I first had a boxty when I was in college, at the local Irish-themed pub, and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. With both mashed and grated potatoes in the batter, it’s the heartier, more cake-like cousin of the latke. With St. Patrick’s Day a few days away, I figured it was time to recreate this favorite of mine at home.
It’s funny; we now live back in the same college town where I had my first boxty, so if I really wanted, I could go get that original version again. And I’m sure I will, at some point, but definitely not on St. Patrick’s Day. I was never one to go all-out celebrating it even when I was in college – no Lucky Charms and beer for breakfast for this girl – and now the idea of going out on one of the wildest nights of the year makes me want to go put on my sweatpants and get my old-lady mystery novel and never leave my house again. Who am I kidding – I’m already wearing the sweatpants.
Even if I don’t want to venture out on the town, I can still celebrate Irish cuisine by making this boxty for myself. That’s what I did earlier this week, and had a very disappointed husband when I told him I’d already eaten both of them before he got home. A girl’s got to eat! The pancake has mashed potatoes and grated potatoes, mixed with enough flour, milk, and egg to hold the whole thing together. It’s a perfect way to use up any leftover mashed potatoes. I like to make them huge, to the size of the pan, so that I can fold them over a savory filling and have a potato pancake sandwich. In this case I went with a mushroom and onion filling, but you could swap in corned beef, sausage, chicken, or any combination of sauteed vegetables you like. Top it with a little salt and pepper, or with sour cream or pesto. Whatever you do, the pancake itself will be chewy, tender, and full of comforting potato flavor.
- 2 medium russet potatoes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup milk
- Up to 1 tablespoon of butter, for cooking
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- Peel and dice one of the potatoes. Place the pieces in a medium saucepan and cover them with cool water. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 9-12 minutes, until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the bowl. Mash them with a potato masher, then measure out 1 cup of potatoes. Place these in a bowl and stir in the milk. If you have extra mashed potatoes, you can save them for another use.
- Grate the second potato and measure out 1 cup.
- In a large bowl, combine the grated potatoes, flour, and salt and stir together. Stir in the egg, followed by the mashed potatoes and milk.
- Add half a tablespoon of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup of the boxty batter and spread and flatten it out with the back of the measuring cup. The boxty should take up most of the pan, but not have any holes in the batter. Cook until golden brown one 1 side, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Wipe out the skillet, add the rest of the butter, and cook the second boxty.
- To make the filling, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until the onions are lightly browned and the mushrooms have released their liquid and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
- To serve, place each boxty on a plate. Spoon filling over half of the boxty, then fold the other half over it. Serve warm.