From the research I have done, this is a very traditional Irish dish, but as with many things, it has become revised in America, and not for the better in my opinion. I have read many recipes that are called Colcannon, which would, in fact, be referred to as Champ in Ireland. So here is a more traditional version, closer to what you might get if you actually ordered it in Ireland.
I served my Colcannon under some traditional Irish bangers that I found at Costco. They usually show up just after valentines day and seem to sell fast so I always grab a package or 2 when I see them and throw them in the freezer for St. Patricks Day.
Traditional Irish Colcannon
I have this old cookbook of traditional Irish cooking that shares this history of the food culture in Ireland and that is where I started to make this recipe from. Colcannon is a mixture of cooked mashed potatoes and cabbage, that is then cooked again by frying in butter till browned.
I kind of view this as this Irish version of a latke that used mashed vs. shredded potatoes. They mention in the cookbook that you can also make it using kale, but I have to imagine that kale wasn’t something that was readily available at the origination of this dish. I choose to go with a regular ol’ green cabbage but feel free to pack in the kale if you’d like.
The book also states that Colcannon would have been most traditionally associated with Hallowe’en, when it is likely to be made with curly kale and would have a ring hidden in it — predicting marriage during the coming year for the person who found it. Just a little fun fact about it for ya!
But it would have continued to be made through the winter with green cabbage instead of kale.
If you want the more Americanized version, something that would be more like what the refer to as “Champ” in Ireland, make a regular mashed potato with milk and butter and mix in a generous helping of green onions.
Boil and mash your potatoes, and if they are very thick, add just a splash of milk to loosen them up a little bit.
While the potatoes are boiling, roast or sautee some cabbage. Chop it up and add to the mashed potatoes.
Then fry the potato and cabbage mixture in butter until browned on each side. I do this in two batches and flatten out the potatoes into big cakes about 1/2 inch thick. Break it into 4-5 pieces and flip.
Serve alongside some browned Irish bangers or with your Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.
- 1.5 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and boiled
- 1 lb Green Cabbage roasted till soft and chopped – see Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe
- Whole Milk as needed
- 6 T Irish Butter
- 1 lg Onion diced
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
- Mash the cooked potatoes and add the chopped cabbage. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of milk to mixture if it is very thick.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan and cook the onions in it until translucent and soft, 2-3 min. Remove from the heat and add to the potato mixture.
- Working in 2 batches, melt 2 tablespoons more butter in the pan and place half the potato mixture in the pan. Flatten it out like a pancake and cook until browned on one side. Divide the cake into 4-5 pieces and flip. Continue cooking until browned on the second side. Remove from the pan and repeat this process.
- Serve as a side or as an entree with more butter, or alongside corned beef or Irish bangers.
If you make this recipe, please let me know by leaving a review at the bottom of this page!
MY LATEST RECIPES!
MY FAVORITE KITCHEN TOOLS!
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These Rösle Silicone Tongs are a little pricey but they will last you the rest of your life and are the softest in your hand. This is important for someone like m that cooks so much. It reduces strain, I have 4 sets in my kitchen!
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A sharp knife is the most important tool in the kitchen, these Japanese steel “Shun” knives are my favorite! And this is a great starter set to build on. Once you try them you will be in love so use this as a foundation you can build on for years to come.
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This Tovolo jar scraper has to be my single favorite kitchen tool, it is definitely the most used tool in my kitchen. If you are NOT a gadget person, this is the only necessity I say is a MUST beyond the wooden spoon.
A great wood spoon is essential, this Olive Wood one is my favorite, I have more than I can count. But can you really ever have too many?
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