If you were fortunate enough to have had a good crop of brussels sprouts last fall, you might still be enjoying them, in which case this Brussel Sprouts Colcannon would be a very good idea. That was not the case for us however. We had a sort of brussels sprouts famine, with no idea why. That part of the garden seemed to be lacking the gumption to actually form the sprouts, though the plants were big and beautiful. It is not easy to switch a garden over to organic fertilizer, and we are still learning how best to replenish our soil. Fortunately, fresh brussels sprouts are very plentiful in the grocery store these days, and relatively inexpensive. Winter farmer’s markets often still have them as well.
Colcannon is a traditionally Irish dish, which is why I’m moving this post over from the old blog this week, with St. Patrick’s day coming up. It is typically made with cabbage, kale or other greens, but Brussels sprouts are just teensy cabbages, right? I think colcannon goes particularly well with smoked or cured meats like ham or corned beef, which also often appear on the table this time of year. We aren’t Irish, and after an unpleasant encounter with too much green beer about 30 years back, we don’t celebrate St. Patty’s Day like so many non-Irish do, by drinking too much. Instead, we prefer to celebrate with food, so the menu next weekend will definitely include this version of colcannon.
- ½ pound fresh brussels sprouts
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold or other yellow potato
- kosher salt & a few grinds black pepper
- 1 large clove of garlic
- ¼ to ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- chives or scallions
- Wash the brussels sprouts and remove any tough outer leaves. Cut each sprout in thin slices. Set aside.
- If the potato skins are nice, just scrub the potatoes, or peel if you prefer - cut potatoes in 1 inch cubes.
- Place potatoes in a 3 quart sauce pan and fill with water, just until potatoes are covered.
- Add the garlic clove, smashed flat or lightly chopped and a teaspoon or so of kosher salt, plus some grinds of black pepper.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for around 15 minutes, until soft.
- While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 tablespoon of the butter in a wide saute pan, and add sliced brussels sprouts, sprinkled with a bit of kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
- Saute about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to cook them evenly. They are done when they're getting a little soft, but are still bright green.
- Remove from heat and stir in a couple tablespoons of chopped chives or the green part of a scallion.
- When the potatoes are cooked through, drain off the water and return the pan to the heat, stirring gently for a minute or two to remove excess moisture.
- Mash the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the butter, and the buttermilk - taste and add more salt if needed.
- Add ½ half of the brussels sprouts to the potatoes and fold together, gently.
- Mound the potato mixture in a serving bowl.
- Add the last two tablespoons of butter to the remaining brussels sprouts and stir together, then scatter over top of the potatoes in the serving bowl.
- Serve immediately
It really doesn’t get much simpler than that, and the result is just amazingly satisfying and delicious. It’s also probably a lot better for you than green beer, but you can still have a nice glass of porter or stout with dinner!