18 March 2011

Colcannon Soup with Irish Soda Bread

Colcannon Soup with Irish Soda Bread
As earthquake and tsunami survivors experience food shortages and the Japanese nation faces growing concerns of contaminated food and water sources the unfolding events in Japan have renewed my appreciation for every bite I take and every clean breath of mountain air. Every day we hear more stories of the triumph of the human spirit to overcome profound loss and threats of nuclear disaster. It reminds me of living in Southern Ontario between two nuclear power plants where L'il Burnt Toast experienced Nuclear Disaster Drills in elementary school rather than fire drills and we signed a waiver at the beginning of every year to allow the school to administer potassium iodine pills "just in case". As I sit here warm and snug with everything I need to lead a comfortable life, a wide variety of foods to eat and peace in my corner of the world these events give me cause to wonder. These heartbreaking world events are an "all too real" reminder that peace and serenity can be fleeting.

We are so lucky to be able to savour a wonderful array of produce in our grocers all year long thanks to a growing world market. With Spring on the way (it may have even arrived) and local produce still only in my dreams I conjured up an "end of winter soup" with every day ingredients I usually have on hand. The next two recipes are simple as well as cost effective and a traditional way to celebrate with food.

The first recipe for Colcannon Soup comes from Fern Glen Inn, a four-season country bed and breakfast nestled on 120 forest acres in Ontario, Canada. They are located in my old stomping grounds in the stunningly beautiful cottage country of the Almaguin Highlands with its wide open spaces of mixed woodlands, rolling hills and rocky crags (part of the Canadian Shield), with hundreds of unspoiled lakes and rivers, the Almaguin Highlands is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my Shepherd's Pie with Ulster Champ Topping in celebration of St. Patricks Day, yesterday I indulged in this simple comforting soup that is reminiscent of the Irish classic Colcannon. If you follow More Than Burnt Toast you will know of my obsession with potatoes so what could be more perfect than a steaming bowl of potato, leek and cabbage soup with a loaf of brown soda bread fresh from the oven!!Like many soups, it's just as delicious reheated the next day. Add diced ham or leftover corned beef if you like and may the luck of the Irish remain with you for at least another week!

There isn’t anything luckier than finding a four-leaf clover, except of course finding this second delicious recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread in my in-box. The recipe came to me from the Culinary School of the Rockies blog Amuse-Bouche. I began St Paddy's Day by taking a bite out of this Soda Bread for breakfast with some fried tomatoes. This bread is healthy, has lots of whole grains, and was the perfect way to celebrate being Irish for a day. Of course I had plenty left over to enjoy with my Colcannon Soup for a whole day of celebration. Sláinte!

**Colcannon Soup**

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced and washed
4 cups diced green cabbage
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup light cream or milk (more or less as desired)
6 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter or oil in a dutch oven. Add leeks. Cook gently until wilted. Add cabbage and cook a few minutes, stirring. Add potatoes, broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

With a potato masher, gently mash some of the potatoes so that the soup thickens. Fish out and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Stir in the cream or milk. Use more or less to achieve your desired consistency. Stir in the green onions and parsley and cook for one minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

Makes 4-6 servings

**Irish Soda Bread**

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour, unbleached organic all purpose or bread flour
1/4 cup bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
2 cups fresh buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Stir in buttermilk to form a soft dough.

Spray a loaf pan with canola oil spray and roll mixture into pan. Smooth dough out to sides. Sprinkle the top liberally with sesame seeds.

Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour at 400; the top will rise in the center and it will pull away from the sides of the pan when done.

Makes 1 Loaf

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Yes, I too am grateful for what we have, and wishing we could send pots and pots of nourishing soup like this one to Japan.

  2. Love what you have produced here Val...the soup looks very inviting as does the soda bread. Your comments certainly provide "food for thought" about what is happening in other parts of the world. Thank you.

  3. That looks absolutely delicious. Loving your blog and recipe choices!

  4. Leek, cabbage, potatoes and green onion. I'd say this is a dish of mighty good medicine: t'yer health! I love the combination of onion flavours with the cabbage and potato. The perfect winter soup for dunking a great slab of soda bread into. YUM!

  5. That colcannon soup looks really hearty and comforting. I'm with you; potatoes are just amazing things aren't they? I get nervous if we run out. I like to know we have some in the veg rack at all times. :)

  6. This soup is very original! I really like the idea. Perfect with Soda Bread.



  7. This sounds delicious for any time of year but it reminds me of spring.


  8. Great post Val. I would love a bowl of your hearty, comforting soup with some of that lovely bread on the side. Delicious....

  9. Your soup and soda bread sound very comforting, especially when so much of the world is in array.

    Nuclear drills? How frightening for a child. My heart goes out to the people of Japan.

  10. It was so interesting reading about living in between two nuclear power plants and your child having to go through disaster drills. I read that children in Japan often have to practice earthquake drills. Here, we only have tornado drills in school, which is our biggest, potential natural disaster.

    Wonderful soup! I know, since I made a very similar version last week and we loved it. Simple and delicious with the soda bread.

    Thinking safe, warm, nourishing and healing thoughts for the people of Japan.

  11. What lovely post!
    So very hard to understand what is happening to our world.
    That soup and bread seems to make our corner so much better.

  12. THe prelude to this post is absolutely beautiful, Val! We should all remember to be grateful for what we have.

    This soup looks so beautifully delicious and hearty!

  13. No matter where we live, nature can throw a disaster at us. We can only try to be prepared and help others as much as we are able. It's heartbreaking to watch the news.

    Your soup is comforting, Val. And what a marvelous thought to make the soda bread right along with it, for dipping I have no doubt!

  14. I love that earthenware pot with handles. Where I grew up in Italy they are easy to find, they are even sold at outdoor markets. I have never seen them where I live now. I so wish we could transport all our soups to Japan to help feed the people in shelters. I got some nice leeks at the market the other day and can't wait to make something with them.

  15. We all need to be more grateful for what we have and really how precious it is. To think one's comfortable life, and future, could be wiped out in mere minutes. Incredible.

  16. A nice hearty soup and a nice hearty bread sound amazing. (Can you tell it's rainy and grey here in my tone?)

  17. Well said, Val. When the Haiti disaster hit, I felt guilty for blogging. I often think how very blessed we are to be able to photograph food and share what we've eaten. I think of parts of the world that would love to have just a bite of our leftovers.
    As for the soup, this just might scratch the itch I've had for a potato and leek soup. I love cabbage, and I haven't had my fill yet. I love Colcannon, so this soup is a great idea.

  18. Val, you are so right in that we should all be so grateful for what we are blessed with on a daily, even hourly basis! I've always thought that no matter how bad things can be at times, there is always someone somewhere who is suffering worse than me!

    Val, this soup looks so warm and comforting. I used to devour potato soup growing up, but now with watching my weight, it's a total splurge! The bread sounds wonderful paired with your soup too! Happy Spring (Sunday)!

  19. How did I miss this one? It looks so comforting.

  20. My heart is so heavy for Japan. I keep wishing I could do more to help. It reminds me of just how blessed I am and that my "problems" are really quite small and I have so much to be thankful for every single day.

    Your Colcannon Soup looks fantastic! I am crazy for potatoes as well. :)

    Great Post Val. Thank you.

  21. I missed this one too...Looks quite good for another rainy day...

  22. What a delicious and hearty winter meal!

  23. i didn't realize until just recently that colcannon consists of everything i want in a comfort food. excellent st patty's day work, val!

  24. I'm so glad you like my soup! Thanks for the nod to Fern Glen Inn and for sending some love out to the Almaguin Highlands! It's rare to find people who know this region exists, let alone how beautiful it is! :)

  25. this is a good reminder of how thankful we should be for everything we have - it can all disappear in such a very short time; I do not live near nuclear reactors, but my iisland idyll hides so many dangers to mankind

    that recipe for soda bread sounds so simple and tempting - i've made damper before (is it just we kiwis and aussies that say that??) and it reminds me very much of it

  26. I think this will get made way before next St. Pattys Day! Such a comforting sounding soup. And great reminder to be thankful.

  27. Que rica sopa muy bien elaborada me encantó y además saludable,adoro la sopa servida en plato de greda se ve muy bien,aquí acostumbramos a servir de esa manera a platos tradicionales como los que yo preparo,me quedo en tu blog,me encantó,cariños y abrazos y buena semana para tí.

  28. I really like the sound of a colcannon soup, especially with all of the leeks in it!


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