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Since we were having colcannon, we decided to make a simple ploughman’s dinner.

Yesterday, you saw the huge head of Savoy cabbage that we received in our share, and, we mentioned that, on our way back home, we figured out a use for the outer leaves that made it too large to fit into one of our crisper drawers. This is that recipe: colcannon. Now, we’ve never made colcannon before, and we’re sure that there are thousands of recipes on the Internet, but, we figured, how hard can it be to make mashed potatoes and cabbage, right? Well, let’s see how we do.

So, we started with the idea of mashed potatoes (we know how to make those), and cabbage. Then, we figured, a bit of onion would be good, and, of course, the cabbage and onion should be cooked: butter would be good there. And everything needs seasoning: salt and pepper, right? Okay, we got our recipe. Now, we will point out that we used a lot of cabbage in our recipe; we’re going to suggest a smaller amount for you, but change it however you see fit.


Yield: 4 servings



  • 1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs diced white onion
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Abbreviated Instructions

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add cabbage and wine, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. As the cabbage begins to dry out, scoop a bit of the potato water into the skillet. Once tender, remove from heat.

Drain the potatoes, place them back in the saucepan and add cabbage and onion mixture. With a masher, mash potatoes, and add heavy cream part way through.

Serve immediately.

Ingredient discussion:

Peel the potatoes or not, depending on your preference. We used naturally-grown (pesticide- and fungicide-free) red potatoes, so we left the skin on. As we said above, our cabbage was from the outer leaves of a large head and it was more than 2 cups worth — you’ll see that in the pictures. For the wine, that’s really optional. We used some Champagne that had gone flat; otherwise, we’d have used something we like to drink. Finally, you can use milk or Half-and-Half instead of heavy cream, your choice.

Procedure in detail:

cooking potatoes
Starting with cold water helps to keep the potatoes from breaking down into mush. Why? We don’t know.

Cook potatoes. Place the potato pieces into a medium saucepan. Try to make all the pieces roughly the same size so that they’ll cook at the same rate. Add cold water to cover by about 2 inches, and add a teaspoon of salt, too. That will help flavor the potatoes as they cook. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, knife, or skewer.

Cook onions. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s foamy, add the onions and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. This not only helps season them; the salt will draw out a bit of moisture, making the onions cook a little faster. Cook the onions, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.

cooking cabbage
This is really only about half of the cabbage we used: we had a lot!

Add cabbage and wine. Add cabbage and wine to the onions. Again, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. The cabbage will release some liquid, but not enough to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When it dries out, just scoop some of the water from the potatoes into the cabbage. If needed, cover the cabbage while it cooks. Just remember that you don’t want a lot of liquid in the pan when you add the cabbage to the potatoes. A little is okay, but not a lot.

adding cabbage
Place the cabbage right on top of the potatoes so you can mash them in.

Drain and mash. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the saucepan. Add the cabbage and mash together. Naturally, it’ll never become smooth; cabbage doesn’t mash like potatoes.

Add cream. About halfway through mashing, add the heavy cream. The amount we list is a suggestion; you might need more or less, depending on how dry your potatoes are. Finally, taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Pretty simple, and very tasty. Sometimes it seems as if the simplest dishes, like this, are the best. Just a bit of potatoes, a bit of cabbage, and you have a hearty tasty side dish (although we used it as our main) for a nice meal. We also like it because it’s a nice change from ordinary mashed potatoes, and a good way to use up a bit of cabbage, too. We think that, even if you don’t like cooked cabbage, you might like colcannon, because it doesn’t really taste like cabbage. We’ll give this four stars.


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