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Irish Colcannon with Bacon and Kale

Irish Colcannon with Bacon and Kale

Amy Scheuerman
Colcannon is the ultimate Irish recipe, combining mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage and smoked bacon. A perfect recipe for chilly, rainy days (for example, the typical weather around St. Patrick's Day), colcannon is rich and warming.


  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes* peeled and cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 5 ounces smoked bacon diced
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups stemmed rinsed, and chopped green kale*
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter use cultured Irish butter if possible,
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the potatoes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, heat a pan over medium heat and cook the bacon, stirring often, until it is nicely crisped. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft and translucent. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, but not browned.
  • Add the kale to the onion and garlic and cook until wilted but still bright green, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Use a potato masher or the pastry attachment for a stand mixer to mash the potatoes so that they are lightly mashed with lots of chunks. Add the butter and half and half to the potatoes and continue to mash until the large lumps are gone. Mix in the bacon and the kale onion mixture. Taste the colcannon and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add some of the reserved potato water to loosen the texture if needed. Serve hot and top with a pat of butter for a truly irresistible side dish.


* Use a starchy, waxy potato such as Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold.
* Leave some of the water from rinsing on the kale leaves, as it will help them wilt without browning.
Photo Credit: Image of colcannon courtesy of Shutterstock

Amy Scheuerman

Amy Scheuerman—culture's former web director—spent eight years in North Carolina where she developed a love of barbecue and biscuits before moving up north to get a degree in nutrition. She now works at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.