Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Treats without the Tricks: Colcannon

Who says Halloween can’t be savory? While it’s true that this time of year is associated with caramel apples, chocolate, getting candy door to door, apple cider, and pie, (lots and lots of pie), there are other autumn flavors that should be honored and enjoyed more often.

Really, I think anything in season this time of year is fair game to be deemed, uhhh…  Halloween-y. For Virginia, that means apples, broccoli, cucumbers, grapes, pumpkins, raspberries, eastern oysters, snap peas, spinach, squash, and tomatoes. I was more interested in the old traditions, like the amazing foods served in late October to early November, particularly for the holidays like All Hallows Day, El Dia de los Muertos, Samhain, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. I began looking deeper into my own heritage, especially where my Irish roots were concerned.  

This leads me to a recipe, which also comes with a song.
Did you ever eat colcannon
When 'twas made with yellow cream
And the kale and praties blended
Like the picture in a dream?

Did you ever take a forkful
And dip it in the lake
Of heather-flavored butter
That your mother used to make?

Oh, you did, yes you did!
So did he and so did I,
And the more I think about it,
Sure, the more I want to cry.
This dish is quite popular around this time of year in Ireland, when kale comes into season. It used to be enjoyed year-round as a cheap staple food, and I can see why. Colcannon is delicious, easy to make, and a great side to just about everything. If you’re a fan of bacon, you could turn it into a main dish. Alternatively, it is a great base for breakfast. Just put a poached egg on top or turn it into boxty (or potato pancake).


2.5 lb Russet Burbank potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
3 Garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
3.5 oz Butter
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 Head (12 oz) Green cabbage, finely chopped
1 Bundle (12 oz) Kale, finely chopped
2 Shallots, minced
1 tsp. Sea salt
1/2 tsp. Cracked pepper
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
Green onion, finely sliced as garnish

Place the potato chunks and garlic cloves in a medium-sized pot and fill it up with just enough water to cover.
Cook over medium heat until tender, about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Drain the excess water, add in the butter, and mash until all the lumps are gone.
In a large skillet on medium heat, grease it with the olive oil until it is at smoking point, then put in the cabbage, kale, and shallots until soft.
Fold the cabbage, kale, shallots, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in with the potatoes until thoroughly mixed.
Garnish with green onion slivers on top, and serve immediately.

Serves 8 – 10 people.

No comments:

Post a Comment