Bring a large pan of slightly salted water to the boil. Peel the the potatoes, cut into even sized chunks and add to the pan.

Chop the bacon into small pieces, slice the shallots into thin strips and chop the calvo nero leaves into thin strips across the leaf.

When the potatoes are cooked through, drain and set to one side.

Return the pan to a medium heat and add a large knob of butter. Add the bacon and fry until slightly crispy. Now add the shallot and calvo nero and fry for 4-5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to a low and add the potatoes to the pan along with a splash of milk and double cream, seasoning with a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir through. Check if it is seasoned enough and correct if needed. Add more milk and double cream if the consistency is a bit stiff; it should have a slight slop to it.


I like to have colcannon with a few lumps of potato still intact for a more rustic appeal; for those who like a more silky smooth experience you should combine the potatoes, milk and double cream first and ensure it is mashed well before adding the other vegetables and bacon.

Don’t tell the Irish…

The more traditional Irish recipe actually calls for spring onions instead of shallots. I have used shallots for the reasoning that I see this dish as a warming winter recipe and spring onions are not in season this time of year. The shallots do their job of carrying the onion flavour through. By all means if you are a purist or are planning to serve this to someone with Irish heritage use spring onions. Kale is a good alternation to calvo nero if you can’t get hold of any.

Exmoor, Somerset
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