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Boxty – a traditional Irish potato pancake

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty on the pan,
If you can’t bake boxty
sure you’ll never get a man

Happy St Patrick’s day folks, I hope those of you celebrating have had a fantastic day! Kate and I joined in the celebrations today by having Boxtys for dinner.

What are boxtys I hear you cry? Well, they are a pancake made with cooked and raw potato, a bit like a cross between a tattie scone and a hash brown and completely delicious. They are more traditionally associated with the north midlands and southern Ulster and given my mum’s family roots from Cavan, I thought this would be a perfect St Patrick’s day treat.

Like most cultural foods, over recent years there has been a surge in interest of boxtys and they are now appearing on restaurant menus throughout Ireland, although usually in a more contemporary form. Traditionally these can be eaten hot or cold, slathered in butter, or even with jam, but most popularly, as part of an Ulster fry (cooked breakfast served in the region) but they really do go with anything 🙂

Mine are little drop scone type affairs but you can cook these as thinner, larger wrap style boxtys and fill them with all sorts of delicious things (as seen in posh restaurants).

Traditional Irish Boxty

Ingredients (apologies for the Americanism of cups)

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes, boiled in salted water
  • 1 1/2 cups grated, raw potato
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or more if needed)
  • butter for the pan (my friend Anthony has instructed me that the most important thing is to FRY, FRY, FRY)

So let’s get going…

  • Put the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside while you combine the mashed potatoes with the grated raw potato
  • once combined add the flour and mix well. Now very slowly add the buttermilk and stir to mix, try not to over mix though. The mixture should be like a very firm, thick batter; almost like a dough but not quite. Take your time adding the buttermilk as you can keep adding a little at a time, but you can’t take it away if you add too much and make things runny.
  • Heat your nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add a knob of butter and let it melt
  • then scoop a nice dollop of the boxy batter onto the pan, you’ll need to flatten and shape it into a nice, roundish pancake shape and fry until golden brown on the bottom before turning it and cooking the other side until golden brown on too, turning the heat down if they are browning too quickly (remember there are raw potatoes which need to cook).
  • Continue to add a little butter to the pan to fry each of the boxy patties until all the batter is finished.

Serve hot.

For dinner tonight, we served them with steak and a creamy mushroom sauce and a delicious glass of the black stuff.

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