Monday, March 2, 2020


   Here's another Irish dish that I've been wanting to share for years, but just never got around to it. Traditionally it is usually served for St Brigid's Day, but I don't think anyone will mind that I'm posting it for St Patrick's Day!
 Ok, so, what is Boxty, anyway? Well, actually, it can be any of several different things, depending on the way you cook it. It's made of mashed potatoes, grated raw potatoes, plus a few other ingredients, and then it can be made into a dough for Boxty Bread, boiled as for dumplings, or the most popular way of cooking it, frying it in a pan like griddle cakes. It's then served with a little butter and a light sprinkling of sugar to have with tea, or garnished with chopped scallions and served with breakfast, which was how I decided to go. A big Irish Breakfast with sausages, grilled tomato, baked beans, bacon, and eggs (I'll skip the black pudding, if you don't mind, thank you very much). Sounds pretty fabulous, right? That's definitely enough to cure any hangover!
 So I did some googling, and it appears that most boxty recipes are very similar. Some call for buttermilk, some include an egg, some call for whole milk, and everyone seems to add a different amount of flour. As with many "traditional" recipes, there never seems to be one specific definitive recipe. Everyone makes it the way they like it. So I decided to go with this version, from a community recipe blog called Chow Hound.
 And, of course, we can't talk about boxty without mentioning the old Irish rhyme:
"Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man!" 
Hmm... I'm not sure how true that is, but it can't hurt to try!

2 pounds (3 to 4 large) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt, plus more for seasoning the potatoes before cooking
1 large egg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 Heat the oven to 200°F.
Chop half of the potatoes into large dice, place in a medium saucepan, salt generously, and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the potatoes uncovered until fork tender, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, grate the remaining potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Toss with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and place in a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl; set aside. When the boiled potatoes are ready, drain them, return them to the pot, add 1/4 cup of the milk, and mash until the potatoes are smooth. 
 With a plastic spatula, press the grated potatoes against the sides and bottom of the strainer to remove any liquid. Add the grated potatoes to the mashed potatoes.
 Place the egg, remaining 1/2 cup milk, flour, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the potatoes and stir until evenly incorporated. 
 Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it: If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use; if it evaporates instantly, the pan is too hot. Once the pan is ready, add enough butter to lightly coat the bottom when melted. Drop 3 dollops (about 1/4 cup each) of the batter into the pan and spread each to about 1/4 inch thick. Cook until the pancake bottoms are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Place on a baking sheet and set in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter. Serve warm.

The biggest variable in the recipe is how much moisture your potatoes have. Boiling the potatoes to mash them, moisture. Grating raw potatoes, moisture. So you want to drain your boiled potatoes very well, and do the same for the grated raw potatoes. I treated the grated potatoes just as I do thawed frozen spinach: place a clean tea towel on your flat working surface, place the grated potatoes in the center. Now pick up all four corners of the towel, and twist to make a bundle. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
 Once you have all of your ingredients combined, adjust the flour if needed. If your dough is too loose, just add small bits of flour until you reach the right consistency, almost like cookie dough. You'll wind up with a much fluffier pancake that will brown more evenly!

1 comment:

Chuck Bush said...

The detailed explanations and visual cues ensure even beginners can master the art of making perfect Boxty pancakes. The use of simple ingredients adds to the charm, making it a go-to recipe for pancake enthusiasts. I can't wait to try this out and savor the delicious blend of flavors. If you love stuffed pancake martabak Singapore is a better choice.