White-bean colcannon with sticky braised beef

White-bean colcannon with sticky braised beef

Cut the Carbs!

Trying to win some friends over to a spudless way of eating can be hard graft. You may struggle to convince a Dubliner that a colcannon made from white beans is worth their time. But the humble cabbage – in this case the deep emerald hues of kale – has proved it can still be a star when folded through any mass of mash, whether potato or pulse. This version of colcannon is an excellent complement for many family basics; from sausages with slow-cooked onion gravy, pork chops with apple sauce to sticky slow-cooked beef stews. This braised beef is a no-fuss sort of supper. Start the stew in the morning and let it blip away all afternoon. The end result is bold and confident, calming and comforting all at once.


Quantity Ingredient
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Sticky braised beef

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g lardons or bacon, cut into slim strips
1kg chuck steak or beef shin with a good amount of white sinew marbled through, cut into 2-cm cubes
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and cut into 1-cm thick slices
2 onions, peeled, halved and cut into slim half-moons
200g button mushrooms, halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
500ml beef stock
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

White-bean colcannon

Quantity Ingredient
2 x 400g tins of white beans, rinsed
30ml milk
100g kale, washed and finely chopped
5 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve


  1. Start with the sticky braised beef. Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
  2. Add half of the olive oil to a flameproof and heatproof casserole dish over medium heat and sauté the lardons or bacon until they have browned and rendered their fat. Remove from the dish.
  3. Season the beef chunks with 1 teaspoon salt. Brown them in small batches in the dish, making sure you get a good brown crust on the meat, as this is the basis of much of the flavour in the braise. If you crowd the pan, the meat will limply stew rather than crisply sear – you don’t want this. When the meat is brown all over, remove it from the dish and set it aside. Repeat with the remaining beef and if the dish ever seems too dry, add a little more olive oil.
  4. Once all the meat is done, add the remaining olive oil, then the carrots, onions, mushrooms and garlic (it’s fine if there is some residue from the meat clinging to the bottom). Sauté for 5–10 minutes over medium heat to soften the vegetables a little and to add a hint of colour.
  5. Return the bacon and meat (and any juices that have leached out) into the dish. Stir to combine, then pour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce. There should be enough liquid to just come to the top of the meat. If it doesn’t, add some more stock or water so that the majority of the stew is covered, but some bits pop out the top like floating islands.
  6. Turn the heat up to high and allow the stock to come to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil, take the pan off the heat, put the lid on and place in the preheated oven for 2 hours.
  7. After 2 hours, take off the lid and bake for another hour. This will help the sauce to reduce.
  8. When done, the meat should flake apart, the carrots and onions should be pliable and soft and the sauce sticky and rich. If you’re not quite at that point, return the stew to the oven. You could also cook this on low in a slow cooker all day.
  9. To make the white-bean colcannon, use a stick blender or food processor to purée the beans with the milk until very smooth.
  10. Put the kale and any water that’s still clinging to the leaves in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir for about 1–2 minutes until the kale has begun to soften. Add the bean purée and spring onions and stir to heat through and combine, but be careful not to let it catch on the bottom of the pan. If it seems a little dry or begins to catch, add a few tablespoons water or milk. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve the sticky braised beef spooned on top of the white-bean colcannon and top with chopped parsley.
low carb
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