Colcannon Soup

October 13, 2011

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale. My mom used to make it alongside corned beef on Saint Patrick’s Day, and it was always a family favorite. So when I came across this hearty soup recipe last year in the Cook’s Illustrated Soups and Stews special issue, I knew I had to try it. The soup immediately became one of my favorites, and I made it many times over the fall and winter last year. It makes a great main-course soup because it’s chock-full of potatoes, cabbage, and leeks: very filling!

This past week the weather got colder, I had some green cabbage left over, and I received leeks in my CSA box – perfect timing to break out this recipe again! This is a relatively quick soup to put together; no required simmering for hours. I’d estimate that it takes about 45 minutes from beginning to end, including the time to chop all the vegetables. If you like homey, rustic flavors and are looking for something to warm you up on a chilly fall evening, definitely give this recipe a try!

Colcannon soup

Serves 4 to 6


  • 3  slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  medium onion, minced
  • 1  pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 8  ounces green cabbage, (about 1/2 small head), cored and chopped medium
  • 2  medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup dry white wine
  • 4  cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12  ounces red potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1/2  cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2  tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate, leaving rendered fat in pot.
  2. Add onion, leeks, and cabbage to bacon fat in pot and stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Portion soup into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with reserved crumbled bacon and chives before serving.

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