Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Kale)

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I spent my first few years of school pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering—a seemingly odd choice for someone as artistically incline as me, but by the time I left for college I had already spent four years working in the computer industry. After that a degree in computer engineering seemed like the natural choice, but I quickly realized how much I hated it. No matter how hard I try I will never be mathematically inclined, so I dropped all of my classes and started researching art programs. This is how I finally landed at the University of Missouri  St. Louis (UMSL) pursuing degrees in both graphic design and photography.

Which, if you ask me, was a much better fit.

I don't regret my decision to jump ship mid-degree, even though it took me a few extra years to graduate since I only went back to school part-time. What I do regret is that I missed out on some really great parties, especially around St. Patrick's Day. You might not realize this, but St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Engineers. As a young college student I spent many a day drinking in St. Pats honor, a tradition that continued once I married a computer engineer. These days I try not to drink my weight in green beer, Guinness, and Bailey's (or whatever other God-awful green concoction someone would dream up as we ran out of "the good stuff") but I do still have a taste for more traditional Irish fare. My favorite dish is Colcannon, a potato-based dish consisting of fluffy mashed potatoes, butter, and kale or cabbage. It's perfect for St. Patrick's Day, but makes a pretty killer side-dish for Easter too. 

If you're looking for some other great ideas for your St. Patrick's Day celebration, don't forget to try our recipes for Reuben Salad with Rye Bread Croutons and Russian Dressing, it's a great way to use up your leftover corned beef!

Colcannon | Not Starving Yet

Colcannon
makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2.5lbs russet potatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups kale, chopped
4 ounces Kerry Gold butter, salted
1/4 cup half and half
additional salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Place potatoes in a saucepan, add sea salt, and cover with 1 - 2 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow the potatoes to simmer in an uncovered pan for 30 - 50 minutes or until they are fork tender. Larger potatoes will need to be boiled longer, so I prefer to check mine around the 30 minute mark.
  • Bring a second pot of water to a boil, add 3 cups of chopped kale (ribs removed, and blanch for 3 - 5 minutes until the leaves are tender and bright green. Transfer the blanched kale to a colander and allow to drain completely.
  • Once the potatoes have finished cooking place them in an ice bath to cool, then slip the skins off with your hands. They should peel off fairly easily, if not place the potatoes back in the ice bath to cool longer or use a potato peeler.
  • In a large bowl combine potatoes, Kerry Gold butter, and half & half. Mash the potatoes until they've reached the desired consistency (I prefer to leave mine a little chunky) then add the blanched kale and additional salt, to taste. 

Notes

If you've used the ice bath method mentioned above to easily peel your potatoes you may need to reheat this dish before serving. 

This recipe is incredibly flexible. If you aren't a fan of kale feel free to substitute another leafy green or go the more traditional route and use cabbage.