Around the Davison house, not liking the humble potato was considered anathema! Rarely, did a day go by where my mother (or even my father) was not peeling spuds. We had a family of 4 so that meant at least 6 big spuds in the pot. We had them so many different ways: boiled (skins off and on), tossed in a stew, sliced up and fried, baked in aluminum foil in the oven, or my favourite way: mashed.

In our extended family, my uncle Jimmy (on my mom’s side) was known as “The Masher”. This was not due to his inappropriate advances on ladies; it was because he was the expert on mashing potatoes for supper. When he was in the house, my dad stepped aside to let “ The Masher” take over.

I used to love if my mother would add carrots and mash them in with the potatoes, but mashed turnips were great as well. My father’s favourite however, was the traditional dish of “Colcannon” which combined cooked cabbage, and sliced green onions (or as he called them, scallions) with mashed potatoes and loads of butter. I’m not one for the green onions, unless they are sauteed in butter or stir-fried in an Asian dish, but HE loved them!

These days, when I make Colcannon, I like to add a bit of a Scandinavian flavour using carraway seeds to give it pungency. This is not as untraditional as you might expect, since if you know your history, The Vikings actually founded the city of Dublin, Ireland (Dubh Lin, meaning “dark pool”). So, in fact, I’m bringing the two historic cultures together in my own mash. Enjoy!

Kat’s Colcannon


6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 cups of chopped cabbage, cooked

3 green onions (tops removed) – washed and sliced

2 Tbsp. organic butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. carraway seeds

1/4 cup milk

Freshly ground pepper


Put potato chunks in large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium (keeping lid on at a tilt). Cook until fork-tender. In a separate pot, cook cabbage until soft. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large frying pan. Add carraway seeds and stir for a bit. Add cooked cabbage and sliced green onions and saute for a minute to blend flavours.

Meanwhile, mash potatoes with milk and the other Tbsp. of butter. Fold in the cabbage/onion mixture with a wooden spoon or large spatula. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

At this point, you can either serve the colcannon, or put in a large casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. You can also use a beaten egg-yolk painted on with a pastry-brush to glaze the top for a nice crust.

(Day-old Colcannon is great stir-fried in the pan with butter and served with your favourite fish or meat.)

This recipe serves 6-7, but feel free to double it for a bigger crowd!

*Keep an eye on your dashboard for my famous Irish Whiskey Cake!


27 thoughts on “Spuds

  1. i have everything i need to make this and am doing it today! will let you knw how it turns out. i was wondering what i could do with that head of cabbage in the fridge. thanks!


  2. Carol – love that picture! Is that you and your dad?Try the recipe; I'm sure you'll like it.Jenx67- I know, if you don't use it up it gets all that black stuff on it too! Let me know!Kat


  3. That sounds so wonderful. I wish my stomach would allow me to eat things like that again. I miss them! I love potatoes and cabbage and the recipe sounds great!


  4. Brenda – You have stomach problems? I had a stomach ulcer for years until I was diagnosed as having H. pylori bacteria present in the stomach. I was treated for a week (this was about 11 years ago)on a course of antibiotics and have not had a problem since. You should mention that to your doctor if an ulcer or indigestion type complaint is the problem.John – St. Patrick's Day, or any time you need some good old comfort food. Mashed potatoes are at the top of my list and Colcannon is the best.


  5. We used to have something similar to this when I was a kid, “boiled dinner” my folks called it. I'll give your recipe a try, but I just never have developed a liking for caraway…it's one of a few flavors/spices etc I don't enjoy. Kind of the point here, though, isn't it – duh!!


  6. I love colcannon! Even #2 daughter, who, when she was little, didn't like foods with odors and foods that “touched” liked colcannon. I'll try your recipe.thanks—glad to have found you.


  7. Debra – Thanks for your visit!Let me know how you like the recipe. I would be pleased if you'd consider following my blog. Also, check out my alternate blog, “Blasts From the Past”. You may enjoy my trips down memory lane.Kat


  8. Kat, like you I was also raised on mashed and boiled potatoes, sliced or in stew, or whatever any other way my mom and dad could imagine. It is a Portuguese thing too ;)But I never had Colcannon. Sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe.


  9. Yum, glorious y-u-m! I used to make this and am doubly happy to have your recipe. Could there be anything more conforting? Of course, I'm originally from potato country in southeast Idaho so anything with potatoes in it is heavenly.Hope you are feeling poetic this week!


  10. Hey, Isabel! That's right, I know potatoes are a staple of the Portuguese diet (I don't know how I know that, but I do). Hope you like this one!Raph! Yes. I do love mashed potatoes with carrots or turnip – and my onion preference would be carmelized. In fact we just got this amazing cheese called Abbot's Gold Cheddar that has carmelized onion in it – it's to die for!Hey there, Elise! You and Solicitor would probably like this recipe on a cold night by the fire,with a good red wine.Oops! Carolyn – I missed you in there. Are you really making this for dinner. Great!Julie – I've got the whiskey cake post all ready to go for you!NoniZ – Potatoes are the apples of the Earth, isn't that right? Glad you like the recipe. I do like to play with food.Poetry is coming soon!Kat


  11. It's funny, Kat, but I've found that what we ate as children, we tend to love to eat as adults. When my university president sister comes home for a visit, she wants pinto beans and cornbread. Any of your Appalachian readers will understand this! Your dish appeals to me because I love cooked cabbage and green onions. Hubby loves potatoes, so I'm going to give it a try.


  12. Karen – That is so true! My husband gets a hankering for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches every once in a while and I have to have mom's mac and cheese for me.(Let me know how the recipe works out!)Willow – It's always a keeper.Raph- I have that sage cheese in the fridge right now. It is heavenly. I love the smell of sage onion and apple stuffed in a turkey.Kat


  13. You know what is really strange is that I never had Colcannon until my Mom's wake? And my Dad is the self proclaimed expert of the Irish!Hmmmmph I say!Thanks for the recipe I am definitely going to try it out!Slainte!


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