I have a new recipe for you today! A little something out of the ordinary for my tribe. It’s called Irish Colcannon! And can I just say that I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it immediately intrigued me…not because it looked good but because of its name. Let me tell you why, I love a good book and I specifically love reading historical Christian fiction novels especially when the adventure takes you across the world. I can become quite wrapped up in my books and sometimes I find myself thinking about the characters even when I’m not reading the book…does that ever happen to you? Anyway, over the years I have read my fair share of historical fiction taking me to places like Ireland and Scotland. And if reading is your thing and you like historical fiction you must check out Liz Curtis Higgs and her books. I can never put them down. Anyway, I remember reading about Colcannon. Back in the day it was probably a simple and inexpensive dish as it only calls for potatoes, cabbage or sometimes kale or leeks. And I’m sure this would have been something that people grew in their gardens back in the day…but make no mistake…this girl’s produce mostly comes from the grocery store. So I thought to myself, I should probably try to make this even if it is something that we normally wouldn’t eat because, darn it, I’ve read about it;) So here’s what you need!
½ of a bag of red potatoes
1 head of Napa Cabbage (I only used half)
1 lb bacon
½ of an onion
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ C sharp cheddar cheese
First of all can we talk potatoes? Red potatoes are so great! I have always used Idaho potatoes but recently I switched to red and I use them for everything…mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, roasted potatoes…doesn’t matter, it’s all good. They cook so quickly and they have a very smooth and creamy texture. I will say, though, that you must season them really well because they are kind of bland. Which now that I think about it I guess potatoes are generally bland but still red potatoes are really bland.
I’m not exactly a cabbage lover. It’s “meh” okay! I really could take it or leave it! When I think of cabbage I always think of the cabbage soup diet and it just…well…turns me off! But when I think of a really good cabbage roll I’ve had (and that’s literally been one time in my entire life and it’s WAY back there in the corner of my mind) then I think I might be a little bit of a fan. It’s definitely not something we eat on a regular basis but I felt pretty determined about this particular recipe because I read about it. Ha So now let’s talk a bit about buying cabbage, specifically napa cabbage. When you’re at the grocery and you’re looking at the cabbage DO NOT go for the cheapy normal head of cabbage. I’m no culinary chef but it seems as though a regular head might be too pungent and heavy…I have no idea where that came from but I’m going with it…it sounds good! You will want to stick to napa cabbage. When I went looking for it down the Walmart produce isle, I had no idea what I was looking for…I was just thinking basic cabbage but napa cabbage looks very different. It’s oblong and more lacy looking and it’s for sure and for certain (I read a lot of Amish books too so excuse my Amish lingo…and if you like those you must read Beverly Lewis…so good) more money but you can just tell that when you go to slice it, it will be light and airy! So I splurged on cabbage…yes, cabbage!
And lastly, I bought bacon! I don’t have any tips when buying bacon! Nowadays on pinterest, everything is bacon bacon bacon…but shhhh don’t tell anyone but I’m not a bacon lover…I’m just not! It’s slimy when thawed and messy when you cook it! And the.whole.entire.universe…ahemmm…I mean house smells like bacon for days! It’s just not my fav. However, Ms. Jacki is not only the owner and operator of PSQS but she is AMAzing and brings a lot of ingenuity to the kitchen. She's amazing. She is able to take just a few ingredients and turn it into a four course meal...unbelievable! She taught me a life changing tip on cooking bacon. So here’s the secret…1. Cut your bacon into small pcs with scissors 2. Put your bacon in a large stockpot to prevent splatter 3. Use a wooden spoon OR I have one of those thingy ma bobs from Pampered Chef that chops hamburger (if you don’t have one…you must buy one) and stir and chop until the bacon is good and done. I like mine ultra crispy. When I take the bacon out of the pot I place it on paper towel to absorb all the grease. Voila…done!
Here’s my small tip for the onion…maybe most people already do this but it’s new to me and saves some time and crying. I buy a bag of onion and the first time I need one chopped, I chop several at one time…because it’s not on my list of favorite things to do…so I do several and take out what I need for that meal and save the rest by putting in a freezer safe baggy. I love it when I go make my next meal and the onion is already chopped…no tears! You can also buy frozen chopped onion at the grocery…which I have also done...don't judge! I do this with green pepper too!
So to put the meal together the first step is to rinse your potatoes, take the skin off, and cube them. Put them into your water and boil for about 20 min or until tender. While your potatoes are cooking you will want to cook your onion in the leftover bacon grease until translucent. Add in your cabbage and cook until wilted. I then put half of the bacon back into the pan with the onion and cabbage and cooked it all together for about 5 min.
Once your potatoes are done, drain. Place your potatoes back into your pot and I used my beaters but you can also use a wooden spoon depending on how lumpy you like your potatoes. I added just enough milk and butter to make my potatoes a smooth consistency. Add your salt and peppa...and remember you can be generous with it folks...it's okay!
Fold in your bacon/cabbage mixture into your potatoes until combined and place in a 3qt dish. I sprinkled my colcannon with a bit o’ cheese to top it off…how can you go wrong with cheese? Bake in a 350 oven for about 20 min. And Enjoy.
My family ended up really liking these and they didn’t even balk at the green stuff…I felt so accomplished getting a bit of veggies into their bellies...I felt a little sneaky! I served my colcannon with hamburgers simply because my locker room has to have a substantial amount of meat in their diets…it’s a guy thing apparently!
So add this little fancy side dish to your repertoire of recipes...I think you will really enjoy it...and go and read a good book!
Do you have an "out of the norm" recipe that you have tried for your family recently? Let us know in the comments. We love to hear from you!