There’s a great little Irish Pub called Dargan’s where Mike and I love to drop in for a quick bite after a movie when we’re in Santa Barbara . It’s right downtown, stays open late, has a friendly staff, and good pub grub. They celebrate the 17th of every month at Dargan’s with half price specials on all the traditional Irish fare on their menu, consequently the place is jammed packed on those nights. But the monthly celebration is but a warm up to their annual March 17 celebration for St. Patrick’s Day. Then, it’s standing room only in the bar and not a table to be had.

This year, we will be at our home at Tahoe and so we’ll miss out on the Dargan’s festivities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a little Irish tradition to honor the day by eating (and drinking) Irish.


On the drinking Irish front, we’ll pop the top on a can of imported Strongbow dry cider. OK, technically it’s English, but at only about 0.75 gram of carb per ounce, it’s a pretty good carb bargain, compared to, say, a Guinness or even compared to other brands of hard cider, which can often be pretty sweet.

The most traditional of all Irish dishes is Colcannon, which is made, chiefly, with that most traditional of Irish vegetables, the potato, which presents a slight problem for anyone trying to follow a traditional low carb diet. The rest of what’s in it–kale, butter, cream, leeks and a little onion–is pretty low carb friendly.

Never one to let tradition stand in the way of…uh…tradition, I set about to bend Colcannon to my will and here’s the result:

Cauli Colcannon

1 large head cauliflower, washed, trimmed, and chopped coarsely
1 pound kale, washed thoroughly, and chopped coarsely
12 tablespoons butter, divided use
1/4 cup warm half and half cream
2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
Celtic Sea Salt and Freshly Ground pepper to taste
1 pound bacon, cooked crisp, drained

1. In a large stock pot, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon sea salt and the kale. Cook for 2 minutes, drain, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place the pieces of cauliflower and about 1 tablespoon of water into a microwave safe dish. Cover and cook on hi power for 6 minutes. Carefully remove the cover, stir, and microwave until quite tender, about another 3 minutes on hi power.
3. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a microwave safe bowl.
4. Place the cauliflower into a food processor, add the melted butter, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and process until smooth. Set aside.
5. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute the leeks and onions until tender. Add the kale, increase the heat to high, and saute another few minutes.
6. Add the cauliflower puree and bacon to the pot and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
7. Divide evenly among 6 shallow bowls. Make an indention in the center of the mound. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and a sprinkling of fresh parsley into the indentation. Serve with a side of grilled ‘bangers’, a roasted leg of lamb, or just on its own.

May the luck of the Irish be yours this year! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


  1. There’s cream mentioned in the directions, but not in the ingredient list? How much?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: You’re absolutely right. A friend who reads my posts regularly just told me of the omission last night at our Choral Society rehearsal. I will fix the error. And thanks for letting me know!

  2. I love Strongbow! I discovered it a couple of years ago, and I’m always pleased to run across it at the liquor store.

    Another not very sweet (but not very Irish) cider is Woodchuck Granny Smith.

    I’m glad you mentioned cider, because I bet a lot of people don’t realize that there are a number of hard ciders available that are a moderate carb bargain compared to beer.

  3. Okay, you had me at colcannon…
    I modified my own colcannon recipe with daikon radish, which works pretty well, but for some reason, I never thought about caulflower.
    What a great idea–thanks!

  4. At 0.75g/oz, a 12 oz bottle of strongbow would have 9g of carbs. That’s only 1g less than a 12 oz bottle of Guiness Draught–not that much of a bargain. I prefer to stick with the Guiness, personally. Though I do enjoy an occasional hard cider.

  5. Thankyou for the recipe. I am familiar with the dish but never thought to low carb it. I am anxious to give it a go. For fun I checked the menu at the Daragans link. The “Guiness Onion Soup” caught my eye. It sounds wonderful.
    (I do a nice low carb beef stew with Brown Ale.)
    This is off topic but…. MD have you done much cooking with ALmond Breeze? I had my hopes up and tried an LC custard with it but it separated and was terrible. I wonder if you have had any successes?
    ~Happy cooking
    COMMENT from MD EADES: I had mentioned in a previous blog that I was going to, but I have not yet gotten around to doing it. Sounded like a good idea, though. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out. If it separated, it might be that you need something more potent to bind it together. Maybe one of the Expert Foods thickeners would help. Not sure about that, either. I will try to find some time to give it a go when we finish this book we’re writing (which is due very very soon) and post about it.

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