Rustic, tasty, filling, inexpensive, but also worthy of company. Who could ask for anything more?
The Irish in me looks forward to St. Patrick’s Day cooking because there is usually a potato involved! One of my favorite country dishes is colcannon, a humble bowl of mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage a few scallions or chives and dotted with lots of butter.
Let’s change it up!
This year, I decided to switch things up a bit and use the cabbage on the outside of the colcannon as a wrap, and I used chopped baby kale in the filling along with some luscious leeks. They were fun to make, and you can use any type of cabbage you like, regular green, purple, Savoy, or Napa, just adjust your blanching time with the thickness of the leaves.
Eat those potato peels!
To top it all off, I reserved the potato peelings from the mash and fried them! A few years ago, our book club read “The Guernsey Literary Society and Potato Peel Society,” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. We all enjoyed the book, and it planted the idea in my brain to use up those potato scraps that generally ended up in the compost heap. They are delicious fried! Quite addictive really, and a family favorite.
Now, let’s dance!
The fried skins added a lovely texture and flavor to the overall dish which is still simple, delicious, nutritious, inexpensive as a main course, and just a little different take on a classic. They also reheated nicely.
This could also delight a gathering of friends, so dust off the Celtic music and invite them over. It’s been way too long and they’re ready for a party!
Colcannon Wraps with French-Fried Potato Peels
- 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- The peelings of those potatoes
- Plant or dairy milk and butter for mashing
- 1 tbsp. each canola oil and vegan or dairy butter
- 2 cups diced leeks
- 3 -4 oz. baby kale, chopped
- 2 large scallions, minced
- 1 tsp. carraway seeds, crushed
- 12-16 large cabbage leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley or chives to garnish
Prep your vegetables: Remove any eyes from the potatoes and peel, reserving those peelings. Put them in a bowl under cold water while you make the rest of the meal so they don’t discolor. Gently remove the outer leaves from your head of cabbage. Slice around the core, then carefully pry them off. If they are stubborn, plunge the whole head in boiling water. Trim back the large ribs of the cabbage, this will allow them to cook more evenly. Just take a sharp paring knife and slice the bulk off the outside of the rib.
Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook the cabbage leaves, four at a time, until soft and pliable. This only takes a few minutes. Drain on a kitchen towel, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside.
Add the potatoes to a pot of cold, salted water, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer until very soft. Drain, mash, and set aside. Mash however you like your potatoes with plant or dairy milk and butter.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high and warm the oil and butter. Add the leeks and cook until they soften. Add the kale, scallions, and carraway seeds, season with salt and lots of pepper, and continue cooking until everything is tender and well blended. This will take just a few minutes. Fold into the mashed potatoes.
Fill each cabbage leaf with between 1/3 and ½ cup of the potato filling. This will depend on the size of your leaves! Roll up burrito style and place on a serving platter, seam side down.
Continue rolling until the filling is used up. Cover with foil and place in a warm spot while you make your French-Fried Potato Peels.
Heat about an inch of canola oil in a cast-iron or other heavy frying pan. Remove the potato skins from the water and pat dry while the oil heats. When the oil is about 350 degrees, add the peelings and cook until browned. Do not walk away from these. Drain on paper towels and immediately salt. You can also cook these in the air fryer or oven at 400 degrees, after spritzing with oil.
Garnish your platter with the fried peelings and a little parsley. You can dot with a bit more butter if you like!
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