Colcannon is a classic Irish potato side dish that is a favorite around St. Patrick’s Day. Traditionally this recipe is made with cabbage, which is sautéed and folded into the mashed potatoes and then broiled to create a golden-brown crust. Since the flavor of cooked cabbage will increase the perception of DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) in the beer pairing, I use kale to avoid this issue.
I suggest using an Irish Red Ale for the cooking with beer medium. This beer style adds a wonderful, rich, malty backbone with just enough hops to give balance and not make the beer too sweet. With flavors of biscuit, bread, caramel, and not high in alcohol, this beer adds these flavors into the simple potato, cabbage (or other hearty greens), and sautéed onions.
Being a potato dish, this recipe can be made with many different types of potatoes: Idaho, Red Bliss, purple, fingerlings, or white potatoes (the South American potato that was infamous potato-disease famine in Ireland). If you wanted to take the idea of a potato to a different level, the adventurous chef could also use celeriac or celery root, parsnips, rutabaga, or sweet potatoes, using the same amounts and cooking techniques described below. The use of cabbage being substituted in this recipe for kale, collard greens, Brussels Sprouts, Swiss chard, escarole or other leafy greens can add a fun twist to this recipe.
This Colcannon recipe can be served as a side dish, as a starch on the plate. Try this with sautéed fish, salmon, or a white fish like cod, striped bass, sole, or halibut. A fried egg could be added, making this a breakfast or breakfast for dinner easy meal too. A roasted leg of lamb or even beer-braised pork belly all would be excellent options to serve with this classic Irish cuisine staple. Or try making Irish-Style Pot Roast, Stout Cured Corned Beef and Cabbage, using the Colcannon as your vegetable | starch!
Here is a vegan version of Colcannon recipe.
More Irish Beer Cuisine Recipes:
Originally published in BeerAdvocate Magazine: Cuisine à la Bière | Mar 2013 | Issue #74
- 1 pound potatoes such as white or Yukon gold varieties
- 12 ounce Irish Red Ale, such as one from Beer Advocate's List
- 2 teaspoon salt, kosher
- 8 tablespoon butter, unsalted such as Kerry Gold Irish butter
- 2 each leeks, large, sliced in half, washed and cut into half moons
- 1 pound kale, washed, stems removed and chopped
- 2/3 cup cream or half & half, depending on desired richness
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 bunch chives, sliced for garnish
- In a medium-size pot, add the cut-up potatoes (peeled or not, your preference), add 10 ounces of Irish Red Ale (reserving 2 ounces), salt and enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to create a gentle simmer. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a skillet or sauté pan placed over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and let melt. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt and sauté until they are transparent, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add half of the kale, cooking until the leaves wilt, about 2 – 3 minutes. Then add the remaining kale and cook another 2 – 3 minutes. When all the kale is wilted, add the cream or half & half, along with the reserved 2 ounces of Irish Red Ale and let warm through. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
- When the potatoes are done, pour through a colander and let drain for a minute, removing as much of the water as possible. Place the potatoes back into the pot and using a potato masher, pulverize them to remove all lumps. Fold in the hot leek/kale mixture and adjust the seasoning with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
- Transfer the potatoes to an ovenproof serving dish. Make a few small wells in the center and add the remaining butter to it.
- Place under a broiler and lightly brown the top of the Colcannon for 2 – 5 minutes, depending on how closely set the dish is from the top of the broiler. To keep warm, place in a 250°F | 121°C oven until ready to serve. Garnish with chives just before serving
Colcannon Recipe Variations:
Alternatively, this Colcannon recipe can be made with parsnips instead of potatoes, and leeks as a substitute for the onions. Cabbage, shaved Brussels Sprouts can be used with or in replace of kale.