Photo by @jakecohen
I'm ⅓ Irish, but the remaining ⅔ are a bit of a mystery. There is some Danish mixed in their somewhere but I have always connected most with my Irish heritage. But perhaps what I truly identify with is a love of potatoes and dairy, two things Ireland really knows how to do right!
No matter where you hail from, I guarantee you will enjoy this dish, no luck of the Irish required. To develop this recipe I combined two of my potato true loves: twice baked potatoes and colcannon. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage and lots and lots of fresh Irish dairy. My riff sticks to that classic formula but adds a bit of good ol’ american exuberance by stuffing the baked potatoes with the colcannon and piling on shredded Irish cheddar and crispy bacon. The result? Pure gold.
These potatoes are hearty enough for a stand alone meal, but also work nicely as a side. If you have any leftover, don’t be afraid to crack an egg on top and bake it in the oven for the most delicious breakfast boat of all times.
- 6 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1 large leek, tender inner white bulb only, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 2 bunches lacinato kale, stems discarded and leaves chiffonade
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, or sour cream
- 11/2 cups Irish cheddar, freshly grated, divided
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until very tender.
While the potatoes bake, make the filling. Add the bacon to a large saute pan and cook over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Remove bacon from pan and set aside to cool. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet.
To the reserved bacon fat, add the leeks and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the kale and cook until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the potatoes are tender, let cool slightly then cut in half with a very sharp knife. Scoop the flesh from the potatoes into a large bowl, being careful not to break the potato “shell”. Set the potato shells aside on the same baking sheet.
Add milk, butter and Greek yogurt (or sour cream) to the potato flesh and mash until smooth. Crumble the reserve bacon and add it to the bowl along with the leeks and kale and 1 cup of grated Irish cheddar. Season to taste and salt and pepper and mix well.
Scoop the prepared potato filling into the reserved potato shells and top each potato half with the remaining Irish cheddar. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Preheat the broiler to high and broil for two minutes, or until golden brown.
Garnish with scallions and serve warm.