Like most Americans my husband and I can trace our roots back to Ireland. While our affection for St. Patrick’s Day is shared by many, we are perhaps one of the few families that has no use for it as a day of drinking and debauchery. St. Patrick’s Day was always a religious holiday with the pubs in Ireland closed for the day until the 1970’s. It was the Irish in America that turned it into an excuse to drink green beer and at times to excess.
We opt to celebrate the day a bit more mildly. We do enjoy a Guinness or two, and love to listen to the Irish pub songs, but we keep it simple. Our favorite tradition is to make colcannon. We started doing this a few years ago and look forward to it each year. Colcannon is a creamy mix of mashed potatoes, green cabbage and diced ham. As far as comfort food goes, it’s the best.
To make it at home you will need the following:
Four good sized Russet potatoes or Yukon Gold
A head of green cabbage
Pre-cooked ham steaks, diced to bite size pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp of butter ( we use Kerry Gold)
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream ( depending on how rich you want it)
1/2 shredded cheddar (optional)
Peel and dice the potatoes. Boil until fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, slice the cabbage and cook it until its bright green. Once the potatoes are done, place them in a stand mixer or food processor with the milk, butter salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Drain the cabbage and then add to the mashed potatoes. Next, stir in the ham. Pour all of it into a casserole dish and warm it in the oven at 300, or on the stove top on low.
I kicked ours up a little by stirring in 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. Cheese is not traditional to the recipe, but it does add a little extra to the dish.