My mom used to make a similar version of this back in the day. I’m positive we didn’t know that her dish had a fancy name like colconnan, but it certainly was a popular dish anyway. In fact, I’m pretty sure most Newfoundlanders have eaten a version of this at least once in their lifetime, because it’s basically the leftovers which are fried up the next day from a typical Jiggs Dinner.
A Jiggs Dinner, which consists of a variety of root vegetables boiled together in a large pot with salt beef, is a Newfoundland delicacy. Jiggs dinner, also called boiled dinner or cooked dinner, is a traditional meal commonly prepared and eaten on Sundays in many regions around the province. The meal most typically consists of salt beef, (or salt riblets), boiled together with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, turnips, and sometimes, cabbage or turnip greens. Peas pudding and/or figgy duff (bread pudding) are cooked in pudding bags immersed in the rich broth that the meat and vegetables create. Condiments are likely to include mustard pickles or pickled beets. Sometimes, a gravy is served which has been made from the drippings from the accompanying roasted beef, chicken, or turkey.
In my house, we always knew which version mom was cooking by what she called it; for example, if she said we were having Jiggs Dinner, I knew there was going to be no roasted meat of any kind and no gravy. But, if she said cooked dinner, then we most certainly knew that beef or chicken and a very thick, brown, salty gravy was going to be served up as well.
The next day, the leftover vegetables were often mixed together in a large sauté pan and fried to form what is very similar to a traditional Irish colconnan. Newfoundlanders usually refer to this concoction as ‘hash’ or ‘couldn’ts.’ (The stuff you couldn’t eat yesterday!)
This dish is more true to the traditional Irish dish. I have taken a few liberties, but for the most part, this recipe is very close to what you would be served in Ireland. Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks leek, trimmed, washed, and sliced thin
- ½ medium-sized savoy cabbage thinly sliced
- 6 large white-flesh potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Parsley, fresh, roughly chopped
- At this point, the potatoes should be mashed and left in the pot they were cooked in. Allow them to sit on the lowest heat possible until you are ready to use them. Keep a tight lid on the pot.
- On medium heat, begin by sautéing the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the leeks and continue to sauté for 10 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and continue to sauté for 15 minutes. You will want the cabbage, leeks, and onions to really cook down and wilt.
- Next, add this mixture to the pot of mashed potatoes and fold in. Add the butter, heavy cream, salt, and pepper.
- Use your hand held mixer to fully incorporate the cabbage and leek mixture and to add a lightness and fluffiness to your mashed potatoes.
- Lightly stir in some fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.