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Ireland: Boxty

Boxty (a traditional Irish potato cake)

Boxty is yet another of the numerous Irish foodstuffs that has poetry written about it. It would have been a mainstay of the home cook's repertoire, two hundred years ago, as a convenient and enjoyable way to use the ubiquitous potato. Boxty has some similarities to other European potato cake recipes, especially latkes.

Apparently Irish men were thought to like boxty a lot, since the most famous of the boxty poems says:

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty in the pan,
if you can't make boxty,
you'll never get a man.

(Your mileage may vary.)

Here's the recipe...

  • 1/2 lb raw potato
  • 1/2 lb mashed potato
  • 1/2 lb plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • Milk, to mix
  • Salt and pepper

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with a tart apple sauce: or as part of an Ulster Fry, with fried bacon, fried sausage, fried eggs, fried black pudding, fried bread, fried soda bread...


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