From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Back in the day, this was a perennial favorite on my Halloween table. Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish associated with Halloween, is made with potatoes and savoy cabbage and served with a well of butter in its center. It's simple and delicious and comes with folklore that's sure to please the curious or superstitious. The tale, as told to me, concerns the fate of unmarried women who would put the first and last spoonfuls of Halloween colcannon into a stocking and hang it on their doors. Their shared belief was that the first man who walked through the door would become their husband. Immigration statistics and the birth rate, all those years ago, lead me to believe this didn't work real well. Back then, the ingredients used to make colcannon could be found in any Irish country garden. The second bit of blarney revolved around the selection of a cabbage from that garden by a blindfolded, unmarried woman. The cabbage she selected would be used to make a colcannon into which a ring was hidden. Of course, the person who found the ring would be the next to marry. I must warn you that my recipe for colcannon uses classic ingredients but techniques that my grandmother would frown upon. There are two or three steps to assembling any colcannon. The meat, if used, should be cooked before the potatoes and the cabbage are started. I use a slab of bacon to make mine. Ham can also be used. I simmer it in water for about 45 minutes before dicing it. My potatoes are conventional enough, though I do steam rather than boil them. I prefer to cook my cabbage in a wok. It's the easiest way I know to assure crisp tender greens that aren't water logged. When it all is assembled it looks like a traditional colcannon, but there will be a hint of smoke to play against crisp cabbage. The recipe can be found here.
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