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Nigel Slater's Colcannon Recipe

Nigel Slater,, Modified: April 19, 2013 13:01 IST

Nigel Slater's Colcannon Recipe Dig in to the delicious Irish version of bubble 'n' squeak.

Colcannon, an Irish recipe from the bubble 'n' squeak family, is traditionally served unfried, with kale and potatoes and milk as the main ingredients. Often eaten with boiled ham, it can be a sound use for leftover ham, too - tear it up and mix it with the mashed potato.

The recipe

Cook 500g of large floury potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks, in deep boiling water until tender. Slice and fry 250g of shredded leeks. Steam a couple of handfuls of kale and drain. When the potatoes are soft enough to mash, drain and beat to a fluff with either a potato masher and a wooden spoon or in a food mixer. Pour in about 150ml of hot milk and add a thick slice of butter. Tear up about 250g of cooked thick-cut ham. Chop the kale and ham and fold it in together with the cooked leeks. Season with salt and black pepper and serve. Serves 3-4.

The trick

Get extra-light mashed potatoes by whipping the mixture further after mashing using a wooden spoon or electric beater. Wet potato will give a sloppy mash, so steaming the potatoes in their skins makes a dry, fluffy mash. Keep the kale bright and fresh by steaming or boiling for only a few minutes before chopping and adding. Make sure the mash is sufficiently smooth before stirring in the greens. You'll never get the lumps out afterwards.

The twist

Any changes you make to the classic will result in your dish getting a new name, but spring onions, lightly fried, shredded cooked cabbage and leeks that have been softened in butter are all alternatives to the kale. Use crème fraîche instead of the milk, or add a handful of grated cheese. Fry the mixture in a little butter or bake until nicely browned if you prefer - but don't call it colcannon if you do.

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"Bake until nicely browned if you prefer - but don't call it colcannon if you do": Nigel Slater's midweek-dinner colcannon recipe. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer


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