Colcannon Soup with Potatoes, Leeks and Cabbage
Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes, with additions -- usually either kale or cabbage, onions, milk or cream and butter (of course) -- has long been popular at our table. For this St. Patrick's day I decided to try make a soup based on the colcannon ingredients that would have lower carbohydrate content and still bring all the satisfaction of traditional colcannon.
This recipe is easy and quick and in terms of flavor, the soup is a real winner. If puréed it would be suggestive of vichyssoise -- which is not surprising since potatoes, leeks, chicken broth, butter and milk or cream are the basic ingredients of both soups. Rather than mashing or puréeing the potatoes, however, I chose to leave them in chunks. The leeks add a sweetness that's absent from colcannon when made with yellow onions or scallions, as I often do, and the nutmeg deepens the flavor sensation of the dish.
I served the soup with a plate of bread and farmer's cheese, and glasses of stout all around. Some traditional Irish music in the background and we had our own pub lunch, right here in Portland.
In terms of weight and glucose control, as promised this soup has about half the carbohydrate content of an average portion of traditional colcannon and less than two-thirds the calories, so it can fit well in a carefully planned and monitored diet plan.
6 1-cup servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 pound boiling potatoes (such as resdkin or Yukon Gold), peeled and cut in 3/4" chunks
- 2 small leeks, white parts only, cleaned and sliced in thin disks
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup milk (2% fat)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish (optional)
1. Place the butter in a 3-quart saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Add a quarter cup of water and then the potatoes, cabbage and leeks. Cook over low heat, covered, about 10 minutes. The potatoes should be firm but almost cooked.
2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, covered, about 15 minutes. The potatoes should be fully cooked but not falling apart.
3. Grate in the nutmeg and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the milk and the parsley.
Serve immediately, garnished with the bacon if desired, or refrigerate, covered, up to a day.
Note: like most soups, this one seems to improve if made up to a day ahead. To reheat, place over medium heat and warm, stirring gently, to serving temperature. Be careful not to allow the potatoes to start to break down when reheating.