it. Because I bake a lot, I’ve always got unsalted butter on hand in the fridge. Just be sure to taste before seasoning so you don’t overdo it with the salt.

  • Fresh Vegetables – White cabbage, English spinach, spring onions

  • Bay leaves. I have a small bay leaf tree in the garden and it’s totally worth it’s weight in gold. I swear it’s saved me a small fortune in bay leaves over the years

  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper for seasoning.

Equipment you’ll need to make this Colcannon mash recipe

A good-sized saucepan. My potato pot is a 24cm stainless steel casserole pot. It’s a really good size when boiling pasta or making large quanities (1kg plus) of potatoes for mash, salads, etc. Plus a frypan (or another saucepan) for sauteing the greens.

A masher or potato press plus all the usual utensils like a cook’s knife, chopping board and stirring spoon.

The details…

  1. Cut all the potatoes into roughly the same size. (I normally aim for a 4cm square rough chop.) In a pot, place the potatoes and enough water to cover them. Pop on the stove and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until potatoes are cooked through and soft.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, warm the milk and the bay leaf til hot, but not boiling. Discard the bay leaf and pop it aside.
  3. In a frypan, sweat the cabbage in half of the butter. When the cabbage has softened, add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Don’t overcook the spinach. It will wilt quite quickly once it hits the heat. Remove from heat and pop aside.
  4. Remove potatoes from the stove and drain of water. Mash the potatoes and add the remaining butter. Stir it through till melted and incorporate it into the potato along with the hot milk. Stir until the potato has absorbed the milk. Add cabbage mix and spring onions. Combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. 

What do I serve Colcannon Mash with?

Pork belly, and meat roasts like this Herbs de Provence Roast Chicken, all work a treat with this Irish staple.

Better yet, a good Irish Stew or with creamy colcannon mash is comfort food on a cool day.

Slow cooked beef cheeks in red wine with colcannon mash is a favourite in our house!

Traditionally, Irish colcannon mash is served on Halloween or St Patrick’s Day with corned beef, baked ham, bacon, or lamb chops. But go nuts, It pretty much lends itself as the perfect side dish, every day of the year!

Cook’s Tip

If you wanted to take it to a whole new level, make a bit extra when you serve it with corned beef. The next day, you can add the leftover beef (shred or cut it finely) to the colcannon, and shape it into a pancake-shaped disc. Panfry in a hot pan, the potato pancake on both sides in a little butter. It’s freaking good for breakfast!

Let me know in the comments your favourite dish to serve Colcannon mash with

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Ahhh to be sure… A few more hearty Irish recipes to try

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creamy colcannon mash in a red Le Creuset pot

Colcannon Mash

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Irish

Description

 Is there anything more comforting than mashed potato? Especially creamy mash with other bits in it? For me, Colcannon is king when it comes to mashed potato.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 kg peeled potatoes (suitable for mashing)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 100g butter (unsalted)
  • 400g green cabbage (finely shredded)
  • 50 g english spinach
  • 30 g spring onions (finely sliced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt
  • pepper (freshly ground)

Instructions

  1. Cut all the potatoes into roughly the same size. (I normally aim for a 4cm square rough chop.) In a pot, place the potatoes and enough water to cover them. Pop on the stove and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until potatoes are cooked through and soft.
  2. In a saucepan, warm the milk and the bay leaf til hot, but not boiling. Discard the bay leaf and pop aside.
  3. In a frypan, sweat of the cabbage in half of the butter. When the cabbage has softened, add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Don’t overcook the spinach. It will wilt quite quickly once it hits the heat. Remove from heat and pop aside.
  4. Remove potatoes from the stove and drain of water. Mash the potatoes and add the remaining butter. Stir it through till melted and incorporate it into the potato along with the hot milk. Stir until the potato has absorbed the milk. Add cabbage mix and spring onions. Combine. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. 

Notes

If you wanted to take it to a whole new level, make a bit extra when you serve it with corned beef. The next day, you can add the leftover beef (shred or cut it finely) to the colcannon, and shape into a pancake shaped disc. Panfry in a hot pan, the potato pancake on both sides in a little butter. It’s freaking good for breakfast!

Keywords: Cabbage, Mashed potato, Potato

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