This may not sound spectacular, but it is! I first made this for a Saint Patrick’s Day feast years ago, and I’ve been hooked since. It’s totally unattractive and just looks like a big lump of food when you serve it, but don’t let that dismay you. I have a hard time not going back for seconds. In fact, I always do. Isn’t it nice to have an all-in-one meal sometimes?
Traditionally, the colcannon is a vegetable only dish and is served alongside a meat main course. I’ve just made it a quick weeknight meal. Well, quick-ish. The chopping is kinda on the hefty side. Originally, this is (obviously) a potato based dish, but subbing cauliflower is just as good. You can also use a couple shallots or an onion instead of leeks, if you have them.
adapted from a Moosewood recipe
2 heads cauliflower, leaves and coarse stem removed, chopped
2 heads broccoli, chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced in 1/4 inch circles and washed well
2 1/2 – 3 cups thinly sliced and chopped cabbage
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon allspice (original recipe calls for mace, but I never have mace. Nutmeg will work too.)
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the chopped cauliflower. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. Drain.
2. While the cauliflower is cooking, cover and steam the other vegetables in a large pot. My steamer (the mesh basket thing) doesn’t expand enough for my large pot, so I just add a half inch of water to the pot and add the veggies. Steam them for about 10 minutes, or until they’re very tender. Drain. Add two tablespoons of butter and the allspice and stir to mix.
3. While the veggies are cooking and steaming, start cooking the ground beef. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add cream, two tablespoons butter, and salt and pepper to taste to the cauliflower. Using an immersion blender, potato masher, or blender, mash the cooked cauliflower until it’s about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add this to the other veggies.
5. When the beef is done, add it to the veggies and stir to mix it all together. Adjust seasonings. I always add more salt and pepper and sometimes more allspice.
6. Butter a 9 x 11 pan and add the mixture. Sprinkle the cheese on top and place under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
Serve with a stout!