Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Culinary Smackdown - Cabbage

There's an Irish Song that goes like this:

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?"

The chorus:
Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.

Yeah, I never heard of it either.

Anyway, Grumpy Granny is hostessing this month's Culinary Smackdown and she has named the theme - Cabbage!   These smackdowns encourage experimentation and the trying new recipes.  So I'm going for the latter because experimentation with cabbage just sounds wrong.  When I think of cabbage, I think sauerkraut or cole slaw, both of which I have made numerous times.  And of course, being close to St. Patty's Day, there is corned beef and cabbage.  And that jogged my memory on a recipe I came across several years ago while looking for something to make on St. Patty's - Colcannon.  Although it's a pretty simple recipe, I've never made it before, so it satisfies he challenge as far as I'm concerned. 

I looked at several recipes on Allrecipe.com and found this Colcannon recipe.  The actual name of the recipe is called "Diane's Colcannon" which I thought was a play on Dyan Cannon who I loved in The Last of Sheila.  Anyone? Bueller? She was hot back in the 70s and at one time was married to Cary Grant - but I digress.  Turns out the recipe was submitted by Diane F., go figure.

Anyway, here are the ingredients I used.  I bought shredded cabbage (because I just happened to see it at the store) and I had leftover bacon from Sunday breakfast (did he say leftover bacon? - yeah, I know but I had cooked up 1/2 lb for 2 of us). 

The Ingredients.  I cut corners using shredded cabbage and leftover bacon.

The potatoes are boiling and the mis en place - are in place
Because I didn't have any bacon grease, I used butter instead.  After I cooked the cabbage and onion for about 10 minutes, I added in the bacon to heat it up and get some of that flavor into the cabbage.  My mom use to keep a jar of bacon grease for this kind of cooking.  She used it a lot in her tomato sauce.  I need to start doing that.
Cabbage and onion are cooking in butter and I diced the bacon.

Colcannon in the pot, 1 minute old.
Here's dinner.  Yeah, big deal, but it's all I had time to do.  I actually had intended to do a ham steak, but we were out because someone left it off the shopping list.
Monday dinner.
The Verdict:  The Pudge and I thought this was really good.  You definitely get the cabbage and bacon flavor.  The onion not so much. And I don't know if green cabbage would have been better than red, but it would have fit the song better.  And like most of my smackdown food, I always have leftovers for lunch.  I will tell you that after a couple of days in the fridge, the Colcannon started to take on a bluish/purplish hue.  Not the most appetising thing to look at, but it still tasted good.

The Mrs. (who claims to be Irish) said it was just OK.  In fact, she never even heard of it before.  She offered a criticism that the bacon needed to be chopped finer than it was.  And I agree with her.

My office is going to have a potluck lunch for St. Patty's Day and I've already rogered up to make this.  We'll see how that goes.


Jenny said...

My Mother claimed to be 50 %Irish but I've never really enjoyed cabbage. I love the color of red cabbage and I think it all tastes the same? Hell, I don't know.

I think I could try this (minus the bacon of course)

moi said...

I think the purplish tint is very pretty. Looks kind of like a blueberry cake donut . . .

My grandmother, who was German, used to make something very similar to this, only die Kartoffeln were not smashed--they were diced--and she added parsley. I love the flavor combo.

Good luck!

Sharon Rudd said...

Buzz, I always wondered what the heck Colcannon was :) Pre-shredded cabbage is definitely a time-saver, especially if you're doing something like slaw.

Grrhaha to the "blueberry cake donut" color, Moi.

If you are happier w/your St. Patty's Day version, will you post an update?

Yes, I'm old enough to know who Dyan Cannon is, but haven't heard of that movie.

After too much travel and getting derailed on the phone tonight, not sure whether I'll get my entry in under the wire or not. But I will continue to cheerlead - something that back in high school I never thought I'd say :)

Thanks for being one of the Smackdown mainstays, Buzz!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Buzz! I liked that you used red cabbage and also that you got a little blue out of it. ;-) And your references to Dyan Cannon and Gary Grant (I loves the Cary). My mother was Scots/Irish and she loved cabbage and she would have loved your dish. And of course, it's got bacon in it, so that makes it mighty fine in my book. Oh, and you definitely need to start keeping some of that bacon grease. I use mine in cornbread and all kinds of things.

Thanks for playing!

LaDivaCucina said...

I've heard of Colcannon (and yes, Dyan Cannon too!) but have never eaten it or made it. But to me, any recipe with taters, bacon and milk sounds good...wait a minute, it also sounds like Bubble and Squeak?! hehe, same neck of the woods anyway.

So, I want to know how you found the taste of the pre-shredded cabbage? I stopped using it because it always seemed so flavorless and dry? That was in cole slaw, maybe better when cooked? Could you tell?

As for the blue tinge, that happens sometimes when I use purple onions in a salad with mayo or sour cream too.

Anywho, I like how you always challenge yourself to try new things, Buzz, just wish you had a more willing and appreciative audience. I guess there's always The Pudge!

I'll be up later on....good luck! Later, Gator!

Buzz Kill said...

The Mrs. is only 1/2 Irish too. And as fickle as her tastes are, cabbage (and specifically sauerkraut) are ok with her. Is there a bacon substitute you can use because you really need that flavor - or extra salt I guess.

That bluish tint in potatoes makes it look like its gone bad. bwhahahaha

This tastes really good and I'm anxious to see how it turns out with Napa cabbage.

Yeah, I'll try and get a picture of the St. Pattys Colcannon. The Last of Shiela was a decent whodunit that had a number of big stars. Worth renting if you can find it.

Double G
Sometimes when I'm writing these blogs, my mind just wanders off on obscure tangents. Dyan Cannon was like 30 years younger than Cary Grant, so I have a new-found respect for him.

Bacon fat in cornbread - really? I'll have to look into that. Thanks for hostessing. I will try and get around to see all of the other entries on your this weekend. I can't access any Wordpress blogs from the office.

I honestly wouldn't be able to tell the difference between pre-packaged and fresh cabbage. I try to avoid buying head cabbage because I always get too much. The smaller shreaded packages are much more manageable and I love not having to drag my knuckles across a grater.

Me and The Pudge stick together. Now that he's starting to cook for the boy scouts, he's becoming more interested in cooking and food in general. And I probably make The Mrs out to be worse than she is, but I don't exagerate on her lack of adventure with food. It really handicaps me sometimes.

Jen said...

Sort of off-topic, but I love Dyan Cannon. She was the judge on Ally McBeal, and while that show was a bit wacky, she was incredible on Season 1. Awe, now I want some cabbage and to watch a bunch of Ally McBeal on netflix! Thanks for that!

eatdrinkandbemarried said...

I love, love, love the color of this! Perfect for spring time and also a great way to introduce cabbage to kids and adults who like mashed potatoes. Nice job!

Buzz Kill said...

Yes she was. Truth be told, I use to watch Ally McBeal because of Dyan Cannon, Lucy Lui and Portia de Rossi (I don't care if she's Ellen's wife).

The color sort of looks good in the picture, but it quickly degenerated over a couple of days. I'm definitely using green cabbage next time. And the cabbage taste is very subtle, so you could get this past the kids. They'll like the bacon.