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Celtic Cookery : The Mysteries of Colcannon - Compiled by Conrad Bladey

The Mysteries of Colcannon - Compiled by Conrad Bladey . Posted by kind permission of the author . All rights reserved.
Sometimes the quest for roots locates multiple rootlets. Colcannon is one of those. Just so it has something to do with potatoes and
greens...a good example of local and personal variation in which folks often speak of as a unified foodway. So there are choices...

At dinner they had a dish, which we believe is, like the Boxty, peculiarly Irish in its composition: we mean what is called sthilk. This consists of potatoes and beans, pounded up together in such a manner that the beans are not broken, and on this account the potatoes are well champed before the beans are put into them. This is dished in a large bowl, and a hole made in the middle of it, into which a miscaun or roll of butter is thrust, and then covered up until it is melted. After this,
every one takes a spoon and digs away with the utmost rigour, dipping every morsel into the well of butter in the middle, before he puts it into his mouth. Indeed, from the strong competition which goes forward, and the rapid motion of each right hand, no spectator could be mistaken in ascribing the motive of their proceedings to the principle of the old proverb, devil take the hindmost. Sthilk differs from another dish made of potatoes in much the same way, called colcannon. If there were beans, for instance, in colcannon, it would be sthilk. This practice of many persons eating out of the same dish, though Irish, and not cleanly, is of very old antiquity. Christ himself mentions it at the Last Supper. Let us hope, however, that, like the old custom which once prevailed in Ireland, of several persons drinking at meals out of the same meter, the usage we speak of will soon be replaced by one of more cleanliness and individual comfort.--
From: The Irish Penny Journal, 1841.

- From May Byron's Vegetable Book, May Clarissa Gillikngton Byron,k 1916
Receipt 522. COLCANNON
Boil separately an equal amount of potatoes and of fresh cabbage ; about half the amount of onions.
Mash all very finely, mix in a little butter or drip ping, with salt and pepper, put in a buttered bowl, and bake, well covered up. Serve very hot.
Colcannon night : almost universal in St. Johns, Nfld., for Hallowe'en. (The name is used by those who eat colcannon on that night Others speak of it a» " snap-apple night." The term Hallowe'en is not generally used.)-Dialect Notes.,The American Dialect Society, 1896.
- From: Dressed Vegetables a la Mode.De Salis,Hariet,Anne, 1888
Receipt : Colcannon.
Mix in about equal proportions some well mashed potatoes and some young sprouts, or greens of any kind, first boiled till quite tender and chopped up. Mash up all thoroughly together ; add a seasoning of pepper and salt, a small bit of butter, and a spoonful or two of cream or milk ; put a raw onion in the middle of all, and stir over a clear fire till very hot and sufficiently dry to be moulded and turned out. The onion must be taken out before the dish is served. Turnips and carrots are often chopped up with the greens and potatoes.
This can also be made with parsnips and potatoes.
- From: Dressed Vegetables a la Mode.De Salis,Hariet,Anne, 1888
Receipt: Colcannon. (Another way. )
Boil and mash greens, cabbage, carrots, turnips, a shred onion with mashed potatoes — half the quantity should consist of the latter ; add two eggs, pepper and salt, and a good piece of butter ; put it into a plain mould or pudding-basin, boil for an hour, and turn out.-
-From Mackenzie's Five Thousand Receipts:In All the Useful and Domestic Arts.,Colin Mackenzie, 1854
Receipt 9. Colcannon.
Boil potatoes and greens, or spinage, separately; mash the potatoes, squeeze the greens dry, chop them quite fine, and mix them with the potatoes with a little butter, pepper and salt; put it into a mould, greasing it well first; let it slant! in a hot oven for ten minutes.-
- From: The Cook's Oracle:Containing Receipts for Plain Cookery.,William Kitchiner, 1822.
Receipt 108 - Colcannon.
Boil Potatoes and Greens, or Spinage — separately — Mash the Potatoes — squeeze the Greens dry, chop them quite fine, and mix them with the Potatoes with a little butter, pepper and salt — put it into a mould, greasing it well first; let it stand in a hot oven for ten minutes.
- From: Letters from the Irish Highlands.,J. Murray, 1825.
It is not common in the West to see a field of turnips, and a field of turnips is an object of great attraction to the peasant. The women, especially, are very fond of them; and, all the world over, what the women require the men must endeavour to procure.
The chief use that is made of this vegetable is in the manufacture of colquit, or colcannon, otherwise turnips, or cabbage, mashed up with potatoes— a cottage delicacy, for the attainment of which many hundred felonies have been committed
- From:The Art of Cooking:A Series of Practical Lessons,Matilda Lees, Dods, 1880.a
Receipt : Colcannon.
Provide for this : One pound of cold boiled potatoes, one pound of cold boiled turnip, one ounce of butter, one tablespoonful of bread crumbs, one salt spoonful of salt, one saltspoonful of pepper.
The bread crumbs must first be put upon a tin or plate, and into the oven and browned to a light brown.
Grease slightly a plain mould holding about three pints, and sprinkle around the sides and over the bottom of this, the browned bread crumbs. Put into a bowl the potato and with it the turnip, which must first be pressed down and drained of any water that it may have gathered in standing to cool. Mix these thoroughly together and season them with the pepper and salt, adding also the butter, and when all is stirred together, pack the mixture into the mould, pressing it down with the blade of a knife, place the mould in a moderate oven where it must remain until its contents be thoroughly heated, then turn the form carefully out into a vegetable dish and serve steaming hot.
From: To-day: The Popular Illustrated Magazine, Dio Lewis, 1872.
—This popular Irish dish is usually made with cabbages and potatoes, but cauliflower will make a more delicate dish. Take half as much cauliflower as potato, both of which must have been boiled previously and completely cooled. Chop them separately and very "fine.
Put a little milk and butter into a saucepan, and when boiling hot, turn in the potatoes and cauliflower well mixed together. Place a flat tin or dish over them, and let them warm through. Then remove the cover, and add salt and pepper to the taste ;ake the dish boiling hot, and serve.

Another way is to prepare it with strips of salt pork. Cut the pork into strips an inch long and as narrow as possible, and fry it to a crisped brown ; then turn in the chopped cauliflower and potatoes, and mix well with the pork strip and fat. Heat very hot, and serve on a platter. It is a delicious dish ; and a little vinegar is considered an improvement to it.
- From: Handbook of domestic cookery., Handbook, 1882.
Receipt : COLCANNON.
How to Buy. — Purchase potatoes and greens or cabbage, in the proportion of one-third greens to two-thirds of potatoes — usually, however, col- cannon is prepared from cold vegetables. This is a good, economical, and nourishing dish if well prepared, otherwise it is indigestible and disagreeable.

How to Cook.—Boil and then mash the potatoes with salt and pepper; boil the greens or cabbage very tender, and press very dry, and chop it finely; mix both together, and season to taste with pepper, salt, and nutmeg; moisten with a little gravy; cover with bread-crumbs, and on them lay either little bits of butter or congealed butter; sprinkle a little fine salt over, and brown with a
salamander, or in the oven; this is the best mode, though it is frequently fried in fat left in the pan from bacon rashers that have been fried to serve with it ; in this way it is very apt to be strong.

How to Serve.-—Hot and quite plain, or garnished with fried bacon.
Note.—If cold vegetables are used, press the potatoes through a colander, and chop the cabbage very fine, taking care it is not watery.-

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