Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Coddled with Colcannon…

There’s something about this time of the year that brings back lovely memories of childhood.  I remember my mother putting herb dumplings onto a casserole in her fancy yellow Belling cooker, then watching them swell and take on the colour of the sauce as it soaked into the base of them!  Imagine a yellow cooker – so 70s!  She served lemon meringue for Sunday tea for years!  Mum must have had a subliminal thing for yellow…  Now that this is October, I am also reminded of my dad making one of his – and my – favourite potato dishes, colcannon.

I absolutely love colcannon so I nearly did a backward flip when I found the first curly kale in the shops.  I actually heard myself say, “Oh kale!” In our house, colcannon is kept warm in the oven with a pool of melted butter in the centre.  One of the most pleasurable parts of colcannon is when you take it out of the oven, taking a scoop from the middle so that the butter drips over the colcannon, covering it in an unctuous layer of gorgeousness.  HEAVEN!  {As an aside, I chop up the kale before I cook it, others chop it up after it’s cooked; I prefer to chop first as it speeds up the cooking process!}

So what to cook for dinner last night?  Definitely colcannon!  In the fridge was a packet of steak sausages from Lidl’s and that prompted me in a certain culinary direction! I remembered a recipe I had cooked before from Kevin Dundon’s cookbook, Full on Irish {Epicure Press} for a reconstructed coddle and decided to re-reconstruct his again last night!

Coddle is normally made by cooking pork sausages, rashers, onions and potatoes in stock on the stove and is a dish traditionally associated with Dublin that looks awful {well, to my eyes anyway}.  The meat is a pale pink when cooked and is rather insipid looking while overall the dish can be very salty.  Kevin’s version is MUCH more appealing.  Here, the sausages are grilled and set onto a bed of mashed potatoes {or in my case, colcannon} and surrounded with diced vegetables; I used carrot and swede.  The dish was warming, full of earthy flavours and a perfect supper dish.  I’d never used steak sausages before so these were a lovely surprise – very spicy but in a good way!  Hubbie thoroughly enjoyed it as did I and I’ll be making this again.

Here’s how I make colcannon.

{Serves 2}

Ingredients:

2 scallions, chopped
½ cup of milk
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
4 leaves of kale, stalks removed, wash and chopped {like you do herbs}
½ oz butter plus 1 oz for the final flourish
1 tablespoon of water
A grinding of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Steam the potatoes until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, bring the milk to boiling point with the scallions and lower to a gentle simmer, cooking for only a couple of minutes. What you need is warm milk to provide a fluffier mashed potato.
Turn off the heat and let the scallions infuse the milk.
When the potatoes are ready, mash with the milk and scallions.  Add more milk if needed.
Wilt the kale in the ½ oz of butter and water.  It won’t take long because you’ve already chopped the kale so it will retain its vibrant green colour.
Strain, then add the kale to the potatoes, mixing well.
Add a grinding of nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Put the colcannon in an ovenproof dish, preferably one with a lid such as a Pyrex dish.
Spread the colcannon on the top, making a dip in the middle and add 1 oz of butter.
Put on the lid and keep warm in the oven at 160oC while you prepare the rest of your meal, allowing the butter to melt.

Enjoy!  Xx Paula
Ps. Kevin’s book is full of lovely recipes and is one that I’d recommend.  If you’re interested in adding it to your library, click here 🙂

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