So I’m sure you are all familiar with twice baked potatoes right? Delicious, creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes cradled in their crisp, salty skin. Well, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day I’ve actually given the twice baked potato a bit of an Irish make-over. Yup! These savory little devils you see here are Colcannon Twice Baked Potatoes.
I shared a recipe for Colcannon with you a few St. Patrick’s Days ago. It is without a doubt, Irish comfort food at its finest! Buttery mashed potatoes whipped up with cabbage, leeks and bacon.
Mix that divine concoction just described with some lovely Irish Cheddar and that is the filling in these show stopping Colcannon Twice Baked Potatoes. And since I had picked up some Dillisk on my last trip to Ireland, I chopped that up and sprinkled it over the top! Sheer magic I tell you!
Turns out the nutty salty Dillisk is the perfect flavor enhancer for these potatoes. Dillisk (duileasc in Irish) or dulse, as it is also known, is an edible seaweed which has been harvested along the shores of the North Atlantic for generations. The earliest mention of it being harvested comes from 1400 years ago. St. Columba and his monks gathered it for food as well as medicine. It is an excellent source of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, iodine and zinc. You can often find it in health food stores in the US. It can be eaten dried or rehydrated to use in soups, stews, breads or salads.
Since we’re talking about potato dishes, I’ve gotta bring up Cheese & Onion pies! One of the things I was most excited about on our most recent trip to Ireland was taking The Husband to visit Cork. I went to college at University College Cork and wanted to show him some of my old haunts.
It had changed quite a bit since I’d been there, but I was very excited to see that my favorite chipper…no wait….the best chipper in Cork – no…Hands down the best chipper anywhere – Jackie Lennox’s was still going strong!
I love Jackie Lennox’s. There is no substitute. Back in the day, myself and the college friends, filled to the brim with pints would stop by to get a little something to help us soak up that booze. And Lennox’s never failed us! Perfectly cooked fish and chips, great burgers and batter sausages.But the thing I crave, the thing I almost always got was – Lennox’s Cheese & Onion Pies! They served this crispy, crunchy, deep fried ball of cheese, onions and mashed potatoes with plenty of chips and a hearty lashing of salt and malt vinegar. YUM! I tried to recreate it once. But there is nothing like the original.
I had talked about it so much over the years that The Husband couldn’t wait to get his hands on one and let me just say it did not disappoint!
Once we’d gotten our Lennox’s fix. We strolled by St. Finbar’s Cathedral
Strolled through the English Market. And stopped for a few pints. Perfect day!
But let me get back to these awesome Colcannon Twice Baked Potatoes! You can make these babies ahead of time. Just complete the recipe through filling the skins. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 4 days ahead of your shindig. On the day you want to serve them, just pop them in a 375 F oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. How easy is that?!!
With crispy, salty flavorful skin and savory creamy cheesy filling, these exquisite Colcannon Twice Baked Potatoes go well as a side next to any meat dish you might wish to serve. Or you could even just chow down on this hearty stuffed spud as your dinner, full stop! I have no doubt folks will go wild for this dish at your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Heck they will go wild for it on any day that it appears on the table.
Colcannon Twice Baked Potatoes
recipe adapted from: The kitchn
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
- 6 strips smoky bacon
- 1/2 small savoy cabbage, shredded (approx. 12 ounces)
- 2 leeks, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces Irish cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 Tablespoons/ 113 grams unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
- 1 bay leaf
- freshly ground pepper
- handful of chives, chopped
- sea salt flakes
- handful of dillisk, chopped – to sprinkle over the top
Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
Scrub the four potatoes and prick all over with a fork.
Dissolve 2 Tablespoons of salt in 1/2 cup of water. Dip the potatoes in the water covering all sides and then set on one of the prepared baking sheets.
Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the other prepared tray.
Place both baking trays in the oven. Bake until the bacon is browned and starts to ripple, or to desired doneness, 10 to 20 minutes. (Because the cook time depends on the thickness of the bacon and how you like it cooked, start checking doneness at the 10-minute mark.) I usually bake my bacon for 13 minutes.
Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain. Reposition the baking tray with the potatoes so that it is centered in the oven and continue to bake, turning after about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F – about 45 minutes to 1 hour total baking time.
Once the potatoes have reached 205 degrees F, remove from oven and brush all sides with olive oil. Return to oven for 5 more minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling ingredients. Cut the core from the cabbage and finely chop. Slice the leeks. Grate 4 ounces of Irish cheddar cheese. Crumble the bacon. Finely chop the dillisk.
Place 2 Tablespoons of the butter into a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage, leeks and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook until cabbage begins to wilt, 5 -6 minutes.
Add the milk, dried mustard powder and the bay leaf to the pan. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat. Cook for 20 -25 minutes.
Once the potatoes are ready, cut them in half lengthwise and carefully scrape the potato flesh out of the skins into a bowl, leaving 1/4 inch thick shell. Try to keep the skins intact as you will be refilling them. Place the skins on the baking sheet and place in a warm oven while you are finishing the filling.
Pass the potato flesh through a ricer into the bowl of a stand mixer. You can just mash with a potato masher if you wish, but a ricer will yield and much more creamy mash. Add two tablespoons of the butter and mix on low. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage and leek mixture to the potatoes, discarding the bay leaf. Again mix on low to combine. Slowly add the reserved milk from the cabbage mixture until your mash achieves the desired texture.
Add the cheese and 2/3rd of the crumbled bacon and mix until combined. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Remove the warm potato shells from the oven and spoon the potato mixture into them. Dot each stuffed potato skin with 1/2 Tablespoon of butter. Turn the oven back up to 375 F and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are browning and the filling is hot.
Remove from oven. Transfer to serving platter and top with reserved bacon, chopped chives, flaky sea salt and the chopped dillisk.
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Colcannon Twice Baked Potatoes:
Travel Planning Guide:
Getting there: Icelandair! We love Icelandair and have always had great experience with them. Icelandair flies to Dublin, Ireland. Take advantage of their Stopover program on your next flight to Europe.
Car Rental: New Way Car Hire – Love the all-inclusive pricing on these cars as well as the Dublin Airport pickup!
The English Market – Don’t visit Cork without stopping by The English Market! This 18th Century covered market is chock full of fresh local produce as well as many international delights! A must see!
Pubs & Grub:
An Spailpín Fanac – great pub. Take note of opening hours. Doesn’t open until 6 -7 pm.
The River Lee Hotel – I didn’t actually stay overnight in Cork on this trip. But when we visit in the future – I’ve my eye on the River Lee Hotel. Looks awesome and is in a great location!