St. Patrick’s Colcannon & Corned Beef

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this traditional corned beef recipe from renowned Irish chef Judith McLoughlin, author of A Return to Ireland: A Culinary Journey from America to Ireland.

“Judith’s inspirational food and storytelling is very much part of this phenomenon that is calling the Irish diaspora home to Ireland to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors.” —Dr. Tim Campbell, director of the St. Patrick’s Center

Featuring over 100 recipes and gorgeous photos of Irish landscapes, A Return to Ireland will bring you on a culinary journey from the Irish-American immigrant recipes to the flavors of modern Ireland.

Colcannon potatoes ingredients:
2½ lbs. potatoes (floury variety)
4 Tbsp. (¼ cup) milk
7 oz. curly kale (hard stalks removed)
8 spring onions (finely chopped)
1½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted Irish butter
4 fl. oz. (½ cup) heavy whipping cream
4 fl. oz. (¼ cup) reserved cooking liquid from kale

Corned beef ingredients:
1½ lb. flat-cut brined corned beef
a little olive oil

Parsley cheese sauce ingredients:
2 oz. butter
2 oz. flour
½ pint (1 cup) whole milk
¼ pint (½ cup) chicken stock
1 oz.  (1/4 cup) Dubliner Irish cheese (grated)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
handful of curly parsley (leafy part only and finely chopped)
curly parsley sprigs (for garnish)


1. To cook the brisket, it can be slowly boiled or baked in the oven. Low and slow is the key.  For the oven method, preheat the oven to 300°, then wrap up the brisket like a parcel inside a sheet of foil, fat side up.
2. Drizzle a little olive oil over and roast for 1 hour per pound, leaving 15 minutes for the meat to rest before carving.
3. To make the Colcannon, place the potatoes in a large pan of cold, salted water with milk, adding just enough water to cover the potatoes.
4. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
5. Drain the potatoes with a metal strainer then set the potatoes back on the warm stovetop to allow them to dry out a little.
6. In a large saucepan, bring some water to a roaring boil and blanch the kale for 1 minute.
7. Saving some of the cooking water, drain the kale, roughly chop, and place the kale in a blender, pulsing for a few seconds.
8. Melt the butter with the cream and ¼ cup of the retained cooking liquid from the kale. Infuse the spring onions, cooking for 30 seconds to soften.
9. Mash potatoes and slowly add the resulting liquid. Fold in the kale, salt, and pepper.
10. Prepare the parsley sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and allow to cook gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and chicken stock and bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the cheese and mustard and cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir in chopped parsley.
11. To serve, spoon the potatoes onto a warm plate. Place slices of corned beef on top. Drizzle meat and dish with about 2 tbsp. of parsley sauce.
12. Garnish with a small sprig of curly parsley and serve immediately.

From Judith: Most Americans are shocked when I tell them that my first meal exposure to the infamous St. Patrick’s meal of corned beef and cabbage was when I moved to the USA. What we refer to as corned beef in Ireland comes in a tin and is a rather unsavory entrée choice, but in America, corned beef is a brined, cured beef that is delicious and has its origins with the Irish immigrants in the Americas who brined beef as they did pork back in old Ireland.

About the Author

Judith McLoughlin is an Irish chef and owner of a gourmet food business in Georgia called The Shamrock and Peach. Specializing in Irish cuisine, Judith has created her own unique food fusion by blending the techniques of her homeland with the newfound flavors of the South. Growing up in County Armagh in Northern Ireland and setting down roots in the South, over the past decade Judith has become one of the most recognized Irish faces and brands in Atlanta, throughout the American South and abroad. She regularly contributes to food columns in national newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and leads numerous discovery tours from the U.S. to Ireland each year. Before A Return to Ireland, she published a cookbook entitled The Shamrock and Peach.