Purple potatoes look like something not of this earth. That’s why they’re so fabulous. They also happen to be a beautiful color inside (don’t worry, you’ll get to see that a little further down). They cook up just like regular potatoes, they taste just like regular potatoes. You can pretty much do all the same things with them that you would do with regular potatoes. They’re just prettier. And packed with more vitamins and antioxidants to boot.
I realize St. Patrick’s day was last month, but I recently bought a package of Irish bangers and it seemed like kismet when I realized I still had these purple potatoes waiting to be used. What better combination than bangers and mash? The thing is, I also had this bunch of kale looking a tad lonely in the refrigerator. I didn’t forget about you, kale. You with your superfood powers and your under-appreciated gardeny flavor. I’m not about to write you off as a garnish.
And that’s when I remembered the dish they call colcannon. Sure, it actually means “white-headed cabbage” in Gaelic or something, but the dish is a combination of mashed potatoes and cabbage. Why not try it with purple potatoes and kale? Why not, indeed.
The result is something that looks like it came out of Willy Wonka’s workshop, but it actually came straight out of nature. (With the help of a little butter and milk, of course). It’s simple and yet so unusual that it’s bound to take the attention away from those bangers, or whatever you decide to serve it with.
Of course you can substitute regular potatoes for the purple ones, if that’s what you happen to have. But when life (or your CSA) gives you purple potatoes, make purple potato colcannon. It’s the right thing to do.
Purple Potato Colcannon (serves 4)
- 2 lbs. purple potatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves chopped
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
1. Place the potato quarters in a large pot and fill with cold water up to about an inch above the tops of the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook about 10 minutes, then test for doneness with a fork. Cook until the potatoes are quite tender, basically falling apart when you stick the fork in them. Drain and set aside.
2. Return the empty pot to the stove and put the oil and butter in it. Turn the stove on to medium-low. Once the butter has melted, add the kale to the pot. Stir carefully to coat most of the kale with the butter and oil mixture. Reduce heat to low and put a lid on the pot. Let cook for about 5 minutes to wilt the kale. Stir in the scallion and cook for another minute with the lid off. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Add the potatoes back to the pot and mash them with a potato masher, stirring in the milk gradually until you achieve the desired texture. (If your pot isn’t big enough and you’re afraid of making a mess, mash the potatoes in a separate bowl with the milk and then add to the cooked kale mixture). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.