Sometimes we fancy simple home-cooked comfort food. For us there is nothing better than a cheap and cheerful Irish-inspired colcannon with a soft-set egg and crispy bacon. This meal offers great flavours and a variety of textures to please anyone!
This recipe started with a summer barbeque. We had a lovely smoky, grilled feast in the garden with all the traditional sides including potato salad and a coleslaw. At the end of it, we had some new potatoes and some sweetheart cabbage left to use. And that’s how out version of Colcannon was born.
What is Colcannon?
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish, typically made with mashed potatoes and either cabbage or kale. Irish Colcannon is normally served with either ham or sausages and a fried egg. The name of the dish was first recorded in history by a Welsh traveller William Bulkeley. Spookily, he first had this dish on a Halloween night in Dublin… I will certainly make this again at the end of the month. I might just add speckles of blood-coloured sriracha sauce…
It is a straight forward recipe with every-day ingredients and simple methods. To start, just boil some potatoes, shred and cook some cabbage. Almost any cabbage will do: we tried it with white, green, savoy and sweetheart cabbage and they all taste great.
If there is one mistake I would try to avoid is overcooking your cabbage. We love a bit of cabbage crunch in our colcannon, so you may want to adjust the cooking time depending on the side of your cabbage shreds and the type of cabbage you’re using. We find that sweetheart and savoy cabbages take less time than white or green cabbage.
You can use either streaky or back bacon rashers for this recipe. Just make sure it is crispy. Adding oil to the pan may not make it any healthier but really helps with the crispiness and browning.
Once you’ve mixed all the colcannon ingredients together, and your bacon is nice and crispy, all you need to do it poach yourself a perfect egg. If you’ve not done this before, here’s a guide on how to have a lovely round soft-set poached egg that will have an oozing yolk when you cut into it: How to Poach a Perfect Egg?
And here you have your modern colcannon that you can enjoy anytime you have some leftover cabbage. The recipe can be easily halved or doubled, just make sure to poach eggs in separate pans if poaching more than 4.
Modern Colcannon with an Egg
- 750 g new potatoes halved
- 400 g cabbage (white or sweetheart) trimmed and finely shredded
- 6 spring onions
- 10 rashers bacon (smoked or unsmoked)
- 25 g butter
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 4 eggs
- oil vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower
- Boil your potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
- Whilst potatoes are cooking, put your shredded cabbage in another large pan, pour boiling water over the cabbage and cook for about 5 minutes, until just tender.
- Heat a tbsp of oil and fry eight rashers of bacon until crispy. Set aside. Then cut up the remaining two rashers into small pieces and fry for 3-4 minutes until slightly coloured.
- Add the cabbage and spring onions to the frying pan with the bacon and heat through, stirring.
- Drain the potatoes, add butter and season, then crush roughly with a masher. Stir the cabbage, bacon and spring onions (reserve some for decoration) into the crushed potatoes. Stir in the mustard. Cover with a lid and keep warm over a very low heat. This is your colcannon.
- To poach the eggs, crack the eggs into the gently simmering water with a splash of vinegar and poach for 3 mins. For instructions on how to poach a perfect egg, see notes above.
- Spoon the colcannon onto four plates or bowls. Arrange the crispy bacon on top (2 rashers per portion).
- Take the eggs out from the water with a slotted spoon and place on top. Season with black pepper and some spring onion.