from Abigail White
Colcannon is traditionally eaten in Ireland at Halloween. Until quite recently this was a fast day, when no meat was eaten. The name is from cal ceann fhionn – white-headed cabbage. Colcannon should correctly be made with chopped kale (a member of the cabbage family) but it is also made with white cabbage; an interesting version is the Irish Folklore Commission’s, which gives it as mashed potatoes mixed with onions, butter, and a boiled white cabbage in the center. Colcannon at Halloween used to contain a plain gold ring, a sixpence, a thimble or button: finding the ring meant marriage within the year for the person who found it, the sixpence meant wealth, the thimble spinsterhood and the button bachelorhood.
- 4 c mashed potatoes (boil them yourself and mash them don’t use fake flakes)
- 2½ c cabbage or Kale, cooked and chopped fine
- 1/2 c butter (avoid corn oil margarine as they deprive the dish of body and flavor)
- 1/2 c evaporated milk or cream
- 3/4 c onion chopped very fine and sautéed, preferably sautéed in lard or bacon grease, but butter will do
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- a thimble
- a button
- a ring
- a coin
In a large cooking pan place all ingredients except the Kale, thimble, button, ring, and coin. Cook over low heat while blending them together. Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped cabbage. The mixture will have a pale green cast!!! Stir occasionally till the mixture is warm enough to eat. Lastly drop in the thimble, button, ring, and coin. Stir well and serve.
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