Colcannon with Crispy Leeks

Traditional Irish colcannon is a comforting and delicious potato mash that includes cabbage and green onions. There are many variations, however.

This recipe takes basic colcannon, and modernizes it with some cream, more butter, and crispy leeks.

According to Melissa Clark, from New York Times Cooking: “The fried leeks aren’t traditional: Usually, the alliums are stewed more slowly in butter, if they’re used at all. But they lend a deeper flavor, and a crisp, savory finish. For a full meal, crown it with a fried egg or some smoked salmon, or serve a simple green salad on the side.

Colcannon with Crispy Leeks
By Melissa Clark, slightly adapted

2 pounds potatoes, peeled if you like, cut into 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 tablespoons butter, divided
Olive oil
1 cup sliced leeks
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups sliced green cabbage
Chicken broth, a few tablespoons
1/4 cup heavy cream
White pepper, not in the original recipe
Butter, optional

In a medium pot, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover them by 2 inches and a large pinch of salt. Boil until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, along with a drizzle of oil, then add leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat for 5 or so minutes. When the leeks are golden, spoon some out onto a plate to use for garnish.

To the leeks in the pan, add the garlic cloves, and cook them for a minute until fragrant. Then, toss in the cabbage.

Season with more salt and cook, tossing them, until the cabbage and leeks are wilted and very tender. If the pan looks dry, add a splash of water or broth.

Now add the potatoes to the skillet and mash them (so they’re either smooth or chunky), cream, and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter.

Taste, and add more salt and lots of pepper. I used white pepper instead of black. You can see how creamy the mixture is.

Place the colcannon mash in a serving bowl, top with the fried leeks, and add more butter, if desired, to create little butter pools on the potatoes! See the pool?!

This colcannon mash would be fabulous as part of a turkey feast or ham, or sausage, or a midnight snack.

I served this colcannon with tri-tip that I cooked in the sous vide. Yummy combination.

If I were to make this recipe again, I’d double the amount of leeks. If you noticed, the leeks I’d saved to sprinkle over the whole dish of colcannon nicely covered my one serving shown in the photos.

By Published On: January 25th, 202126 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

26 Comments

  1. angiesrecipes January 25, 2021 at 7:32 AM - Reply

    This is so yummy and jam packed with flavours! The tri-tip looks really tender and juicy.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2021 at 7:33 AM - Reply

      It was my first time finally making a colcannon, and it was as good as I expected! The leeks were an extra treat.

  2. popsiclesociety January 25, 2021 at 7:39 AM - Reply

    This is very interesting! I’m not a fan of leeks but I’ll give it a try 😉

    • chef mimi January 25, 2021 at 7:40 AM - Reply

      You could use green onions!

      • popsiclesociety January 25, 2021 at 7:42 AM

        Hmmm…good idea 😉

      • chef mimi January 25, 2021 at 7:43 AM

        Or make the traditional colcannon. I really enjoyed it.

  3. Eva Taylor January 25, 2021 at 7:57 AM - Reply

    I’ve only had this in a restaurant, didn’t realize how easy it is to make at home.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2021 at 7:58 AM - Reply

      So easy, just a few ingredients, plus butter! I maybe didn’t sauté the cabbage long enough but I enjoyed the bit of crunch in the potato mash.

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen January 25, 2021 at 9:24 AM - Reply

    LOVE colcannon, and my inn guest adored it too. I would serve it with a poached egg on top and sometimes added local sausage crumbles.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2021 at 12:21 PM - Reply

      Yum. All of that sounds so good.

  5. cookingwithauntjuju.com January 25, 2021 at 10:06 AM - Reply

    I first made this a few years ago and I loaded it up with leeks and cabbage – you could hardly see the potatoes! It’s a great dish – I served it for St. Patrick’s Day and with sausages I believe. Either way the potatoes are the star – your version looks delicious!

    • chef mimi January 25, 2021 at 11:52 AM - Reply

      What a perfect meal! I’d eat that every day if I could!

  6. Ron January 26, 2021 at 6:39 AM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, as you might expect, I’m now in the heart healthy culinary world. But this will work, I’ll just have to substitute a small bit of olive oil for the butter and give low fat milk a go in it. Sounds wonderfully comforting just now…

    • chef mimi January 26, 2021 at 8:59 AM - Reply

      Oh I’m sorry. But that’s not a terrible sacrifice overall. They would definitely be good with olive oil and milk. Glad you’re okay.

  7. bernlag January 26, 2021 at 12:51 PM - Reply

    I have seen the word colcannon but never really understood what it is. Looks delicious.

    • chef mimi January 29, 2021 at 11:35 AM - Reply

      It is a funny word! Not as funny as Cullen skink!

  8. Raymund January 26, 2021 at 3:06 PM - Reply

    Cream, more butter, and crispy leeks definitely that colcannon is the best out there

    • chef mimi January 26, 2021 at 3:07 PM - Reply

      Thanks! I loved it!

  9. Jeff the Chef January 27, 2021 at 9:07 AM - Reply

    How’ve I never heard of this before! And I love both potatoes and cabbage! So, this is for me.

    • chef mimi January 27, 2021 at 9:08 AM - Reply

      You’ll love it then! I think the name is a bit off putting – like you’re not sure that it’s really a food!

  10. kitchenriffs January 27, 2021 at 9:46 AM - Reply

    Colcannon is such a terrific dish! The leeks are a nice touch — like that idea. Thanks!

  11. Jack & Barbra Donachy January 28, 2021 at 12:57 PM - Reply

    I keep forgetting to order leeks! That looks really good with the tri-tip.

    • chef mimi January 28, 2021 at 6:11 PM - Reply

      Thanks. Leeks are so sweet and lovely.

  12. 2pots2cook February 4, 2021 at 5:43 AM - Reply

    Thank you so much Mimi ! This beauty brings back the memories of our last trip before all these lock outs started. Great to know how to make it at home though ….

    • chef mimi February 4, 2021 at 7:19 AM - Reply

      You don’t have to do the leeks, but it was a nice touch.

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