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Recipe

Boxty

(food styling/Lisa Falso; wiqan ang for the boston globe)
By Robin Shepard
March 11, 2009

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Serves 4 (makes about 12 cakes)

The old Irish rhyme goes

Boxty on the griddle,

Boxty in the pan,

If you can't make boxty,

You'll never get your man.

They must be good! From the Gaelic word bacstai (grilled over fire), the potato cakes called boxty have many versions, including this one, which combines both grated and mashed potatoes, flour, and butter. (Make them with leftover mashed, if you like; you'll need 1 1/2 cups.) Some cooks like to make a stiff batter and drop it into a greased saucepan; another method is a thinner batter to produce one large boxty per person, which is folded omelet-style over meat. You can also knead and shape the boxty into something of a bread dough and cook it on a griddle. The combination of grated and mashed russet potatoes produces a melting and silky texture when the cakes are fried.

Salt and pepper, to taste
4large russet baking potatoes, well scrubbed, 2 peeled
1cup flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1cup milk, or more if needed
1egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
2tablespoons vegetable oil
8Irish sausages, fried until golden (for serving)
2cups applesauce, heated to warm

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Cut the two unpeeled potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the water and cook for 20 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan, mash, and keep covered.

2. Grate the two peeled potatoes on the coarse side of a grater. Add them to the mashed potatoes with 1/2 cup of the flour, baking soda, 1/2 cup of the milk, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir well; the mixture will be very stiff. Add half the melted butter, the remaining 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup milk. Mix until well combined. If the mixture seems too stiff, add a little more milk.

3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it is hot, add a spoonful of the butter. Drop the batter by large spoonfuls into the pan. Using a spatula, shape the cakes so they are even rounds about 4 inches across. Don't crowd the pan. Cook for 4 minutes or until the undersides are brown. Turn and brown the other side for 3 minutes. Be sure they are cooked through so the raw potatoes is done.

4. Continue cooking, adding more oil and butter to the pan as needed. Serve with sausages and applesauce.

Note: If you need to keep the boxty warm, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet and keep them in a 275-degree oven.