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Colcannon, Irish comfort food at its best!

How many dishes do you know that are so good there was a poem written about them? I know of only one, and that is colcannon, the famous Irish recipe. It’s made with mashed potatoes and kale, along with lots of butter and cream, and I cannot think of a better comfort food than that.

“Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.

Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake

Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?
Oh you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it, sure, the nearer I’m to cry.
Oh, weren’t them the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.”

It’s a simple poem, but it sure does fit the times, doesn’t it? I am still in the comfort food mode, the best way I know to battle these uncertain times. I do get the feeling that we are on the edge of stabilizing, people are finally waking up and getting “the jab,” as the Brits call it. Cross your fingers.

I know I have shared this with you before, but there is nothing more fundamental than people sharing food around a table or hearth. It’s what makes us work as a society. Not everyone can cook or hunt, so sharing is basic to us making it through each day. Have you ever noticed how people like to gather in the kitchen? It’s warm, comforting and a place where people talk and share stories and tales, and sustenance too. So, invite your friends and family into the kitchen and make your favorite comfort foods to share. Gumbo, jambalaya, spaghetti and red sauce or cornbread and collard greens all work, but you just might want to try colcannon too.

Colcannon Recipe:

Stim a bunch of kale (substitute collard greens if you like), then simmer in stock that has been well seasoned with Tony’s and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes. Quarter a few baking potatoes and simmer in salted water until tender. To peel or not is an individual thing, I do it both ways. When fork tender, mash in a blender, or mixer, adding cream until it is smooth and of the consistency that you want. While still hot, add a little butter. Now mix in the drained kale, taste, and re-season as you like. Plate and add a tab of your best butter on top. Serve with a soup spoon!


Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."


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