Colcannon for Saint Paddy's Day

Saint Patrick's Day is here again. According to legend, Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. My father use to say use that, after hoisting a few drinks, all the snakes came back. Be it as it may, it's time for festivity, joy, green beer, green hats and all that goes with this glorious holiday, at least on this side of the pond.

The traditional dish for Saint Paddy's day is, of course, corned beef and cabbage. However, there is another Irish treat that I myself am partial to: Colcannon. This is a country dish that's right up there with Irish stew and Irish soda bread; and it can be served on Saint Paddy's day or any other day of the year. It's a homey, delicious dish. Some would call it mashed potatoes plus. But that doesn't do it justice. It's far tastier and richer than ordinary mash potatoes. It goes great with a few rashes of Irish bacon or a few slices of smoked ham. Add a pint, and you're in heaven.


8 large mealy potatoes
8 small white onions, peeled
3 scallions, washed and trimmed
1 cup half and half milk
1 1/2 cups boiled, chopped Savoy cabbage
3 tablespoons melted butter
Pinch of grated or ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes, peel and mash. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Put the half and half in a small pan or skillet. Add onions and scallions and cook over medium-low heat until tender. Strain, reserving liquid. Mince onions and scallions.
3. Add the onions, scallions, and the half and half liquid to the potatoes. Mix well and whip until fluffy. Add more half and half milk if needed. Stir in all other ingredients and blend well.
Yield: 6 servings.

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