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Author Notes: Colcannon was traditionally eaten at Halloween in Ireland where trying to foretell the future is a crucial part of the Celtic New Year tradition. Fortune-telling charms such as a gold ring, coin, or thimble were wrapped in cheesecloth or parchment paper and hidden in the dish. The gold ring represents marriage, the coin - wealth, and the thimble - poverty. It's a clever way to get children to eat kale by blending it with floury, buttery mashed potatoes. It does seem a little dangerous, but I never remember anyone choking on a charm.
The secret to mashed potatoes is to put the cooked and drained potatoes back on a low heat to dry them out before mashing. Trust me, I'm Irish and I understand how to cook potatoes.
Cabbage can be substituted for kale if you prefer. —Phillippa Cannon
- 2 cups chopped kale, washed and stems removed.
- 2 large russet potatoes. Peeled, washed and cut into quarters
- 2 leeks, outer leaves removed, washed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup whole milk or cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
- 1.Remove the kale leaves from the tough stems. Wash and chop. Cook for a few minutes in boiling salted water until the leaves soften. Drain and set aside.
- 2.Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into evenly sized quarters and put them in a saucepan. Just cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn heat down, cover saucepan and simmer about ten minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork but not mushy. Take saucepan off the heat. Drain the potatoes. Place them back in the saucepan. Cover the potatoes with a clean cotton dishtowel and cover saucepan. Place the saucepan over a very low heat for five minutes to dry the potatoes. Remove saucepan from heat.
- 3.While the drained potatoes are drying over the low heat, place the chopped leeks and milk or cream in a small saucepan. Heat the milk, cook over a low heat for a few minutes to soften the leeks. Do not let the milk boil.
- 4.Add the butter to the potatoes. Gradually add the milk and leek mixture (you may not need all of it) when mashing the potatoes.
- 5.Blend in the cooked, chopped kale.
- 6.The dish can be prepared in advance and kept warm, covered in the oven until ready to serve.