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Philacatessen | Colcannon

(Photo by Keri White)

In these days of grocery challenges, finding dishes that use ingredients to their fullest potential is the difference between a pleasant, uplifting mealtime and, well, a grumpy group at the table.

I was faced with a rather sparse selection of vegetables last week; my weekly delivery was scheduled for the following day and, under the circumstances, I was not going to risk myself and others by venturing out. I was determined to make something tasty and comforting with the items I had on hand: an onion, a quarter of a head of cabbage, 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, some garlic and a bit of wilted dill.

My Irish roots began to stir, and that iconic Hibernian dish, colcannon, called my name. The dish blends mashed potatoes with cabbage and onion sautéed in butter — but can be adapted to what you have available — swap scallions, leeks or shallots for the onions, kale or other hardy greens for the cabbage, and throw in some fresh herbs, or not.

We served this with some baked cod that I defrosted, but it could accompany just about anything or stand on its own in a pinch.

I prefer the flavor of baked potatoes, even if I’m going to mash them, but if you don’t have the time or inclination for that step, you can cut the potatoes into chunks, boil them in salted water for about 20 minutes, drain and proceed as directed below.


Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Generous sprinkling of fresh cracked pepper 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ head cabbage, chopped (about 2-3 cups total)
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 small handful dill, chopped

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Prick the potatoes and bake until done, about 1 hour.

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the salt and pepper; add the onion and garlic.

Stir until fragrant and softened, about 4 minutes.

Add the cabbage and stir; cook this mixture for about 10 minutes.

Add the cooked potatoes and mash thoroughly, mixing all ingredients well in the pan.

Add the dill, if using, and stir again. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. 



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