I came across an old Irish rhyme that goes: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man!” And thought, What? I don’t need another man, but this “boxty” thing intrigues me.
So, this year I unearthed and reworked an old favorite, Irish Boxty, the holy grail of pancakes for potato lovers! They’re made with a mix of mashed and grated potatoes. They’re crispy on the edges, pillowy and creamy in the middle and exactly the kind of peasant food we love — hearty, economical and endlessly versatile.
Boxties can be served sweet or savory, just as you might serve biscuits alongside a meal. They can be enjoyed simply with butter or sprinkled with sugar, as a side dish for any meal, or as a base for wonderful toppings.
Our boxties are served with sausage and topped with a buttery, boozy mushroom mixture called Drunken Mushrooms. In honor of St. Paddy’s Day, I added a handful of green spinach and used Irish whisky to deglaze the pan, but you could use other liquors or even just a splash of broth.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour
2 pounds (6 to 8) russet potatoes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
3 to 4 tablespoons butter
Peel half of the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place them into a medium saucepan, cover with salted water by an inch, then bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash until smooth and place into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, as those potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 200 F. Peel the remaining potatoes and grate with a box grater. Wrap the raw grated potatoes in a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add the grated potatoes to the bowl with the mashed potatoes. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, pepper, milk and egg, stirring until incorporated.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Melt half the butter, then, cooking in small batches, add the batter 1/2 cup at a time, flattening the boxties with a spatula. Turn them occasionally, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes per batch. Make sure you get the edges browned and crispy, because they are to die for. Place cooked boxties on a baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep warm as you repeat with the remaining patties, adding butter to the pan as needed.
Yield: 2 cups
Total Time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound mushrooms (button or cremini), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon liquor of choice (marsala, Irish whisky, sherry or broth)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup fresh spinach, optional
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add butter. Place minced garlic in the skillet and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are cooked through and golden. Add liquor of choice or broth, should you prefer sober mushrooms. Add thyme and stir, letting the liquor evaporate. Add spinach, if using. Stir to wilt the spinach. Serve with boxty.
While I can’t guarantee you’ll get a man, I guarantee you’re in for a treat. This Irish Boxty recipe is simple, delicious and makes the best potato pancakes. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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