I always like to make colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day. Even though I surely have a bit o’ the Irish in me blood, I can’t say that this is a family recipe. I found it in a newspaper years ago. But I like an excuse to celebrate with special foods. Colcannon is basically mashed potatoes with cabbage–and it is really tasty!
Boil one chopped head of green cabbage until tender. Drain and set aside. Peel a pound or more of potatoes, chop them and boil in salted water until tender. In a skillet, cook a bunch of thinly sliced green onions in lots of butter until tender. Drain your potatoes and mash them to a puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the green onions and cooked cabbage, stirring them in. Also stir in a tablespoon of cream, or more if desired. Blend well over low heat and serve hot with butter.
You will find that this is a very inexpensive dish to make at this time of year. Cabbages were only 28 cents this week. If you’d like, you may add in a cup of grated Irish white cheddar cheese or Havarti cheese. I bet it’s really yummy this way but I haven’t ever put any cheese with mine. (This addition was also from a newspaper recipe found years ago.) Note that if you boil the cabbage well and then puree the dish with an electric beater, the cabbage will “disappear” into the potatoes and this can help avoid conflict with picky eaters.
Other ideas for today’s menu: Irish soda bread is a quick bread–as easy as making biscuits–and potato pancakes are a favorite around here served with sour cream and a side of chunky homemade applesauce.
And while you are preparing your meal for the day, spend a moment reflecting on a man named Patrick who was born around 390 in Scotland, was kidnapped at 16 and became a slave in then-pagan Ireland where he had time to ponder the truths he had been taught as a boy. There, Patrick became a Christian. After escaping and returning home, brave Patrick determined to return to Ireland and face hardship in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people there until his death in 461. He was truly a missionary. Did he really use a three-leafed clover or shamrock to explain the Trinity? It seems a reasonable and handy analogy, but historians aren’t sure if he did or not. But you can share this illustration with your children tonight! I think it is great to recapture the true meaning of this holiday which has nothing to do with drunken revelry and everything to do with sharing Christ with a lost world.