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Stick with Tradition, Or Lighten Up?

Nov 18, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Sticky question, isn’t it? Do I go with the dish that I know is a crowd pleaser, or do I lighten up that crowd pleasing recipe and take my chances success or failure. I decided that Colcannon was the dish to lighten up.

The first question that comes to mind is, “What is Colcannon?”

According to Wikipedia, “Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish mainly consisting of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. It is also the name of a song about that dish.”

If the dish has a song written for it, it has to be a smash, right? (No pun intended.)

This highly recommended Irish dish gets rave reviews from friends and family. The ingredient list contains bacon, whole milk and butter. It’s not a big surprise that it’s well loved, is it?

Time to lighten up Colcannon.

I chose to reduce the fat and calories by using turkey bacon, low fat milk, heart healthy olive oil and a minimum of butter. You would think I’d be happy with my successfully lightened up Colcannon, wouldn’t you?

My Irish husband, whose mother came to America from Dublin, gave this recipe rave reviews, but I wasn’t happy. There is something about real bacon and cabbage that gives this traditional Irish dish its distinctive flavor.

In the end, I’m going with tradition. Some things just shouldn’t be changed.

Original Colcannon

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 slices bacon
2 cups cabbage, shredded
¼ small onion, chopped
¼ cup whole milk
¼ cup butter

  1. Boil potatoes until tender and drain.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Add onion to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften. Add cabbage and cook another 5 minutes over medium low until cabbage is soft and onion is
    slightly caramelized.
  4. Using a hand blender, blend potatoes and milk until the potatoes are still slightly chunky. Fold in bacon, and onion mixture. Season with salt, pepper and top with butter.

Servings: Makes 4 main dish servings.

Amount per serving for the original recipe for Colcannon:
Calories: 230, Total Fat: 12.72g, Saturated fat 8.17, Monounsaturated Fat 3.86, Polyunsaturated Fat .70, and Trans Fat 0, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 213mg, Total Carbs: 23.05g, Dietary Fiber: 3.44g, Sugars: 2.97g, Protein: 4.87g

Skinny Colcannon

1 pound russet potatoes with skin, washed and cubed
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ small onion, chopped 2 cups cabbage, thinly shredded
3 slices turkey bacon
¼ cup low fat milk
4 tsp butter

Servings: Makes 4 main dish servings.

Directions:

  1. Steam potatoes in a steaming basket until tender.
  2. Microwave turkey bacon for 3-5 minutes to cook through. Chop into small pieces.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften. Add cabbage and cook another 5 minutes over medium low until cabbage is soft and onion is slightly caramelized. Add water as needed to keep from burning.
  4. Using a hand blender, blend potatoes and milk until the potatoes are still slightly chunky. Fold in bacon, and onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper and top with 1 tsp butter.

Amount Per Serving for the original recipe for Skinny Colcannon:
Calories: 235, Total Fat: 10.95g, Saturated fat 4.56, Monounsaturated Fat 4.58, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.81, and Trans Fat 0, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 535mg, Total
Carbs: 24.16g, Dietary Fiber: 3.52g, Sugars: 2.38g, Protein: 9.70g

Nutrition details obtained from MacGourmet nutrition calculating software. Colcannon is a common Irish recipe with standard ingredients. Therefore, there is no reference to an original recipe.

Currently, Kristi Rimkus authors her own blog over at Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right.

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One Response to “Stick with Tradition, Or Lighten Up?”

  1. redkathy says:

    Sounds great! My maiden name is Cannon and yes dad is Irish American. Bet he would just love these. We used to attend the local food festival back home and they serve these. Never knew the name or country of origin but remember they were fantastic!
    redkathy´s last blog ..Christmas Eve- Seven Fishes- and the Waverly Collection My ComLuv Profile

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