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Spud Sunday: Let There Be Colcannon


Ah lovely, colcannon à la Spud

I was thinking about colcannon lately. As you do.

To be honest, it’s been on my mind ever since I heard my niece express the following fond and particularly Irish hope a few weeks back: “I hope my Ma makes colcannon”.

And it occurred to me that I do not make colcannon half often enough. Mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, butter, milk and maybe some scallions – it’s supremely comforting food.

So, it was with colcannon in mind that I went out the other day in search of cabbage. Only what I found was curly kale. Hmph. Of course I know that kale is the more traditional addition to colcannon, but childhood experience has led me to regard it as cabbage’s tougher and frankly less appealing cousin. It has not, therefore, been a vegetable that I have sought out but one that I feel I have to deal with whenever it is foisted upon me.

I looked long and hard at the frilly green leaves and decided, somewhat reluctantly, that perhaps it was time to give curly kale a second chance.

I wasn’t going to do this on my own, though. I would bring in the big guns and consult with Darina and Nigel on the subject. Ha! Take that, kale.

And lo and behold, the combined wisdom of the masters spoke of kale pesto, puréed kale, kale steamed and sautéed and even salads with kale. The message seemed clear: make fine enough shreds of it and the long remembered toughness would be a thing of the past. Suddenly the world was full of kale possibilities.

So I blanched and chopped and added some things to curly kale that – who’d have thought – brought it in a Mediterranean direction. And I used it to make a kind of colcannon. Except it was colcannon meets tabouleh. And as I ate what I had made, I saw curly kale in a whole new light. And it was good, believe me, all so very good.

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Minced Kale (for Colcannon and other things)

Potatoes with minced kale

To the kale and spring onions that you would traditionally add to colcannon, I’ve added some garlic, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. While this little mixture is entirely simple, the whole idea of using kale in this way was, for me, a revelation.

The result is some seasoned minced kale that can be sprinkled on boiled or roasted potatoes, added to a dressing for potato salad or mixed with mash to make a kind of colcannon. Or you could add bulghar, tomatoes and mint to make tabouleh. Your call.

You’ll need:
  • curly kale, about 100g after thick stalks removed
  • 4 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 spring onion, white and green parts sliced
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tblsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 0.25 tsp fine salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
You’ll also need:
  • A food processor or mortar and pestle for combining everything.
The Steps:
  • Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the kale, bring back to the boil and boil for about a minute, then drain and rinse well under cold running water. Squeeze any excess water from the kale.
  • Add the kale, parsley, spring onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a few twists of black pepper to the food processor and blitz until everything is finely minced. Alternatively, chop the kale, parsley, spring onion and garlic very finely and combine with the other ingredients using a mortar and pestle.
  • Sprinkle over steamed or roasted potatoes, add to potato salad or use to make colcannon (see below).
The Variations:
  • There are plenty of other potato-friendly things you could add in here, such as mint and I think possibly a little vinegar, or to make more of a sauce or dressing, add more olive oil and lemon juice.
The Results:
  • Makes about 100g (enough for a batch of colcannon as below)
  Print It

Colcannon à la Spud

You’ll need:
  • 800g potatoes (4 medium specimens), preferably a floury variety
  • 200ml milk (or more if you prefer a looser consistency)
  • 50g butter
  • 0.5 tsp fine salt or to taste, plus more for boiling the potatoes
  • 100g minced kale (see above)
You’ll also need:
  • As always for mash, a potato ricer is the tool of choice, but it’s not mash-threatening if you don’t have one.
The Steps:
  • Peel your potatoes and cut into roughly even-sized slices, around 1-2cm thick. Rinse them under cold water.
  • Bring about 1.5l of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 2 tsp salt and the potato slices. Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, for around 12-15 minutes or until just fork-tender.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain well and return them to the saucepan. Then either let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for about 5 minutes or place the pan over a low heat and stir the potatoes gently for a minute or so while they dry out.
  • Put the cooked and still warm potatoes through a potato ricer if you have one, or mash with a potato masher or, if all else fails, a fork.
  • Add the milk and butter to small heavy saucepan and place over a medium heat just until the butter has melted. Then remove from the heat and mix into the potatoes. Add the salt and minced kale, taste and adjust seasonings. It’s perfectly alright to eat a bowl of this on its own, though it’s the ideal accompaniment to boiled bacon or would be quite at home with a fried or poached egg.
The Variations:
  • You can make a more classic version by adding some sliced spring onions to the milk as it heats and by replacing the minced kale with plain kale that has been shredded and steamed.
The Results:
  • Colcannon for around 4 to 6 people


  1. Tim

    ooh, great Mediterranean flavor to that photograph too!

    if you need any help disposing of all those leftovers…

  2. Daily Spud

    Leftovers, Tim? What leftovers? :)

  3. Sheila Kiely

    yum, pass the butter and a fork please!

  4. Pam @ Cooking World

    I have never made Colcannon before, I have been meaning make something with Kale soon, this is something perfect to try out. Looks so great!

  5. Daily Spud

    Shiela: Hi there! Butter and fork coming right up :)

    Pam: Enjoy! I think it’s a great way to try some kale (well, I would say that… :) )

  6. George@CulinaryTravels

    I adore colcannon & champ, they’re my ultimate comfort foods. Leftovers (when on the rare occasion there are any) make great potato cakes to be served with a runny fried egg.

  7. Sophie

    We call colcannon stoemp in Dutch. Basicly, it is mashed potatoes with mashed veggies like all sort of cabbages or root vegetables. We serve it with minced fried onions & with sausages, bacon or with a good pork chop!

    Your colcannon looks fab & mighty tasty too!

    I hope you settled well in your new home!

  8. Daily Spud

    George: couldn’t agree more on using the leftovers to make potato cakes to be eaten with a runny egg – that’s exactly what happened to the last of this particular batch of colcannon!

    Sophie: Am settling in nicely, thank you! I guess lots of countries have versions of colcannon – I particularly like the sound of the minced fried onions on top – will have to try that next time :)

  9. OysterCulture

    I sampled some mighty fine colcannon when I was in Ireland, but now I feel shortchanged as none of them had curly kale. I need to remedy that situation soon. We need to get the word out that the Daily Spud has improved upon the recipe.

  10. Daily Spud

    Oh OysterCulture, if you can get your hands on some curly kale with which to make some colcannon, I highly recommend it!

  11. L Anderson

    Do you know your recipe and photo have been copied ?




    Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:25 pm

    Traditional Irish Curly Kale aka Colcannon


    Petit Chef website
    Traditional Irish Curly Kale aka Colcannon

    Posted the 29/10/2010 10:06:00

    By Glutenfree-Au-Naturale


    Gluten Free and Beyond Forums

    irish daveyboy

    Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:58 pm
    Post subject: Traditional Irish Curly Kale aka Colcannon



    By Irish Daveyboy / David Harris

    This photo was taken on September 12, 2010.

    Curly Kale aka Colcannon



    On Celiac Com:

    Irish daveyboy

    Traditional Irish Curly Kale Aka Colcannon

    Posted 25 October 2010 – 01:29 PM



  12. Daily Spud

    No, I didn’t know – thanks for the heads up

  13. Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

    Thanks for the add on foodbuzz, you where buzzed!I have never heard of colcannon before but it sounds right up my alley! We have been eatting Kale weekly and I am always looking for new recipes! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Daily Spud

    Hi Serena and thanks for the buzz! If you like kale then this is definitely one to try – comfort food at its best :)

  15. Frances

    I don’t know why colcannon is not very popular in the USA. Although similar to mashed potatoes it has kale/cabbage, onions garlic and I always add sausage. It makes such a nice meal and almost full proof to turn out amazing for dinner.

  16. Daily Spud

    I’m with you on that Frances – I guess there are lots of reasons why some foods become popular and others less so. As is the case with colcannon, just because it’s not widely eaten in the USA doesn’t mean that it’s not good to eat!

  17. Rebecca

    I’m from Ireland and I am used to the traditional colcannon but I tried it with the curly kale and it still tastes amazing! :)

  18. jim

    can you make this without the butter? going to use curly kale also

  19. Daily Spud

    You can certainly try it without the butter Jim – you could add a little dollop of olive oil instead if you like

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