Ham and Brussels Sprouts Colcannon Cakes

Being knee-deep in Thanksgiving leftovers still, I decided to incorporate some leftover ham into an idea I’ve done before, Irish Colcannon. Normally a cabbage and mashed potato dish, I added the saltiness of cubed baked ham and instead of cabbage, I used its baby cousin, the Brussels sprout.

Brussels sprouts are a normal part of Thanksgiving dinner, but my brother’s family aren’t part of Team Brussels Sprouts, so I actually came home and steamed some myself to have the “leftover experience.” Yes, I’m that guy. I’m the one who eats all the Brussels sprouts at holiday meals. I’m the guy that relatives mumble to themselves, “Oh, good. Someone’s eating those things.”

My family’s background is Hungarian where cabbage was more common than fries and gravy, so having “baby cabbages” were nothing new.

If you don’t have leftover mashed potato and steamed Brussels sprouts, it’s okay, I’m including basic techniques to do this dish from scratch (except for baking a ham. I do a lot of things fresh, but baking a ham for potato cakes is beyond my madness!) 😉

Ham and Brussels Sprouts Colcannon Cakes

For the mashed potatoes:

300g/12 oz potatoes (a good high starch potato like Russet or Yukon Gold works), cubed

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup (70 mL) milk

1 tsp salt

   In a medium pot, add the potatoes, salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain away the water, mash with a potato masher and add the butter and milk. Mash further until the potatoes are smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

For the steamed Brussels sprouts:

200g/7 oz Brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved

   Add the halved Brussels sprouts to a steamer and steam, covered, for 10 minutes. (I have a steamer insert for one of my large pots and steamed these while I cooked the potatoes below. Champion multitasker!) Remove from the steamer and roughly chop into smaller pieces about 1cm (1/2″) in size. Add to the bowl with the mashed potatoes.

For the Ham and Brussels Sprouts Colcannon Cakes:

Reserved mashed potatoes and steamed Brussels sprouts

3/4 cup (about 4 oz/100g) cubed ham

Potato starch for dredging (about 1/4 cup) (or flour is fine, I just happened to have potato starch and it works great with potato dishes)

2-3 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil, for pan frying

   To the prepared mashed potatoes and steamed Brussels sprouts, add the ham and stir to combine. Or mix with your hands. It’s food, using your hands is perfectly acceptable and much more fun! I portioned the mixture with a portioning scoop (ice cream scoop). My scoop is about 3-1/2 oz or about 1/4 cup (70mL) but you could use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion too. I formed each portion into thick cakes and set aside on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.

   Place the potato starch in a small bowl.

   Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add some of the oil for frying. Dredge 3 or 4 of the portioned cakes in potato starch, shaking off the excess lightly and pan fry in the preheated pan for 5-7 minutes per side until deeply golden. Repeat with remaining cakes. Makes 7 cakes.

   I served mine with an Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce, but a quick pesto or cream sauce would be great too. Or if your kids want ketchup, go ahead. It’s predominately potato and fries are made of potato, so go crazy with it! It’s just dinner after all! 😉

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