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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Irish Colcannon (Vegan)

Inspiration:  Discovering Colcannon in Dublin at KC Peaches and the excellent brunch at EVOO in St-Henri (Montreal) !  

Traditional Irish staples of potatoes and cabbage come together in this recipe. What seems like a very simple dish is really quite amazingly delicious. Roasting the cabbage and cauliflower makes them sweet and adding them to the creamy mashed potatoes creates a surprisingly good combination of flavours and textures. Try to use the Yukon Gold potato if you can - they have the best flavour.  For some reason, they seem hard to find in Montreal these days- don't know why because I used to be able to buy them at the grocery store - but I was able to find them at the Atwater market.   

Traditionally served on Halloween, this Colcannon makes a great vegan option for St-Patrick's day.  Serve it with a warm sweet pea and caramelized onion salad (see the last picture on this post for how to make this) or as a accompaniment for meat for the non-vegans.   Also great with eggs for breakfast and even better the next day.  I hope you enjoy.  

P.S.  I used purple cabbage because it is what I had on hand but I would stick to white cabbage in the future. I prefer the simple visual look of the all white ingredients - both are delicious though.  If you are not a vegan, try adding some chopped ham or bacon.

Timing:  Active time:  20 minutes, Cooking time: about 50 minutes

Irish Colcannon (Vegan):  Makes 8 portions

  • 3 large Yukon Gold (or yellow fleshed) potatoes
  • 2 large leaves of cabbage, cut in 4 pieces each
  • 1/2 cauliflower in equal sized florets
  • 3T (45ml) of oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2T (30ml) of vegan butter
  • 1 1/2T (22ml) of finely chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs and more vegan butter for topping
How to make it:

Pour about 1 inch (2.5ml) of water in a large pot and add a steamer basked or round rack. Turn heat on to medium high. Wash and cut the potatoes in half (leaving the skin on helps keep in flavour). Cover and steam for 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Add more water during cooking if you need it. I find that steaming potatoes is the best way to cook them for optimal flavour.

Cut the cooked potatoes in quarters and run them through a vegetable press or ricer (no need to peel them). If you are doing it by hand, remove the peel and use a potato masher.

Heat the non-diary milk (1/4 cup - 60ml), the vegan butter (2T -30ml) and thyme (3 sprigs) in a small saucepan until the butter melts.  Infuse for 5 minutes.  Remove the thyme and add the milk/butter to the potatoes, stirring gently to combine.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Making sure you still have about 1 inch of water in your pot, add the cabbage, cover and steam for 5 minutes on medium high heat.  Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Remove the steamed cabbage from the pot and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place in a bowl and add 1T (15ml) of oil.  Shake the bowl to make sure the cabbage is evenly coated.  Sprinkle with salt and place to one side of a parchment lined baking sheet (the cauliflower will go on the other side).

Put the cauliflower florets (1/2 cauliflower) in a bowl and drizzle with 2T (30ml) of oil.  Season with salt and place on the baking sheet with the cabbage.

Roast in the centre of your oven.  The cabbage will take 10 minutes (watch it to make sure the thinner parts of the leaves don't dry out) and the cauliflower will take about 20 minutes.  Remove the cabbage and continue to cook the cauliflower until it is tender when pierced with a sharp knife.  Finely chop both the cauliflower and the cabbage and add to the mashed potatoes with the finely chopped chives (1 1/2T).  Taste and season again if necessary.

Place the Colcannon in a 8'' (20cm) square baking dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a few pats of butter.  Broil in the centre of your oven until golden and serve.   Alternately, you can use a tube shape to form cylinders.  Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and some vegan butter and broil.  Enjoy!

For the sweet pea salad:  Caramelize some onions in oil, add some cooked frozen or fresh peas, some seasoned rice vinegar, nut oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

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