Put a little Irish in your Halloween with these Irish treats

Colcannon made with collard greens gives this Irish dish Southern charm.
Colcannon made with collard greens gives this Irish dish Southern charm. Special to the Sun Herald

Halloween has its roots in the Gaelic harvest festival known as Samhain, so there is good cause to inject a little Irishness into your Halloween celebrations.

Colcannon and Boxty are traditional Irish recipes that fit the bill, but to make them even better, I’ve added a touch of Southern charm.

I’ve also taken an Irish-American classic, Irish stew, and added a little Southern touch.

Have fun with these recipes, and remember, a recipe is only a suggestion.

Southern Style Colcannon

This recipe is normally made with kale, but try adding collard or turnip greens for something different. This potato dish is so good, it can easily be a main course.

3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed

2 sticks butter

1 1/4 cups hot milk

Freshly ground black pepper

1-2 cups cooked kale or collard greens

4 scallions, finely chopped

1/2 pound bacon or ham (optional)

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Peel if you like, then mash, add the butter and milk and season with salt and pepper. When making the greens, use a good ham stock, season with red pepper flakes and simmer until tender. Drain the greens, and remove any excess liquid. Combine the greens and the mashed potates, add a big lump of butter and allow to melt. Serve hot, and garnish with the green onions. Chopped bacon or ham can also be added if you like. Add more butter if you like. Taste and re-season as needed.


This is a simple dish that can be made with leftover mashed potatoes. If you want to add just a bit more Southerness to it, add corn and a bit of chopped ham. This is a great side, or an even better snack when served with fig preservers. Garnish with salsa for a different take altogether.

2 cups left over mashed potatoes

All-purpose flour

1 whole egg

2/3 cup whole corn (well drained)

Salt and pepper

Optional ¼ cup chopped, smoked ham.

In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes (warm works best) and the egg. Mix well, then start adding flour by the teaspoon. Mix and add until you get the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Add salt and pepper to your taste, and then the corn (add the ham here if you are using it). Fry in butter or olive, ¼ cup scoop at a time, until well browned.

Irish Stew

This stew was traditionally made with lamb, but I am going to suggest beef instead. Carrots and potatoes are also traditionally used, but I am going to add onions, bell peppers and celery for a Southern twist, and just to make it that much more Southern, I suggest using Alabama-made Conecuh smoked sausage.

3 pounds cooked and cubed beef roast (or lamb, if you want to be traditional)

1 chopped onion

3-4 clelry sticks chopped

1-2 chopped bell peppers

3-4 large carrots, chopped

4-6 cups water or beef stock

Salt and pepper

1 large sprig thyme

3-4 large cubed potatoes or sweet potatoes

½ cup chopped smoked sausage

Sauté the sausage in oil until well-browned. Remove and set aside. In the same pot, sauté the vegetables in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil until soft, add the beef, stock and potatoes, salt, pepper and thyme. (I think sweet potatoes are best.) Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Taste and re-season as necessary. If the stew is not thick enough, make a dark roux with 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon butter. When it is dark brown, whisk it into the stew and return to a simmer. The stew should coat the back of a spoon when thick enough. Serve with thick slices of dark bread.