My mother makes corned beef every year for Saint Patrick’s Day. She puts big hunks of it in the slow cooker and simmers it all day long with fat chops of potatoes, carrots, and green cabbage. And every year (every single year), she serves all that up with drop biscuits, tinted bright green with food coloring. Yes, every year she serves green biscuits — grass green biscuits. I kid you not.
Mom, are you reading this? Green biscuits. Really?
Shut up. They’re amazing.
Of course, while I have a particular affinity for all foods green (naturally green and sometimes… otherwise), due to my gluten-free diet, biscuits tend to make fewer appearances on my own dinner table. So what’s a green-food-loving gluten-free gal to eat on Saint Patrick’s Day?
Enter the colcannon.
Colcannon is one of those great Irish dishes that I discovered only just a few years ago. Traditionally, it’s boiled potatoes and cabbage, all mashed up, buttered well, and doused with cream. I hear what you’re saying: “Green mashed potatoes. Really?”
Oh, be quiet. It’s a lovely thing.
I’ve made some substitutions here — cauliflower for the potatoes and kale for the cabbage. If you’ve never had mashed cauliflower before, you must. You just must. I’ve stuck with the traditional Irish butter — which happens to be my very favorite butter (yes, I have a favorite butter — don’t judge) — Kerry Irish Gold. I’ve made this Irish dish perhaps slightly more continental by adding a handful (yes, a handful) of roasted garlic cloves and some luscious little tufts of grated Gruyere cheese.
And, UGH, it’s so good.
Cauliflower Colcannon with Kale, Gruyère, and Roasted Garlic.
For two to four.
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- 4 cups chopped kale, stems removed
- 1/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 6 or 7 cloves roasted garlic (see The Pioneer Woman’s easy how-to here)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Put the cauliflower in a large boiling pot with a few shakes of salt. Fill the pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the kale and stir. Turn the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the cauliflower is soft (about 15 minutes). Drain in a colander and return to pot.
Smash the cauliflower and kale with a potato masher. Return the mash to the colander and drain the excess water for a few minutes; push gently on the mash with the back of your spoon. Return the drained mash to the pot, add the garlic, and mash again. Then, add the cheese, butter, and salt to taste.