St Paddy’s Day Countdown: Pickled Cream Colcannon

Buttery, creamy carb heaven

Irish food is all about being thrifty. That’s why so many beloved dishes from that culture are plain, unadorned, wholesome fare. And, as you’ve no doubt realised by now, many feature the humble potato. Staple of the Irish diet for centuries.

Colcannon is the quinessential Irish dish.

It makes use of ingredients that would be plentiful in an Irish household – potato and cabbage – and blends them together in a delicious mash. In my version I’m using kale instead of cabbage because kale is so wonderfully nutritious.

It was also on sale. What!? The cheapskate in me is staying true to my Irish roots!

Believe it or not, colcannon was once such a regular part of the Irish diet that some bright spark wrote a song about it (are you listening Justin Bieber? Try turning that into a pop hit).

It begins:

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?

Now this set my mind to wondering: what in the blue hell is pickled cream?

As it turns out, pickled cream is really just buttermilk (insert sigh of relief here).

For this recipe I’ve ‘pickled’ my cream (that sounds like a terrible euphemism, I apologise) by adding some white vinegar to it. You can also use lemon juice.

The important ratio is one tbsp of vinegar/lemon juice to one cup of cream. This is also handy to remember when you need to make wheaten bread and have no buttermilk in the house.

But that’s enough learning for today, on with the eating!

Pickled Cream Colcannon (serves 3-4)

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 spring/green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large kale leaves, roughly shredded
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Add them to a pot of salted, boiling water and boil for 20 minutes ’til tender.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, gently fry the onions and kale in a tbsp of butter over a low heat for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Stir the vinegar into the cream and set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes are ready mash them with the cream, a tbsp of butter and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir through the kale and spring onions. Serve immediately.
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20 thoughts on “St Paddy’s Day Countdown: Pickled Cream Colcannon

  1. Our colcannon looks amazing! I actually made this dish at culinary school a (few weeks) ago, hadn’t heard of it before then but I can see it’s pretty popular at this time of the year πŸ™‚

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  5. If you look around a bit more, “greens” means kale or collards; cabbage is a more recent development.

    Also, I’m rather sure pickled cream is not buttermilk but something more akin to a thin sour cream. It can also be made by taking the chill off cream and adding some sour cream to it, then leaving it out for a spell.

    Thanks a bunch for the recipe, though!

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