By Chef Linda
Colcannon, or Irish mashed potatoes, is often made with colorful specks of kale or cabbage–and lots of milk, cream, and butter. Regional variations may call for ham or bacon. In my version, colcannon gets a compassionate spring makeover. Leeks, shredded Brussels sprouts, and carrots lighten up the dish and add lovely speckled green and orange colors. For a crunchy, salty surprise, make the shiitake crisps instead of bacon and you'll delight in the contrasting textures and flavors. While this dish is perfect for St. Patrick's Day or Easter, it's so good you'll find it works for any occasion when simple comfort and creativity are on the menu.
Leek and Brussels Sprouts Colcannon
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons unsalted non-dairy butter, divided
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
Ground black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced
8 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Cover potatoes and carrots with well-salted water in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are fork-tender. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of cooking water.
To make the shiitake crisps, preheat oven to 375ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the sliced shiitake in a mound on the lined tray. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat then arrange in a single layer on the pan. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until they almost look burnt. Remove them from the oven. Set aside to cool and crisp up.
Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, Brussels sprouts, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add milk and bring to a simmer. Transfer drained potatoes and carrots to the pan and mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little of the reserved cooking water to thin, if necessary.
Transfer colcannon to a large serving bowl. Make a divot in the top and place the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in it. Garnish with scallions and shiitake crisps.