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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

postheadericon Lithuanian Kugelis (Bulviu Plokstainis)

Lithuanian Kugelis

If you asked 1,000 Lithuanian families for their Kugelis recipe, you more than likely would receive 1,000 different versions – varying sometimes by only one ingredient or amount of ingredient.  Kugelis is widely served in Lithuania in both restaurants and home kitchens. It translates to: “flat potato dish” or “potato pancake”. It is a comfort food and akin to how we, in the US, view Mac and cheese as a comfort food – we all have a family recipe and all like our own the best. Consisting of very finely grated potatoes, milk, onion, eggs, bacon and fat, Lithuanian Kugelis should not be confused with the Jewish Kugel which is a noodle dish. Because the technique for making this dish, although not rocket science, does need careful attention and the steps are important to follow — including the speed needed to grate and prep the potatoes and keeping them from graying — I have linked to a prize winning recipe that includes detailed directions for creating this delicious dish. It is more expedient than trying to explain the steps here and, since it is a prize winning recipe, I believe it is a good place to start if you are new to this dish.

Go to the Recipe: >> Prize-Winning Lithuanian Kugelis Recipe

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postheadericon Polish Crepes (Nalesniki)

Eastern European and European roots run deep in the Anthracite region and these treats found their way into many Coal Region kitchens.  Polish naleśniki are crepe-like pancakes. Many know these as blintzes and eat them filled with jam, fruit, cheese or savory fillings. But no matter what you know them as, in Polish they are Nalesniki  (in Hungarian palacsinta, Lithuanians call them naliesnikai, Ukrainians call them nalysnyky, and Romanians, clatita).  They can be made “thick” or “thin”. I have chosen the thick recipe for this post in order for them to be more beginner friendly to those unfamiliar, or inexperienced, with making and cooking traditional thin crepes. This thicker version of Nalesniki is hearty and you can use them as a main dish if desired. Filled nalesniki are often pan fried in butter or baked in a buttered casserole dish until the filling is set. Another option is to dip the rolled nalesniki in beaten egg and then fine, dry bread crumbs, and then fry in butter or a small amount of hot oil until golden all around. You can roll them around their filling like an egg roll or burrito or spread with filling and fold in half, then half again. I have included some filling recipes and ideas for you in the instructions section.

Polish Nalesniki

 

Nalesniki folded

Polish Crepes (Nalesniki)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 large egg, beaten well
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In blender or food processor with metal blade, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Transfer to a a large measuring cup or container. cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes (do not skip this step!)
  2. Using 1/8th cup measuring cup or 2 ounce ladle, portion batter into a nonstick crepe pan or small non-stick skillet that has been lightly brushed with butter. Rotate pan and swirl batter until it covers the entire bottom of pan. Cook until lightly brown or spotted brown on one side, then carefully turn and cook the other side until light brown. You may need to do a few to get the hang of the pour, swirl, cook and turn routine.
  3. Remove cooked crepe from pan and place on waxed paper or parchment. Repeat with remaining batter buttering the pan lightly for each crepe.
  4. Serve immediately or wrap tightly and freeze up to 1 month.
  5. To Fill:
  6. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling of your choice on each nalesniki and either roll like a jellyroll, OR fold the sides in first and then bottom, rolling away from you, as for an eggroll or burrito, OR fold in half, then half again.
  7. Finish either by frying in some butter or small amount of oil, serve as is, bake in a buttered casserole to set cheese filling for example, or dip in egg wash then fine bread crumbs and fry lightly to brown all sides.
  8. Fillings:
  9. Cheese Filling
  10. 2 cups dry curd (or farmers cheese or ricotta)
  11. 3 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  12. 1 large egg yolk
  13. 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  14. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  15. 3 tablespoons sugar
  16. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  17. To Make:
  18. Place cheese in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until fluffy. Divide filling among 12 crepes and roll. Fry or bake to set filling.
  19. Jam or fresh fruit, Nutella, or pie filling of your choice -- use your imagination!
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/11/polish-crepes-nalesniki/

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postheadericon Chicken Croquettes

As a Coal Cracker and Dutchie, I grew up appreciating an elegance that can be found in simple foods. And I recycle ingredients as much as possible and waste as little as possible.  Here, those philosophies come together in a classic diner and homey kitchen favorite – chicken croquettes. With the addition of some seasonings, refrigerator ingredients, and bread crumbs, leftover chicken becomes creamy, golden, crunchy pyramids  of goodness, nestled on top of a bed of mashed potatoes bathed in a smooth chicken gravy. If you do not have left-over chicken and do not have the time or inclination to cook it from scratch for this dish, a store-bought rotisserie chicken will yield plenty of meat with which to create these croquettes. I adore them with Pa Dutch Potato Filling and Pa Dutch Pepper Cabbage as the ultimate comfort meal.

Chicken Croquettes

Homey Chicken Croquettes

Ingredients

  • Chicken Croquettes
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery (including some leaves if you have them)
  • ¼ tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup thick white sauce (see below for white sauce recipe)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh cracker crumbs OR use all fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken gravy (see below for gravy recipe) OR canned/jarred gravy of your choice
  • Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish

Instructions

  1. For the Croquettes:
  2. Make the thick white sauce, set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the chicken, celery, celery leaves, celery salt, lemon juice, parsley, white sauce and salt thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until easy to form croquettes, about 30 minutes. Use about ½ cup each of the mixture to form into cones or rectangular croquettes.
  4. Mix the fresh bread and cracker crumbs together, then roll the croquettes in the crumbs, dip them in the beaten eggs, and then roll them in the crumbs again. Chill for at least 30 minutes until firm.
  5. Deep fry in 3” of vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet or fryer at 375° until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Keep on a plate in a preheated 300° oven until ready to serve. Serve with gravy on the side and garnish with fresh parsley.
  6. For the Thick White Sauce:
  7. 3 tbsp butter or vegetable shortening
  8. 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. ¼ tsp salt
  11. Dash of freshly ground black or white pepper
  12. In a 1 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Gradually add the flour, stirring with a whisk until it becomes a smooth paste, approximately 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Add salt and pepper and reduce heat to very low. Stir for at least one minute before adding to the prepared dish. Yield: 1 cup
  13. Recipe for Chicken Gravy
  14. 2-1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  15. 6 T butter
  16. 6 T all-purpose flour
  17. 1/4 cup chopped celery
  18. 1/4 cup chopped onion
  19. Salt and pepper to taste
  20. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, whisk in the flour and stir over medium heat until golden and bubbling. Slowly whisk in the stock, celery and onions, stirring constantly until smooth, creamy and thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/10/chicken-croquettes/

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postheadericon Halupki Casserole

I adore halupki, (AKA golumpki, blind pigeons, stuffed cabbage, etc.) but I do not always have time to core, cook, and prep whole cabbage leaves or dedicate the cooking time to the traditional roll version. I also often find myself with a partial head of cabbage in the veggie bin left over from making another dish…no whole leaves to harvest from the head, but still lots of usefulness left. In those instances, I put together this faster to prep and cook casserole version of Halupki that provides all the flavor with far less fuss. As with the rolls, I like this served with mashed potatoes as a side. This recipe gets its sweet and sour element in the sauce from tomato soup and a little sugar and vinegar. You can add a few strips of bacon to the top when baking, or even a layer of sauerkraut; dress it up with what you like and what you have on hand if desired. This freezes beautifully; just thaw and reheat when you get a craving! I like to mimic the inside of traditional halupki by making little meatballs to layer in the casserole, but you can cut the prep time even more by just sprinkling little “globs” of the meat mixture into the dish. I have also made this in the slow-cooker. Prep the recipe as written, but layer into the crock, cook on low 4 – 6 hours or until cabbage is tender. I normally oven bake this in a disposable aluminum lasagna pan; it gives me some extra depth to avoid spill overs and makes for super easy cleanup.

Halupki Casserole

Halupki Casserole

Ingredients

  • Approx 1-1/2 - 2 lb cabbage, core removed and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces or medium shreds (approx. 1/4" )
  • Meat Mixture
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (OR use all ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Sauce
  • 2 - 10 ounce cans condensed tomato soup
  • 1 - 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 - 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 1 - 2 cups sauerkraut and/or bacon strips (to layer on top of cabbage.)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together, set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix the meat mixture ingredients together well. Form into bite-sized meatballs.
  3. In a deep casserole dish or lasagna pan, place a few spoonfuls of sauce, then layer half the meatballs, then half the cabbage on top and pour half the remaining sauce over the top. Repeat with remaining meatballs, then cabbage, then last of the sauce. NOTE: If you are using sauerkraut and/or bacon, place these on the layers of cabbage before adding the sauce each time.
  4. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 F degrees until cabbage is tender. Baking time varies with how large or small you chopped the cabbage. Start testing the cabbage with a fork after 1 hour. Recover tightly and continue to cook until tender.
  5. NOTE #1: Natural water content of cabbage will vary with each head. You may find your cabbage has released a lot of water or not much. If your casserole seems to need more sauce or is drying, add a little water as it bakes. I always "sloosh" the tomato soup cans with some water to rinse them well and use this if I need to adjust the liquid during baking.
  6. NOTE #2: If adding bacon to your layers, keep in mind bacon will release grease as it cooks, Adding a lot of bacon can cause an excess of grease in the finished dish especially if you start with a high fat ground beef.
  7. NOTE #3: This is not a precise recipe. You might have more or less cabbage, use more or less meat, need more or less sauce...It is one of those recipes where your eyes and instincts will guide you as you put it together.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/06/halupki-casserole/

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postheadericon Scrapple

Ah, scrapple.  A Pa Dutch and Coal Region staple that people either love or hate (also found in other areas of the mid-Atlantic including  Pa, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Amish communities across the country).  I love it fried crispy  and served with either ketchup or maple syrup.   The original scrapple recipes (“Pon Haus” in Pa. Dutch) were created to eliminate waste and use as much of the butchered animal as possible so original scrapple was made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings. Seasonings, like sage, black pepper, and others are added to broth. Buckwheat and/or cornmeal is added to create a “mush”. Buckwheat was very popular in Germany so it comes as no surprise that the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch = German) preferred buckwheat for thickening scrapple.  This recipe is for scrapple lovers who would like to make their own or who are living somewhere where scrapple is completely unobtainable and they dream of having a piece once again, conjuring up memories of “home”.  Although originally created from the “scraps” left over from butchering, homemade recipes do not ask you to go to that extent to obtain the ingredients to make your own.  This recipe uses “normal” ingredients found in today’s meat section of the grocery store. Each scrapple maker has their own special recipe that varies somewhat, but this recipe is a good starting point for you to embark on your own scrapple-making adventure.  My personal favorite way to prepare it is to slice it into 1/4 inch slices, dust both sides of the slice with seasoned flour (all purpose flour with salt and black pepper added) and fry in a cast iron pan with a little oil in the bottom. I like it very brown with a firm crust. Do not turn until browned well or it will fall apart.

Scrapple (Pon Haus)

Scrapple

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean pork with bone
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground savory
  • 1 cup cornmeal, fine
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • OPTIONAL: add a small amount of pork liver to the pork when cooking to add even more authentic flavor

Instructions

  1. Put meat in pot, add 1-1/2 quarts of water, salt and pepper. Simmer until meat is very tender, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Skim fat from top, strain the broth and set aside.
  2. Remove meat from bones and chop it very fine using a food processor or by hand.
  3. Pour broth into sauce pan, add meat, thyme, sage and savory and bring to boil.
  4. Combine cornmeal and buckwheat. Slowly stir 2 cup cold water into mixture. Then add that mix a little at a time to meat, keeping it simmering continuously. Lower heat so scrapple will not scorch, stirring occasionally and watching carefully. Stir until mixture reaches the consistency of soft mush. (wooden spoon stands up in mix)
  5. Pour into two 9" X 5" X 3" pans, rinsed with cold water or lined with parchment strips to help with releasing from the pan. Chill thoroughly. Remove from pans and wrap loaves tightly with plastic wrap
  6. To cook, cut into 1/4" or 1/2" slices. Dredge in seasoned flour, shake off excess. Pour some oil into the bottom of the pan. On medium heat, let brown slowly, but thoroughly on one side. Flip. Repeat for other side.
  7. Serve with condiments of your choice.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/03/scrapple/

 

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postheadericon Pa Dutch Yum-A-Setta

As a Dutchie and Coal Cracker, I never met a noodle or dough ball I didn’t like.  Add cheese to the noodles or dough, and I am in 7th heaven. This casserole does that and, needless to say, is one of my favorites.  Layers of noodles, cheese, and lightly sweetened tomato/burger mix come together in a dish sure to become a family favorite. A pot-luck friendly, travels well recipe, it is also budget friendly, kid-friendly, and can be prepared ahead of baking time. I prefer Velveeta wrapped slices for their melting quality in this recipe, but you can substitute another brand or use deli sliced “American cheese”.  I also use medium width noodles in this dish so the sauce and cheese mixes through well. I pair this with Pa Dutch Pepper Cabbage and it becomes the ultimate comfort food meal for me! COOK’S NOTE: When draining noodles after cooking, I do not drain them perfectly dry.  I leave them slightly damp so that the undiluted cream of chicken soup mixes nicely with them.  SLIGHTLY damp — not dripping!

Pa Dutch Yum-a-Setta

 

Pa Dutch Yum-A-Setta

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1/2 lb. hamburger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted (10-3/4 ounce can)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted (10-1/2 ounce can)
  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 12 slices individually wrapped processed (Velveeta or equivalent deli sliced)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Brown hamburger and onion with salt, pepper. Drain off excess grease.
  3. Add brown sugar, and undiluted tomato soup to the meat mixture and stir well.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package directions; drain. Add undiluted cream of chicken soup to the noodles and mix.
  5. Butter a 13" x 9" casserole dish. Layer 1/2 of the noodle mixture in the bottom of the pan, top with 6 slices cheese layered across the top, then top that with 1/2 of the hamburger mixture. Repeat the layering with the remaining noodle mixture, 6 cheese slices, and hamburger mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/02/pa-dutch-yum-a-setta/

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postheadericon Pa. Dutch Ham Barbecue

“Barbecue” to the Penn Dutch and in the Coal Region is not typically something smoked over wood or a smoking/cooking technique.  In this instance, it refers to chopped meat simmered in a sauce then served on a burger bun. (see Coal Region Barbecue for more on this phenomenon…).  This recipe was created to use deli ham making it fast and easy to make. When making this barbecue, I often use Sahlen’s Deli Ham.  I suggest a good quality deli ham, not something cheap and loaded with added water.  If the deli ham is reminiscent of a slice of baked smoked  ham, you have found it! (Almost every deli will allow you to sample anything they carry — go ahead and experiment with your choices.) Get the ham sliced extremely thin.  We know it as “chipped” here in the coal region and in many areas of Pa., but some regions refer to it as “shaved”.  This is great for parties, get-togethers, and pot lucks.  It holds nicely in a slow-cooker and reheats well. I prefer to make it the day before serving to help the flavors really come together.

Ham Barbecue

Pa. Dutch Ham Barbecue

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds good quality deli ham, shaved/chipped
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup grated onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, mix all ingredients, except ham, until well blended. Lightly chop ham into bit-sized pieces and add ham, mix well. Simmer 15 - 20 minutes. Serve on buns/rolls of choice.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/01/pa-dutch-ham-barbecue/

 

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postheadericon Pa. Dutch Ham Loaf with Pineapple Glaze

In the Coal Region and in Pa Dutch country, it is not unusual to have left over ham from a family holiday dinner or event. It is also easy to find meaty ham ends in grocery stores and butcher shops meaning there is a supply of good quality ham at our fingertips. Ham loaf is a PA thing – and is prolific in some areas across the state where you can find already mixed ground ham and pork for you to use. Many stores and shops even sell ready mixed  ham loaf — just take home and bake!

This ham meatloaf is one of my favorite ways to use leftover ham.  Ham loaf does require ground ham, but meat grinders are not a staple in every kitchen. I have a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and love it. For those without that indulgence in their arsenal, a food processor will do, but a food processor will be chopping the meat instead of grinding it, so the loaf may have a coarser texture than one made with ground ham. Some butcher shops stock ground ham, and others will grind some for you on request.   Leftover ham loaf makes a yummy sandwich (Ham loaf on rye with yellow mustard comes to mind…) giving left over regular meatloaf a run for its  money. The glaze for the ham loaf is the crowning glory. Some are basic brown sugar based, but my favorite is one that includes pineapple which you will find in this recipe. Unbaked ham loaf freezes well.  Glaze when it is time to bake. I like more ham than pork in my loaf, but equal parts works just as well. COOK’S NOTE: For this recipe you want a fully cooked ham, NOT cured “country ham”.

Pa Dutch Ham Loaf with Pineapple Glaze

Pa. Dutch Ham Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup finely crushed saltines
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground fully cooked ham
  • 1 pound ground fresh pork
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs; add milk, crackers and pepper. Add the ham and pork; mix well.
  2. Shape into a 9x4-in. loaf and place in a shallow baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients; pour over loaf.
  4. Bake at 350° until instant read thermometer registers 170°, about 80 to 90 minutes, basting with the sauce frequently. Do not overcook.
  5. Let rest for 10 - 15 minutes, slice and serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/24/pa-dutch-ham-loaf-with-pineapple-glaze/

This kind of Ham

Use Fully Cooked Ham

NOT this kind

Do not use Country Ham

 

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postheadericon Stuffed Pepper Soup

Everything you love about stuffed peppers, but in the form of an easy and satisfying soup. Quick to whip up, this soup also freezes nicely. As the cooler weather settles in on the Coal Region, I like to have soups available for speedy meals as often as possible. This one is a favorite of mine and on frequent rotation on my schedule because it comes together quickly, is budget friendly, and does not require hours of simmering.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups chopped green peppers
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain off excess fat.
  2. Stir in next eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add cooked rice; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/stuffed-pepper-soup/

 

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postheadericon Colcannon

The Coal Region is home to many with deep Irish roots. The discovery of Anthracite and the plentiful work for miners led many Irish laborers, escaping oppression and the infamous potato famine, to the Coal Region. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of cabbage (or kale) and onion (or leeks) fried until tender then folded into creamy mashed potatoes. Bacon may be added if desired. Every family has “their” recipe and each will be a little bit different than the others. Colcannon makes a terrific side dish with ham or corned beef, but it can be a meal in itself. Simple, down-to-earth comfort food that’s easy on the budget and sure to please your taste buds. HINT: Form refrigerated leftovers into patties and fry in a pan in some melted butter until browned on both sides.

Colcannon

Colcannon

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped (or substitute with kale)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, saute the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent.
  3. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/colcannon/

 

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