Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Recipe: Colcannon for Halloween

Colcannon is an Irish food eaten any time, really, but most especially on Halloween (I have the genealogy to call it Samhain, but not the pretension). One puts various charms in it, all of which portend one's marital or financial fate for the next year. The charms would include a thimble (the finder to remain a spinster) , a button (to remain a bachelor), a ring (marriage within the year), a sixpence/coin (wealth within the year), a tiny horseshoe (good luck).

1 lb. kale or cabbage
3 lbs. potatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 stick butter
1/2 cup cream
Pinch of dill
Pinch of nutmeg or mace
Salt and white pepper* to taste
Charms, see above.

  • Boil kale or cabbage in lightly salted water. Drain well and keep warm.
  • Peel and quarter potatoes; boil them in lightly salted water approx. 20 minutes, more if needed.
  • Sauté onion in about a 1 Tablespoon of the butter for about 5 minutes; add the cream, about 2 Tablespoons of the butter, the dill and the nutmeg.
  • Mash the potatoes until perfectly smooth.
  • Chop the kale or cabbage until fine.
  • In a warm bowl, gently stir together all of the foregoing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Gently stir in little charms, as noted above, wrapped in parchment if not silver or gold or if you're fearful of swallowing them, certainly sterilized beforehand.
  • Melt the rest of the butter; set aside. Once the colcannon is served onto plates, one makes a little bowl in the middle of the colcannon with one's spoon. The melted butter goes into this little bowl, and one dips the colcannon one is eating into the little bowl of butter as he/she eats.

*My dear old, sainted Grandma would say that black pepper on potatoes looks like fly shit.

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