Irish Colcannon Soup
This quick and easy soup recipe pays homage to classic Irish Colcannon by blending Yukon Gold potatoes with the rich flavor of chicken bone broth, finely chopped kale, and leeks.
Traditional Colcannon is an Irish dish of mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage, creating a hearty and comforting side dish. In this thyroid-healthy recipe, I've transformed Colcannon's essence into a soul-warming soup.
One of the primary flavors is leek, a type of allium with a delicate bite and sweetness and a dynamite flavor pairing with potatoes. The infusion of Lacinato kale boosts the nutrient density, gives it a gorgeous green hue and a complementary base note of vegetal flavor. For a finishing touch, pinches of sliced green onion and crumbled bacon make this bowl absolutely irresistible.
This soup is a crowd-pleaser and especially family-friendly. It's one of my kiddo's favorites! It also happens to be gluten and dairy-free.
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How to Make This Irish Colcannon Soup
Step 1 - Sautéing the Greens:
This soup starts with a healthy dollop of grass-fed ghee, giving it a nice buttery flavor without the milk proteins found in regular butter. Ghee is essentially clarified butter with all the milk solids removed and is considered casein, whey, and lactose-free. According to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, while it is technically a dairy product, most people who are intolerant to dairy have no issue with ghee.
NOTE: If you cannot tolerate ghee, you can substitute extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
The buttery flavor of ghee is a classic flavor pairing for potatoes, and layered on top of these two friends is a third lover of butter and potatoes: leeks. We’ll use one large leek here, and the trick with leeks is that you only want to use the white and light green parts only. You can wash, chop, and stash the leafy tops in a silicone freezer bag for your next batch of bone broth, but do be sure to rinse between the leaves because leeks are notoriously silty.
Next, we’ll add about 4 cups of chopped kale to the pot. I used Lacinato kale here, but curly kale works too. Soften and bring out the more sweet and delicate flavor aspects of the leeks and greens by gently sautéeing them over medium or medium-low heat while you chop your potatoes.
Potatoes: The Heart of This Soup
Any type of potato would work here, but I love the color, flavor, and texture of Yukon Golds. About 2 pounds of them go into the pot, and when chopping, we want to try to stay somewhat uniform in size so the potatoes cook at the same rate. Once they're all chopped up, we can add them to the pot.
While potatoes are loaded with nutrients, including gut-health-supportive resistant starch, they are in the nightshade family, which some of us are sensitive to. If you need to avoid nightshades, you could substitute white sweet potatoes, which are not in the nightshade family. While the flavor profile will be sweeter, white sweet potatoes are less sweet than the orange-fleshed varieties. You could also experiment with options like celery root, parsnips, or turnips.
One thing about potatoes is that they can take quite a bit of salt. In fact if you ever do oversalt a soup, you can add a potato to the pot to draw some of that excess salt out. For this soup, we'll add about a teaspoon and a half of sea salt to the potatoes before we simmer. Depending on how salty your broth is, you may need to add even more at the end when you adjust the seasoning.
Further Reading: Are Potatoes Thyroid-Healthy?
Bone Broth: The Foundation of This Soup
Next, we’ll add 4 cups of chicken bone broth and let everything simmer together for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Depending on your dietary needs and preferences, you can substitute vegetable broth or regular chicken broth in this soup, but ideally, for the most flavorful and nourishing soup possible, chicken bone broth is best.
Storebought chicken bone broth is the quick and easy option (I like Kettle & Fire brand), while homemade Chicken Bone Broth will give you the most bang for your buck and the richest flavor and nutrients.
Bone broth is one of the most highly recommended foods for anyone with an autoimmune disease or gut health issues commonly associated with thyroid imbalance. The collagen and glycine can help repair cell damage in the intestinal tract. It also supports hair, skin, and nail health and our body's detox pathways.
Creating the Perfect Texture
Once everything in the pot has had time to get happy together and the potatoes are nice and soft, we'll give this soup a beautiful rustic texture using a potato masher. We don’t want to mash all the potatoes, but if you mash only half of the pot, you’ll end up with a nice mixture of potato cubes and a hearty potato puree, with beautiful flecks of light and dark green.
Alternatively, you could blend this soup with an immersion blender, but use care to keep it rustic and chunky. Of course, if you want a smooth puree-- that works too and you can blend to your heart's delight!
The Finishing Touches
As with all soups, or any dish for that matter, we always want to take a moment at the end to taste and adjust the seasoning. Because potatoes act like salt sponges, you may need to add salt.
I like to use one of my secret flavor boosters in this soup: white pepper. White pepper has a bright bite that brings out some of the hidden personality in otherwise bland potatoes, especially with those sweet and delicate leeks. When using white pepper, be sure to go sparingly with this potent spice, as it can overpower when over-used.
This soup is absolutely irresistible when topped with a combo of crumbled bacon and sliced green onion. It's also delicious without any garnish at all.
That's all there is to it! This Irish Colcannon Soup is sure to be a recipe you'll play on repeat.
Like most soups, this one is even better the next day. Because it's dairy-free, it also freezes well. Feel free to double or even triple the recipe and stash some in the freezer for those days when you don't feel like cooking. I like to refrigerate or freeze my leftover soups in Pyrex containers to avoid the thyroid and endocrine-disrupting toxins that can leach from plastics.
The YouTube video demo below is a sneak peek I pulled from my Sensational Soups Workshop - one of several thyroid-friendly cooking workshops available inside the Thrivers Club!
Thyroid-Healthy Recipe Highlights:
- Potatoes are high in many nutrients and antioxidants like Vitamins C, B6, and Potassium. They are also high in resistant starch, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut and can help maintain a healthy blood sugar balance.
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, loaded with powerful antioxidants. According to nutritionist Kate Jay, kale is also excellent for methylation, which is vital for ridding the body of toxins.
- Bone broth is one of the most highly recommended foods for anyone with an autoimmune disease. The collagen and glycine can help repair cell damage in the intestinal tract. It also supports hair, skin, and nail health and our body's detox pathways.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine and other bioavailable trace minerals.
- Ghee is essentially clarified butter with all the milk solids removed and is considered casein, whey, and lactose-free. While it is technically a dairy product, most people who are intolerant to dairy have no issue with ghee. NOTE: If you cannot tolerate ghee, you can substitute extra virgin olive oil.
Happy cooking, happy thriving, and enjoy the recipe (below)!
P.S. If you're anything like me, when I started down the path of thyroid-healthy eating I had questions-- lots of them. What I didn't have was a step-by-step system, to get me where I wanted to go. I wasted a lot of time piecing together bits of information about what to eat, what to avoid, and HOW to make thyroid-healthy dietary changes. That’s why I created the Thyroid-healthy Meal Plan Kickstart. Ready to harness the power of thyroid-healthy eating? Let’s get you kickstarted! Learn more HERE.
More Thyroid-Healthy Soup Recipes:
- Red Lentil Rainbow Soup
- Turkey Albondigas Soup
- Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham
- Tomato, Sausage, and Fennel Soup
- AIP Zucchini Basil Breakfast Soup
- Creamy Carrot Coconut Soup