This recipe is a take on colcannon, a traditional Irish dish involving cabbage and potatoes. It works as a great standalone meal, and reheats very well in the oven. It involves a few pots, but the result is excellent, and worth the work.
Colcannon is a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type of meal that is fantastic in the dark and dreary days of late autumn and winter, and what's more, it features bacon! But wait, isn't this a natural health blog? What's bacon doing in the recipe? Quite simply, I've found that the appeal of bacon is stronger than the repulsion of Brussels sprouts or cabbage, and that not only does bacon work with the flavor of crucifers quite well, but is also an effective way of introducing people to these fantastic, health-promoting foods.
2 pounds potatoes
2 1/2 cups chopped/shredded green cabbage or kale
2 cups chopped Brussels sprouts or broccoli
8 oz bacon
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Peel and chop the potatoes, then boil them in salted water until soft. Waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold or red potatoes) work as well as mealy potatoes (such as Russets) both work well, though clearly produce slightly different dishes. I personally prefer waxy potatoes, which give the dish a chunky consistency, whereas mealy potatoes make for something more like a mash.
Meanwhile, steam the cabbage/kale and Brussels sprouts/broccoli. The trick here is to steam them just enough that they can be easily pierced with a fork, and then remove them from the water (if you're using kale, add that after the rest of the veggies have cooked, and allow it to cook until wilted). Many of us grew up eating overcooked veggies in general, and overcooked crucifers in particular. Not only does overcooking bring out the sulfurous flavor of these veggies, but it also gives the veggies a soggy, limp consistency. And seriously, if you're trying to get people to eat challenging veggies, at least cook them so they're appealing.
Ok, so finally, the bacon part. Cook the bacon as usual, and then allow to drain on a plate. Please allow for house/apartment to smell like goodness and draw all parties to the kitchen. Using the bacon grease, cook the onion until browned, adding the salt and pepper as it nears completion.
Now for combining. Drain the potatoes and veggies and place in a large bowl, add the onion mixture, crumble in the bacon, and mix thoroughly. Place in a casserole and top with shredded cheese. Place under broiler and allow the cheese to melt and bubble.
Serve immediately. For a true British Isles experience, serve this with stout or porter.