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St. Brigid’s Feast 2024 with Colcannon | Shamrock and Peach

On the first day of February, we celebrate Brigid, the Celtic Goddess and one of the Patron Saints of Ireland. 2024 marks the Christian St. Brigid’s 1500th anniversary from her death. The national holiday in Ireland, is closely tied to the ancient festival of Imbolc, which is a spring festival honoring the first signs of life, and the beginning of the lambing season. Almost as famous as the shamrock the St. Brigid’s cross has become one of the national symbols of Ireland, and it used to be the logo for RTE Television. The cross is traditionally made from reeds or straw, and hung on the front door to usher in Spring and call as a symbol of protection for the coming year.

One of my favorite legends is how she petitioned for land to build her principal church in Kildare. When the local chief refused to giver her land to build her monastery, she asked just for as much as would be covered by her cloak. When the chief agreed, she removed her cloak and handed each corner to four of her followers, and told them to keep walking. The cloak miraculously expanded to cover several acres, and the chief was converted to Christianity. An flame burns in her honor if you visit her church today.

So, in honor of this feast day, I wanted so share a recipe from my new cookbook ‘Return to Ireland” for Gaelic term cal ceannann means “white headed cabbage” and it is a traditional Irish dish made by combining mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale. The different variety of cabbages available in Ireland, from the spring green to the autumnal variety,  allows this dish to be made all year around.

Colcannon certainly is in the running for the national dish of ireland, maybe pipped tot he post by lamb stew, but just! – Try both of this recipes and see what you think!

(serves 4-6)

  • (Traditional colcannon ingredients
  • 2½ pounds potatoes (floury variety)
  • 1 pound of Savoy cabbage (cored and finely cut)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) whole milk
  • 4 oz. (½ cup) unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper.

How to make it:

  1. Peel and quarter potatoes. Place them in a large pan of salted water and cook in enough cold water to cover the potatoes for 30 minutes or until tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes, cover the pan, and allow them to dry for a few minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are still cooking, combine 2 oz of melted butter and whole milk.
  4. Finely slice the Savoy Cabbage (Chiffonade).
  5. Slice the bacon into neat lardoons.  In a large skillet heat a little canola oil and then sauté the bacon to crispy.  Add the Savoy cabbage and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Pass the potatoes through a Moulin.  Add the potatoes to the bacon and cabbage mixture.  Stir in the cream mixture and taste to adjust seasonings.

Colcannon with Red Skinned Potatoes and Green Cabbage

(serves 4-6)

  • (Red skinned colcannon ingredients)
  • 2 pounds of red skinned potatoes
  • ¾ cups of milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 6 cups of shredded cabbage
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Saint Brigid’s Blessing

May Brigid bless the house wherein we dwell

Bless every fireside, every wall and door.

Bless every heart that beats beneath it’s roof.

Bless every hand that toils to bring us joy.

Bless every foot that walks portals through.

May Brigid bless the house that shelters us.

Enjoy the Feast,

Judith (Shamrock and Peach)