A simply delicious spicy sweet potato colcannon with pancetta recipe.

Although there’s nothing immediately Irish about Thanksgiving there’s no reason we can’t put a bit of an Emerald Isle slant on things and even add a bit of a kick.

Traditionally you might have sweet potatoes with marshmallows, roasted or in a casserole, so this Thanksgiving why not tip your hat to the Irish flag and create this Irish sweet potato colcannon, a la Feed the Saints.

Traditionally colcannon is eaten at Halloween but it’s a wonderful dish to have at any time.

Spicy sweet potato colcannon with pancetta recipe

Yield: serves 4-6


  • 1/3 pound kale, rinsed well and stripped of coarse stems
  • 1.5 pounds sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 slices (1/8-inch thick) pancetta, diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or as much as 1/4 teaspoon, for more heat)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half salt and pepper to taste.


Boil sweet potato in water for 15 minutes or until tender.

Drain and pass through a potato ricer or food mill, into a large, heat-proof pot.

Add the chopped kale to the sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium skillet, over moderate heat, cook the pancetta until crisp but not browned.

In the same pan, you used to cook the pancetta, melt the butter. Add onion and cayenne pepper and sauté.

Over moderate heat, until onion is translucent and has lost its crunch. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat half-and-half then beat into the sweet potato-kale mixture. Add the pancetta. Add the onion and the fat from the pan. Combine all ingredients well, and keep warm.

(Visit www.feedingthesaints.com for more information)

*Originally published in 2014, last updated in November 2023.