Kale Colcannon

Even though spring is in sight, there are still chilly days that leave us wanting comfort foods. What better way to satisfy the soul than sitting down to a steaming plate of Kale Colcannon? Popular in both Ireland and Scotland, Colcannon is a dish that has many regional variations, but the one featured here is an excellent example of how easy the dish is put together.

Eaten widely since the Roman times in Europe, Kale is packed with antioxidants, vitamins A, C and K as well as calcium and lutein – however, bear in mind if you are taking blood thinning medication be wary of your intake of this green leafy vegetable and take medical advice if in doubt.

Freshly picked kale. Image: Amanda Davies

Kale is sweeter after period of cold weather; it is hardier than some brassicas so seeds can be sown directly into the soil from March. From October onwards, the heads can be removed for eating, but if you leave the stems in the ground further side-shoots will develop and these can be harvested from February to May. For more information about this hardy garden crop check out Vicki Cooke’s feature on kale.


  • 375g of Kale
  • 375g of Potatoes
  • 150ml of Milk
  • 1 Onion
  • 50g of Butter
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes and boil until tender in lightly salted water.
  2. Tear the kale from the stems, shred and wash thoroughly, place in fresh saucepan of boiled lightly salted water five minutes after the potatoes begin to boil.
  3. While these are cooking, peel and dice the onion. Next place the onion in a third saucepan with the milk and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave to steep.
  4. Drain and mash the potatoes, return to the saucepan, cover with a lid and put on a very low heat.
  5. Drain the kale and combine it with the potatoes.
  6. Gradually add the onion and milk, only using as much is as needed to be absorbed, so that the mixture is that of a creamy mash. Season to taste.
  7. Place in a serving dish, make a well in the centre and add the butter, either in a slab or gently melted and poured into the well. Serve with meats such as bacon, gammon or haggis.
  8. To reduce your salt intake try steaming the kale and potatoes and use unsalted butter instead.

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