Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Colcannon e.g., Irish potatoes and greens. Colcannon is traditionally made with mashed potatoes and cabbage, but chard or kale can be subbed for the cabbage. Give it a French Louisiana twist with the roast garlic and it will be a worthy side dish to the corned beef on offer for the holiday.
And if you have family members who balk at eating greens this can become your go to veg. Not only that but it keeps for a couple of days in the fridge. Double the recipe and you’ll have a delicious pre-made vegetable side dish. So let’s get started.
You can probably tell from the photo that I used skin-on potatoes. I like their taste and they’re full of nutrients. If – and this is important – if they are organic. In a perfect world, I would buy or grow only organic vegetables but in the real world, you can’t always find or afford them. However, potatoes should always be organic and there are compelling reasons for that.
Unfortunately, potatoes are one of the most heavily sprayed vegetables in the produce section of your store. They top nutritionists’ lists of the ‘dirty dozen’ most pesticide saturated items for sale there.
According to the USDA, Pesticide Data Program potatoes can give you your minimum daily requirements of no less than thirty-five pesticides including carcinogens and neurotoxins. They are sprayed during the growing season, before harvest, and after harvest before shipping. Barns containing the harvested tubers are so thoroughly fumigated that farmers are instructed to stay away for a couple of days.
So when it comes to potatoes if they’re not organic, peel ’em. In this recipe I specify russet but Yukon Gold works fine. Cut them up into one-inch chunks, put in cold salted water and boil until soft. The reason for starting in cold water is to ensure that the chunks cook through at the same time. If you drop a potato into boiling water the outside (cut or whole) cooks immediately and then overcooks & becomes mushy before the inside cooks. This applies to all potato dishes.
Next, cook the garlic in a little olive oil while the potatoes boil. This can be done in a toaster oven if you have one or your regular oven. Use a custard cup like this & you won’t need as much oil.
When the garlic is golden, press it out of the skin, chop it up and add to the drained potatoes before mashing. Slowly add the cream & broth until the mash achieves the consistency you want. This may require a bit more of less of the liquid specified here so play it by ear.
For the chard you will rinse it, give it a rough chop and then saute it in the olive oil that you cooked the garlic in. Add a couple of tablespoons of chicken broth or water and cook for three to five minutes. You just want to wilt the greens before folding them into the potatoes. The heat from the potatoes will continue to cook the greens.
- 2 lbs. russet potatoes (or Yukon Gold)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 large bunch of chard (about 3 cups)
- ¾ cup half and half or heavy cream
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a custard cup, fill with olive oil to cover, and put in a 350 oven until golden.
- Cut the potatoes into chunks, put in cold salted water & boil until soft about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Roughly chop the greens and saute in a shallow pan with oil and a little chicken broth for 5 minutes.
- Drain potatoes, peel & chop browned garlic and mash well while adding the cream and broth.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in chard, add a pat of butter to the top and serve.
If you use kale or cabbage the saute time will be longer. Just make sure the greens are cooked enough to blend well with the mash.