Potatoes and their Herbal Partners: Calcannon

| October/November 1997

If you’re ever stumped on what to do with the potatoes in your pantry, ask an Irish cook.

Colcannon (Potatoes and Cabbage with Fresh Sage)
Serves 6

Colcannon sometimes squeaks as it cooks. As kids, my brothers and sisters and I would chew on the salted raw cabbage core while the colcannon cooked for our St. Patrick’s Day dinner, squealing with delight when we heard the first squeak in the belief that the better we had behaved during the previous year, the more the colcannon would squeak. This dish may be made ahead, refrigerated, and reheated, but the squeak seems to disappear on refrigeration.

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes (about 11/4 pounds), peeled and cubed
  • Water
  • 1 small cabbage (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sliced green onions (about 8)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  1. Place the potatoes in a pan of boiling water, partly cover the pan, and boil gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and mash them with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Steam the cabbage over a small amount of water for 8 minutes, or just until tender. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat and sauté the green onions for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the mashed potatoes, add the milk, and gently stir over low heat to combine. Add the cabbage, sage, salt, and pepper, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until heated through.
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