Colcannon Mash With Sausages And Calvados Apple Sauce

Colcannon is an Irish dish… but you could make Italian colcannon by using cavolo nero. And you can make it even more easily by using instant mash and simply adding fried cabbage, chives… and maybe some chopped spring onions.

There is also a traditional potato dish – also using potatoes, cabbage and onions – from the Scottish borders, with the wonderful name of Rumbledethumps – this is sometimes topped with grated cheddar. In Aberdeen the name is Kailkenny… and in England it’s called Bubble and Squeak.

Colcannon is essentially spruced up mash, and it goes with anything that mash goes with – ie pretty much anything! You can dress it down, as here, this sausages.

Or you can dress it up, as they do very successfully at the Cafe Vin Cinq in Rugby, with tiger prawns, scallops, cherry tomatoes and rocket.

You can also dress up this dish by treating yourself to a Berry Bros & Rudd Santa Barbara Pinot Noir to drink with it – it’s not too heavy, and has some black cherry and strawberry flavours.

In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, you can form them into potato cakes with some grated cheese and an egg. Cool in the freezer for a few minutes, then dust in seasoned flour, and shallow fry.

Vin cinq's dressed up colcannon with prawns and scallops
Vin cinq’s dressed up colcannon with prawns and scallops

Recipe for Irish Colcannon with Sausages

Serves 4


  • 1 x jar (180-220g) apple sauce (the English Provender Company apple sauce with calvados is excellent); if you have made some apple shrub, add a bit of that as well.
  • 12 really good quality pork sausages – or more – depending on the appetite of your guests
  • 1.5 kg/3 lb floury potatoes (King Edward or Maris Piper), scrubbed but not peeled
  • 125g/4 oz butter (cut into half), Nigella Lawson uses brown butter for hers.
  • 500g/1 lb 2 oz/a small head of cabbage
  • 240ml/1 cup full milk
  • 4 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tsp smoked salt
  • 10 grinds of nutmeg (if you have a useless nutmeg grinder go here)
  • 10 grinds Indonesian long pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. start to cook the sausages by frying in the olive oil over a medium heat until the skins have started to caramelise, and there are some black burnt bits (you do NOT want flaccid pink sausages….). This will take about 20 minutes.
  2. boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes
  3. drain, return to the saucepan and crush using a mortar or a rolling pin (a cosh would be useful…)
  4. mix in half the butter, the salt, the nutmeg and the chopped chives
  5. cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the core, and shred into thin ribbons
  6. heat, together with the rest of the butter and the pepper in a saucepan
  7. add the potatoes
  8. slowly (you may not need all of it, and it should not be sloppy) add the milk (ideally it should be heated first, but Life Is Too Short and Unnecessary Washing Up is Bad For You)
  9. mix together and get the whole lot hot – check the seasoning
  10. serve with the warmed apple sauce

“We are a volubly talkative family, but when we’re round the table eating this, we fall into a stunned, blissful silence, if only for a minute or two.”

Nigella Lawson, Cook, Eat, Repeat

Music to cook to

If you need any convincing that colcannon really is an Irish dish see the video clip below…. clearly, traditionally it’s made in a skillet pot – a frying pan.

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