Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Proper Saint Patrick's Day Meal. Part Two. Colcannon.

Welcome to my Saint Patrick's Day meal, part two. Previously, I posted about my spice-rubbed, braised, and glazed corned beef brisket. Now, I'm making colcannon to serve with the brisket. Colcannon is an Irish dish of potatoes and cabbage and is rich in tradition and history. Traditionally, it was made on Halloween in a three-legged pot which looked like a cauldron, called a Bastable oven. The pot was set over a fire and was used to bake colcannon, bread, and other dishes. In yet another instance of cooks putting choking hazards in their food (I'm looking at you, Sandra.), traditional charms were put in the colcannon, symbolizing different things. A thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A button meant you would remain a bachelor. A ring meant you would get married. A coin represented wealth. When I researched colcannon ... OK, when I Googled it ... I found out there's even a traditional Irish song about colcannon. Now, picture the Hawthornes, in their finest Irish greenery, executing a complex culinary choreography in their cucina, all the while singing this in two-part harmony: Did you ever eat colcannon When 'twas made with yellow cream And the kale and praties blended Like the picture in a dream? Did you ever take a forkful And dip it in the lake Of heather-flavored butter That your mother used to make? Oh, you did, yes you did! So did he and so did I, And the more I think about it Sure, the more I want to cry. God be with the happy times When trouble we had no, And our mothers made Colcannon In the little three-legged pot. What gay times we Hawthornes have!
Here's my mise en place. My putting everything in place. One must organize. It's the only way to cook. Have everything in place and ready. You can't start cooking something, then have to stop to go look for an ingredient. Have it all ready at your fingertips. MISE EN PLACE.
My mise en place: 6.8 oz potato*
6.8 oz cabbage
1/2 medium onion
 2 TB butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
 salt and pepper
 *Make that an extra 10 oz potato in there.
Use two potatoes, not one.
First I shredded my cabbage. After I saw how much cabbage I had, I added the extra potato.
Put the cabbage in boiling salted water. Reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until tender. About 10 minutes.
Drain, reserving the cooking liquid for the potatoes.
Cover the cabbage and keep warm.
Dice the two potatoes and add to boiling cabbage water. That's only one potato above. I didn't know I'd need the second potato until I saw how much cabbage vs potato I had. I didn't bother to peel the potatoes either. I like peel.
While the potatoes were cooking, I chopped the onions and combined them with 1/2 cup heavy cream Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Let steep for 15 minutes.
Here are my toppings for the colcannon: melted butter crumbled bacon sliced scallions chopped parsley
Front left - potatoes. Back - cabbage. Front right - steeped onions in cream.
Toppings for the colcannon in the background. Butter, scallion, parsley. Season to taste with freshly ground salt and pepper.
I mashed my taters ...
... then added the cream and onions, mashing.
Shredded cabbage in. Serve the colcannon and make a small well in the center. Pour in the melted butter. Add the bacon and sprinkle scallions and parsley over top.
And if you're feeling particularly jaunty, top the colcannon with shamrocks. They're edible and have a delicate citrus flavor.


Kathy said...

I'll bet your house smelled WONDERFUL while the cabbage was boiling :-)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Why yes, Kathy. As a matter of fact, it did. Remind me to serve you my "galumpkis" sometime.