Blue Potato Colcannon with Ham
The Irish have this magical comforting dish they call Colcannon … it’s made with potatoes, cabbage, bacon and butter. They even have a song about it. How many dishes do you know of that have a SONG about it? I made Colcannon with my Irish friends recently and we pulled up the song on YouTube and found ourselves singing and dancing and my friend even got out her fiddle to play along with this song. We played it over and over, about 10 times, to learn the lyrics and the tune. My friend’s mom sang and cried and laughed. We must have drove her teenage son (who was upstairs) crazy but we had such a good time. Here’s Mary Black singing Colcannon for you … doesn’t it make you want to dance and/or sing along?
I have made Colcannon before, with golden potatoes and American-style bacon (and loved that version too) …but did you know that Irish bacon is not like our bacon at all? It is more like our ham. To me that means that Colcannon is the perfect thing to make with leftover Easter ham (and if you have leftover mashed potatoes, use those too.) But if you can find them, blue potatoes have definite nutrition advantages–they have all the super-powerful antioxidants of blueberries, and they taste the same as regular potatoes. Plus they’re a beautiful shade of purple! With the hints of green from the cabbage and the pink of the ham, the dish is colored to celebrate spring.
With the addition of ham, this side dish takes over the stage and becomes a full meal, all in one lovely bowl.
- About 1 lb. blue potatoes, peeled
- 1 - 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1/4 of a head of cabbage (2 1/2 - 3 cups)
- About 2 Tablespoons low fat milk
- 1 cup chopped lean cooked ham
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain off the water and put the potatoes in a medium mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, cut a pat of butter off for the top, then put the rest of the butter in the saucepan over medium heat to melt. Add the onion and garlic and saute for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft. Add the cabbage and cook for about 3 - 5 minutes longer, covering the pan, but lifting it to stir every minute or so, until the cabbage is wilted and partly tender but still has a bit of crunch.
- Now, in a medium mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher, adding milk or half & half to moisten as needed. Stir in the cabbage mixture and ham and season to taste with salt & freshly ground pepper. Serve hot, making a well in the center for the reserved pat of butter.
If you can't find blue potatoes in the store, I would definitely recommend growing them in your garden. Also, please save and fry the peels in a bit of butter--you don't need much butter. 1/2 Tablespoon will do. Fried blue potato skins are heavenly, crispy and delicious! Most of the vitamins from potatoes resides in or near the skin, so even when fried, they're healthy too.
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This recipe was shared at Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Foodie FriDIY, Gluten Free Friday, Pretty Pintastic Pinterest Party, Sunday Fitness & Food, Clever Chicks Bloghop and Hearth & Soul Bloghop.