Boxty: Savory Irish Potato Pancakes

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

Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned rhyme to go with their pancakes?

Irish potato pancakes recipe

Boxty are Irish potato pancakes, and they’re a little bit different than any other potato pancakes I’ve made before. They’re traditionally from the northern parts of Ireland (Republic of) and used to be called “poor man’s bread”.

They are easier to make than rosti/hash browns, which I just cannot get right. Boxty include cooked mashed and raw grated potatoes, making them more like cakes than hash browns, and they are perfect if you’re looking for a different way to serve up potatoes. They’re best served with savory accompaniments, and are delicious at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

When I make them, I don’t rinse the raw potato, but if you want a slightly less starchy final product, you can, as long as you strain it well.

I served my boxty with baked cod (cod, sprinkled with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of paprika and baked for 15 minutes on 200C/390F), steamed baby spinach and chimichurri sauce on top. (Chimichurri: garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley or cilantro/coriander, salt, olive oil and cider vinegar blitzed together)

Irish potato pancakes recipe

Makes: about 15 pancakes

On the Counter

1 cup (250 g) raw grated potato
1 cup (250 g) raw potato in chunks
1 cup (250 g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp (or so) butter
1 cup (230 mL)  buttermilk*

What to Do

Boil the chunks of potato in salted water until soft, about 6 minutes. Drain and mash them up.

In a wide, flat skillet or cast iron pan, heat the butter over low heat until it melts and starts to bubble.

Mix in the raw grated potato (which you may have rinsed to remove some starch), flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.

Slowly add the buttermilk and incorporate it into the mix. It should be like a cake batter, not doughy. Add more milk if necessary, but I didn’t need it.

Use a tablespoon to measure a heaping portion of potato mix and drop it carefully into the pan. You can spread it out a bit with the back of your spoon. Fry it for about 2 minutes on each side, or until it’s golden brown.

[You’ll see that some bubbles will start to come up, and the top of the pancake will start to look drier on the un-fried side. If you try to flip before they’re ready, you’ll just get a very messy spatula.]

*If you don’t have, or don’t want to buy, buttermilk, you can cheat by mixing 1 tbsp of white vinegar with 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

4 thoughts on “Boxty: Savory Irish Potato Pancakes

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