Colcannon is so much more than mere cabbage and potatoes. Still not convinced? Taste this version with kale and bacon and beer and get back to us.


Colcannon. It sounds pretty simple. Just potatoes and cabbage, yes? Not exactly. There are countless different ways to make this classic. We’re partial to this recipe, which gilds the classic potatoes and cabbage with kale and bacon and beer. We’re indebted to chef, cookbook author, and Appalachian food historian Ronni Lundy for sharing this moment of Irish-inspired, Southern-inflected magnificence with us. Originally published March 11, 2017.Renee Schettler Rossi


  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • 1 bunch kale (3/4 lb), stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (4 1/2 oz)
  • 1/4 smallish head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 smallish yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup beer (preferably a lighter beer such as a pale ale, lager, or pilsner)
  • 1/2 cup store-bought chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cooked until crisp


  • 1. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water and put it next to the stove.
  • 2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the kale and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the kale and add it the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the kale again and transfer it to paper towels to dry.
  • 3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, garlic, bay leaf, mace, white pepper, mustard, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.
  • 4. Add the beer and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  • 5. Stir in the blanched and drained kale and remove the pot from the heat. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm while preparing the potatoes.
  • 6. Cover the quartered potatoes with cold water in a large pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Salt the water generously, and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, setting the empty pot aside, and mash them in a large, sturdy bowl until they begin to have a creamy consistency.
  • 7. Pour the cream into the empty potato pot, add 1/2 cup butter and a few pinches of salt, and warm over medium-low heat until melted. Combine the butter mixture with the potatoes and continue to mash until smooth.
  • 8. To serve, divide the potatoes among bowls, top with the cabbage mixture, and garnish with crumbled bacon.

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