Traditional Irish Colcannon

Try your luck with this tasty side dish, traditionally served on Halloween.

MaryRose Denton
Nov 6 · 3 min read
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Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash

Leeks and garlic simmer in the skillet, filling the kitchen with their earthy aroma. The potatoes are cooking in the big kettle and the cabbage is chopped ready to mingle its flavors into the medley called Colcannon.

Colcannon is an Irish dish served often in my family and at any time of year. But it is traditionally known as a dish of Halloween or as it is sometimes known as in Ireland, Samhain (Sow-in). The definition of Colcannon is derived from Gaelic and literally means “ white-headed cabbage”.

I grew up eating some variation of this dish and absolutely love it as comfort food, as a side dish, or sometimes just the meal itself. And I must say, it pairs well with a pint of Guinness!

It is a recipe combining potatoes (of course), cabbage, and leeks, with cream. Seriously, what is there not to like?

While it is popular all year long, it is always a favorite at Halloween and then again at St. Patrick’s Day. Custom has it to hide a small coin or trinket in the dish too. Whoever finds the coin will have a year of prosperity coming their way.

I hope you enjoy this family favorite.

Colcannon Recipe:

5–6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

2 leeks, white and green parts thinly sliced

2–4 cloves Garlic, depending on your taste

2 cups shredded green cabbage or kale

1 ¼ cups milk

½ cup cream

Pepper and salt to taste

1 scallion or green onion, thinly sliced

Cover potatoes with water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-hegh heat. Reduce heat when boiling and simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked (30–40 minutes) Drain, let cool slightly, then peel the skins from the potatoes.

While potatoes are cooking, prepare the cabbage mixture.

Melt 4 Tbls., butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in sliced leeks and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring until garlic is fragrant and leeks are just beginning to brown up a little. Add half of the shredded cabbage (1 cup), stirring until wilted. Add in milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Once potatoes are cooked, cooled, and peeled, add them and the remaining portion of cabbage. Mash with a potato masher until everything is coarsely blended.

(If you prefer your potatoes to have a smoother texture, mash them first with a splash of cream to the consistency you desire, then add them and the remaining cabbage to the mixture)

Finish by serving the Colcannon in a bowl topped with a pat of butter and sprinkled with the chopped scallions.

Slàinte Mhaith, “in good health”

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MaryRose is a writer/speaker/advocate living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest between mountains and water; she is a traveler, massage therapist, a vegetarian foodie, and mom to two amazing grown kids. She is active in a local PFLAG chapter and works for social justice with the LGBTQ+ community.

Contact her at MaryRoseDentonWriter, @maryrosedentonauthor on FaceBook, or on Twitter.

She believes in Meraki, which is what happens when you leave a piece of yourself, your soul, creativity, or love, in your work. When you love doing something, anything, so much that you put something of yourself into it.

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MaryRose Denton

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Writer/Speaker/Advocate, Come join me as I make a life by doing something with total love & pure soul. maryrosedentonwriter.com or maryrosedenton8@gmail.com.

Meraki Living

The soul, creativity or love we put into something worthwhile. The essence of ourselves we put into our writing, our travels of where we have been and those yet to be seen.

MaryRose Denton

Written by

Writer/Speaker/Advocate, Come join me as I make a life by doing something with total love & pure soul. maryrosedentonwriter.com or maryrosedenton8@gmail.com.

Meraki Living

The soul, creativity or love we put into something worthwhile. The essence of ourselves we put into our writing, our travels of where we have been and those yet to be seen.

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