• 4 medium sweet potatoes from The Collard Patch
  • 1 cup cooked cabbards (see below)
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter


Heat oven to 400°. Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove skin.

Place warm sweet potatoes into bowl and mash. Fold in warm cabbards and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brown butter by heating heavy-bottomed pot or skillet over medium heat. Cut butter into tablespoons into skillet. Heat, stirring frequently, until butter becomes foamy. When it is lightly brown and smells nutty and the foam has subsided, remove from heat immediately and set on a cool surface to stop further heating. Drizzle over colcannon at serving time. Serve with Brewmaster’s Malt Mustard alongside Johnston County ham. For a real Southern St. Patty’s Day feast, pair this recipe with Wendy Perry’s Irish Soda Bread Cornbread.

Yields 4 servings. 

Wendy’s Cabbards
What are cabbards? Simple: cabbage plus collards. The cabbage sweetens the collards, and doesn’t cook down as much as collards do.


  • 3-5 pounds chicken pieces for broth (dark meat preferred)
  • 1 pound bacon (for drippings)
  • 4 pounds collards from The Collard Patch
  • 6 pounds cabbage (pointed-head, if possible)
  • Salt and pepper


Place chicken into large stockpot and add 2 gallons water. Bring to a full boil, then cut back to a low boil and cook about 1 hour, until chicken is fully cooked and fork-tender. Remove chicken for another use. While chicken is cooking, wash and roughly cut up the collards and cabbage. Return poultry stock to a full boil and add greens, pushing them into the broth to make room. Season with salt and pepper. When all greens are in the pot, cover and continue at a low boil for 1-1½ hours until tender, stirring occasionally.

While greens cook, fry bacon for drippings in a large cast iron skillet, saving the bacon for other recipes. Pour cooled drippings into a container. Once greens are cooked, in the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons of drippings. Use tongs to place cabbards (with some broth) into the hot drippings until the skillet is full. As they cook, stir often to prevent sticking. If the broth evaporates and the cabbards need more cooking, ladle a bit of broth over them. Remove cabbards to containers to cool, and continue until all greens are cooked. Save the nutrient-rich pot liquor to sip or use as a soup base.

Yields about 6 quarts.

NC Products Used

The Collard Patch
If you’re the kind of person who wants to go a step further than a farmers market, to teach your child about the “real thing,” to eat something fresh from the good soil it grew in, you want to find Hal Gurley and his collard patch in Wake Forest. For 31 years, Gurley’s been growing pick-your-own collards, along with strawberries, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. Pick, wash, chop, boil, season, eat. Slurp pot liquor. Repeat.

Johnston County Hams
Rufus Brown’s job title is uppercase: Curemaster. His commitment to that role explains why Smithfield’s Johnston County Hams are world-famous, having been salted, sugared, rubbed, dried, and smoked to perfection. A year’s worth of simulated seasons — a humid winter, windy spring, and the warm temps of summer — create that beloved burgundy-colored, salty-tasting, chewy-textured treat. Even the ham’s aroma is tested, with a stainless steel needle inserted in the heart of the ham. Try to carve yourself a slice “thin enough to read through,” as people say, with breakfast eggs, lunchtime rye, or supper’s biscuit.

Brewmaster’s Malt Mustard
Mustard from malt; why didn’t you think of this? Al Wolf did. He uses unfermented beer, as well as brown and yellow mustard seeds, in his Brewmaster’s Malt Mustard. Wolf, head brewer at Red Oak Brewery, arrived from Germany five and a half years ago, bringing his talents to Whitsett and to this spicy, creamy-yet-crunchy, refrigerated (because it’s not pasteurized) condiment with a thicker consistency than regular mustard. See that grilled brat, or sausage, or wurst before you? Dunk, slather, spread, bite, and conjure up a biergarten. 

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Wendy Perry is a recipe developer, personal chef, and Franklin County native.