In an ode to the patron saint of the Emerald Isle, I bring you the humble colcannon. Once a peasant dish made with cheap, available ingredients (like potatoes and dairy!), this healing version is packed with inflammation-fighting nutrients!
I was a big potato eater in a past life. Perhaps one day we will become reacquainted once more… But not in the near future, as I’ve just hit my half-way mark (6 months!) on AIP. Then there’s many reintroductions to happen before ever getting to nightshades. Sigh.
In the meantime, I didn’t want to miss out on the St. Patrick’s Day deliciousness, so I created an AIP compliant version of my old stand-by recipe for colcannon. I’ve become a big fan of mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. In developing this recipe, I discovered that a mix of cauliflower and white turnip makes for a very realistic mashed potato taste and texture, much more so than the mashed cauliflower by itself. It’s almost good enough that I don’t miss mashed potatoes at all. Mashed white sweet potatoes could also work in place of the turnip.
It’s Not Colcannon Without Kale
Ask any real Irishman, and he’ll tell you that colcannon is made with curled kale, not this cabbage business that North American’s have come up with. I think the shift happened in large part due to availability. Until recently, kale just wasn’t very available on this side of the Atlantic and cabbage could be found in abundance. In Ireland, however, kale was quite plentiful in the fall, which is part of the reason this dish became associated with Hallowe’en. Now that every supermarket stocks this amazing superfood, I can get back to making colcannon the way it was intended…with kale!
Leafy greens are a very important part of a healing, nutrient dense diet. Of the leafy greens, kale is king. Kale is rich in a whole host of micronutrients, many of which I have a hard time getting my daily dose of. Think B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, among others! The more greens in your diet, the better. I don’t know about you, but there is only so much salad I can eat in a day! This recipe is a great way to get in some extra kale and reap the nutritional benefits (not to mention it’s super tasty, too)!
Oh, and it has bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon?! And bacon and kale together? Delish!! Try it with a nice side of Irish Soda Bread.
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 white turnip, chopped or 1 small/medium sized white sweet potato, chopped
- 1 can coconut milk
- ½ tsp salt, to taste
- ¼ tsp nutmeg or mace
- 1 pinch garlic powder This is optional – I prefer it without, but Scott likes it
- 5 tbsp lard, bacon fat, or coconut oil
- ½ medium white onion, chopped
- ½ bunch curled kale, chopped
- ½ lb bacon, cooked and chopped eliminate for GAPS or vegan/vegetarian
- Steam cauliflower and turnip until soft and puree in food processor.
- Gradually add coconut milk until the mash reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Add salt, nutmeg, and garlic and give the food processor one last whirl to mix. Transfer contents of food processor to mixing bowl.
- Sauté onion in fat/oil until translucent. Add chopped kale to the pan and sauté until just starting to go limp. This won't take long, so be careful.
- Add onions, kale, and bacon to cauliflower mash and stir to combine.
- Serve piping hot and enjoy!
I leave you with my Irish grandmother’s blessing, the one she shared with me when I moved west:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.