Colcannon chicken and apple pie

Colcannon chicken and apple pie


14 people made this

About this recipe: Colcannon is a simple, warming Irish potato dish, combining mashed potatoes with shredded cooked cabbage and chopped spring onions. Here it is used as a lovely pie topping for chicken cooked in cider with sliced apples and carrots. The pie is a well-balanced meal in itself, needing no accompaniments.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 4 

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 450 g (1 lb) skinless boneless chicken breasts (fillets), cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) dry cider
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 2 Cox's apples, thickly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • salt and pepper
  • Colcannon topping
  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 200 g (7 oz) Savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 25 g (scant 1 oz) butter
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped

Prep:50min  ›  Cook:50min  ›  Ready in:1hr40min 

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Stir in the carrots.
  3. Combine the stock, cider, mustard and tarragon, and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the apples and cook, covered, for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken and carrots are tender, and the apples have softened but are still holding their shape.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Cook the cabbage in a separate pan of boiling water for 4–5 minutes or until just tender but not soft; drain well.
  5. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the milk and butter, and mash until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and spring onions, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Using a draining spoon, transfer the chicken, apples and vegetables to a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof dish. Set aside. Preheat the grill to high.
  7. Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water, stir into the cooking liquid in the frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour over the chicken mixture.
  8. Pile the potato and cabbage topping over the chicken mixture, spreading it evenly to cover. Place under the grill and cook for 4–5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Some more ideas

Replace the cider with pressed apple juice. * Instead of cabbage and spring onions, use leeks in the potato topping. Cook 2 sliced leeks in the butter until tender. Mash the potatoes with the milk, then mix in the buttery leeks. * Make sherried liver topped with minted pea mash. Soften 1 sliced onion in 1 tbsp sunflower oil, then add 400 g (14 oz) lamb's liver, cut into strips and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add 2 sliced courgettes. Combine 250 ml (8½ fl oz) lamb or chicken stock, 2 tbsp medium-dry sherry, the grated zest and juice of 1 orange, and 1 tbsp tomato purée, and pour over the liver mixture. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes. Transfer the liver and vegetables to the ovenproof dish. Thicken the liquid with 1 tbsp cornflour as in the main recipe, season and pour into the dish. For the topping, cook the potatoes for 10 minutes, then add 200 g (7 oz) mint-flavoured frozen peas. Bring back to the boil and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and crush roughly with a fork, mixing in the milk, butter and 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives. Spread over the top of the liver mixture and grill as in the main recipe.

Plus points

Savoy cabbage contains flavonoids that are believed to help suppress cancer-causing cells. It also contains other nutrients with protective properties, such as vitamins C and E. * Adding a green vegetable such as cabbage to a mashed potato topping is a tasty and clever way of increasing the vegetable content of a meal. It will also be appealing to children who may not always be fond of vegetables like cabbage when they are served separately.

Each serving provides

A, B6, C, niacin * B1, E, folate, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc * B2, calcium, iron

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Reviews (10)


Took shortcuts. Not shortcuts, really, but cooked the ingredients a little differently. Plus, I seasoned the chicken with the seasonings from the recipe while the chicken was initially cooking on the stove top. Also, did the suggestion of the sauteed leeks instead of cabbage to mix in with the mashed potatoes. If you can find Baby Leeks, I would recommend that. Also, instead of 'grilling' it, I baked it at 180C for about 25 minutes, until the sauce bubbled through. - 07 Jan 2011


I made this as recipe said and it turned out lovely tho I think we would struggle to feed 4 people out of it with no accompanying vegtables,maybe we are just greedy lol.we had it with homemade soda bread and it went down very well.will defo make again - 21 Sep 2015


We loved this recipe! Sweet and savory and fairly easy to make. It did make for a lot of cleanup afterward, so it won't be made as often as I'd like. I used the called-for amount of mustard, but agree that it needs more. - 18 Mar 2012

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