Friday, April 15, 2011

Nouveau colcannon: a recipe

Photo by Alexander Hausmann, via the stock.xchng
As regular readers of this blog know, some dishes just don't photograph well.

Case in point: this dish I've dubbed "nouveau colcannon" because calling it what it is -- mashed cannellini beans and potatoes with blue cheese and sausage crumbles and spinach -- is just too absurdly long.

Colcannon, by definition, is a traditional Irish dish made with potatoes and cabbage or kale, often with other stuff like ham, bacon or onion thrown in for good measure. Very casserole-y.

Nouveau colcannon is just another recipe I modified heavily from Mark Bittman's awesomely awesome Food Matters Cookbook, to make it more filling and appealing to the meatasaurus in me.

Well, appealing to the taste buds, I should say. Because pretty it's not.

The end product wound up looking like something that even Oliver Twist would have turned up his nose at, which is why I have instead included a lovely stock photograph of blue cheese with this post.

But come come ... we who love food do NOT judge a book by its cover. Or at least we try not to. This dish was not only simple and quick, the flavors are unreal! UNREAL, I tell you! Creamy and hearty and tangy all at once, thanks to the blue cheese.

If you even remotely like blue cheese, I urge you to give this one a try.

Maybe use a nice pretty bowl for serving to make up for the homeliness.

Nouveau Colcannon (adapted from Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook)

4 oz. sweet italian sausage (removed from casing)
1 large baking potato, cooked
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 big handfuls of baby spinach
Salt and pepper

Bake or microwave the potato until tender. Once cool, peel and chop.

Heat a frying pan and add the sausage -- cook until done, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for about a minute. Then add the beans, potato, half-and-half, Gorgonzola, and a splash of water.

Using a potato masher, mash the beans and potato and stir the mixture, gradually adding a little more water if it seems too thick. Once it is hot and reached a consistency you like, mix in the spinach and stir until slightly wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. That sounds good; I adore blue cheese. As does #1 son, but I haven't told him what the blue stuff is yet. Can I leave out the sausage and just cook the garlic in olive oil or lard or something?

  2. Yes! The original recipe calls for neither spinach nor sausage -- you would just cook the garlic in olive oil instead. (LARD? Now who's been living in the south too long??!!!)

    What does he think the blue stuff is, btw?

  3. I was just kidding about the lard. Gag.

    I'm not sure he cares what the blue stuff is, and we don't eat it often enough for it to be a burning question. I never really wondered about it myself, so I can see where he gets his blind acceptance.

  4. Sounds great! But I totally understand the photo thing: my sore spot is meat dishes. Anything stew-y is tough!

  5. Thank goodness for stock photography! :-)