Colcannon soup with chive garnish

Colcannon Soup

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes enriched with sauteed cabbage or other greens. I can imagine this was the nightly welcome for many hardworking people during the leanest times of the year when nothing much remained in the root cellar.

I have more exciting ingredients to work with in my kitchen, but in the middle of these chilly months, I make big pots of what I call “Colcannon Soup” to enjoy with the kids for days. The luxury of buttery and creamy potatoes flecked with the golden cooked cabbage makes me feel rich in all the ways that matter.

40 mins



1 onion, diced

2 large leeks, washed well and sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

4 cups cabbage, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

8 ounces bacon, cut into 1 inch slices (optional)


Cook the bacon in a large soup pot before setting aside and reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan. (If not using bacon, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot before cooking the onions.)

Add the onions and leeks and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the broth (or water), cream, potatoes, cabbage, and bacon, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Smash some of the potatoes with the back of the spoon to thicken the soup.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Help peel and chop potatoes

Shred the cabbage (they can use a butter knife to do to this)

Measure and help add ingredients

Be the taste testers. “Does it need more salt?”


Manage the soup pot

Talk with kids about the tradition of a root cellar. How did people preserve food before refrigeration?

A photo of Cheryl.

Cheryl Knecht Muñoz

Cheryl is the Founder and Owner of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, a cooking school for kids and their families in River Forest, IL. As a chef, instructor, and working mom, she is passionate about growing, cooking, and sharing good food together.



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