Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fully-Loaded Irish Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day from Cleo Coyle

New York may be crowded, loud, and expensive, but it's also a beautiful, endlessly inspiring mix of peoples and cultures. Almost every week, a celebration of one kind or another is taking place. 

Last week, for instance, the city joined its Asian communities in celebrating the Lunar New Year. We even had our first-ever Lunar New Year fireworks display along the Hudson River. 

For a glimpse of that spectacular display and a little video trip to Chinatown, click here.

Now we're gearing up for our annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Events, parties, and parades will soon be taking place all over the city, including the biggest parade of all, down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. It’s the largest parade in the world and Marc and I always enjoy it.

The recipe we have for you today is a bit of a culinary metaphor, tipping its hat to Irish tradition, but with flavors added to reflect our city’s glorious melting pot...

Cleo Coyle's 
Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Fully-Loaded Colcannon

As mystery writers, murder is our business. As cozy mystery writers, so is word play. And that’s primarily how this dish came about. 

Back in 2009, my husband and I were writing Roast Mortem, a book that pays tribute to the FDNY, which has a long history of Irish pride. During our collaboration, we joked about what might happen if we "loaded" the colcannon. 

Wait a second, we thought, why not fully load it—like a baked potato?!

Marc and I then put the recipe together much like New York City puts its cultural communities together: We started with a basic Irish colcannon; added an Italian kiss of olive oil and hug of warm, sweet garlic; and finished the dish with an American-style flourish of gooey melted cheddar and smoky crumbled bacon.

It's a colcannon that's practically exploding with comfort-food flavor. (Hey, no groaning, remember, puns were once the highest form of humor!) 

FYI - A slightly different version of this recipe appeared in our Coffeehouse Mystery, Roast Mortem, along with plenty more tasty recipes.

See Roast Mortem's
free recipe guide
clicking here.

Our fully-loaded colcannon truly makes a wonderful side dish; it's addicting, nutritious, and delicious. And now Marc and I invite you to jump into our melting pot...

Cleo Coyle's
Fully-Loaded Colcannon

Makes about 6 cups


1 pound red potatoes, cut into uniform pieces
2-3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped (or 4-5 regular bacon slices)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin (about 6 cups)
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2/3 cup (around 2 or 3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
      (mild or sharp cheese, your choice)

Step 1—Cook the potatoes: Boil the red potatoes, skin and all, as you would for mashed potatoes—about 15 to 20 minutes. (Test a potato to make sure they’re cooked through.) Remove the pot from heat, drain any extra water, and cover to keep the potatoes warm.

Step 2—Render bacon: While potatoes are boiling, chop bacon into small pieces and cook over a very low heat to render the fat. When bacon is brown, remove from pan and set aside.

Step 3—Sauté veggies: Turn the heat to medium, and add the olive oil to the drippings in the pan. Then add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring often to coat with the delicious flavors.

Step 4—Add milk and simmer: Reduce heat to low. Stir in milk, butter, salt, and white pepper; cover with a lid and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 8 minutes. (Test a few pieces to make sure the cabbage is cooked through before moving to the next step.)

Step 5—Mix and mash: Combine the hot cabbage and the potatoes. Mash with a metal potato masher or large fork until the ingredients are blended.

Tip - As you mash in the potatoes, they will soak up
remaining liquid. If there is much more liquid
than what you see in my photo above, then
continue to cook the mixture, over low heat,
until the excess liquid evaporates.

Step 6—(Finish) Lock and load with cheese and bacon: Fold in the shredded cheese, which will melt in the heat of the mixture. Serve topped with crumbled bacon bits.

Stay cozy!


~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick -
King's River Life

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews

* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction

* A Mystery Guild Selection

Delicious recipes are also featured in my 14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev 
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* "Fryer Tuck's" Ale-Battered Onion Rings
* Poor Man's Caviar 
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaways

...and many more recipes, including
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See the book's
Recipe Guide (free PDF)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop

Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries, 

by clicking here. 

Or learn more about the
books and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost 
by clicking here. 

Sign up for my Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

* * * 


  1. Such stunning photos Cleo! I would skip the corned beef and fill my plate with your colcannon! Hope you stay warm up there... xo

    1. Thanks, Lucy. Yes, we are trying to stay warm. Fortunately furry lap cats help a lot.

      ~ Cleo

  2. I'm with Lucy/Roberta...just fill my plate with the Colcannon! Your posts are always amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed the jump to the blog and videos. too.

    1. Wish we could fill your plate, Patricia. We're enjoying the leftovers tonight. Thank you for your very kind words.

      ~ Cleo

  3. Now that should warm us to the tips of our toes!
    Cub looks ready for a bit of that bacon!

    1. You are so right about Cub, Libby! Don't let his cute expression fool you. That guy would kill for bacon.

      ~ Cleo.

    2. Do you know the 1970's Kliban Cat books? He had a running thing about cats as the dreaded ham-wort, always trying to steal ham.

  4. That looks delicious. I am substituting it this year for the plain old boiled potatoes and cabbage.

    Just finished Once Upon a Grind. Got behind so read this one out of order because the reviews were so good I couldn't wait. Yep, it was terrific. Going back now to catch up on those I missed.

    1. Thank you so much, Grandma. Your warm compliment has dispelled the chill of winter. (Well, not completely, but as I said above, furry lap cats help.) I hope you enjoy all of our books--and the colcannon!

      ~ Cleo

  5. What a fun recipe, Cleo! Sounds delicious!

  6. Bacon and cabbage. Delicious! Happy early St. Paddy's day. From another Irishwoman.

    Daryl / Avery

  7. Thanks, Daryl/Avery. A great St. Paddy's Day to you, too, and to everyone who stopped by. Don’t forget to wear green, chase that pot of gold, and catch a leprechaun if you can!

    ~ Cleo

  8. That does look very tasty, even though I am so full from my supper! Thanks for the recipe!