Traditional Irish Boxty

Traditional Irish Boxty

  • Servings: Makes 8 to 10 pancakes
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3 Russet potatoes, peeled
¼ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup milk
1 egg
Canola oil for pan-frying

To garnish:
Sour cream
Fresh chives

Peel and cut two of the potatoes into slices ½-inch thick and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook the heavy cream, butter and half-teaspoon of salt over medium-low heat, whisking often, until the butter melts and the sides of the cream just begin to bubble. Remove pan from burner and set aside.

Drain the water from the potatoes and return the pan, with the potatoes, to the burner. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, to allow the excess moisture to evaporate. Remove pan from burner.

If using a stand mixer, transfer the potatoes to the mixing bowl and use the whisk attachment to whip the potatoes on medium-high speed for two minutes. If using a handheld potato masher, mash the potatoes until they are smooth and free of any lumps.

Add half of the cream/butter mixture and mix on medium-high speed or mash vigorously until fully incorporated. Taste and add more cream and salt as needed. Use within 30 minutes or refrigerate until ready to use.

Use the largest holes a box grater or food processor with attachment to grate the remaining (peeled) potato. Place a strainer over a medium bowl large enough so that the strainer is elevated from the bottom.

Transfer the shredded potatoes to the strainer and toss with a pinch of kosher salt. Use your hand to squeeze as much water as you can from the potatoes, then let leave in the strain for 10 minutes to extract any excess moisture.

When the liquid ceases to drain, wrap the shredded potatoes in a clean dish towel or a double-layer of heavy-duty paper towels and squeeze any remaining liquid from the potatoes. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir the shredded potatoes into the mashed potatoes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, half-teaspoon of salt and black pepper until combined. Add the milk and egg and whisk until the batter is smooth. Add the potatoes and stir until fully incorporated. If the batter appears too thick, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time.

In a large frying pan, melt one tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of oil over medium heat until hot. Test the oil by dropping a small amount of the batter into it – if it sizzles, the oil is ready.

Working in batches, use a large scoop or spoon to drop the batter into the skillet. Use the scoop or a spatula to smooth the batter into cakes about ¼-inch thick.

Fry over medium to medium-high heat, flipping once, until golden brown on top and bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Just like with pancakes, air holes will begin to appear on the uncooked top of the boxty when they are just about ready to flip.

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to drain for 1 minute then serve immediately with sour cream and fresh chives.

Cooked boxty may also be refrigerated for up to 2 days and reheated in oil until crispy, or frozen for up to 3 months. For best results, let frozen boxty thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Uncooked batter may be refrigerated in an airtight container for 12 to 24 hours.

Sarah’s Tips:

  • To prevent the batter from sticking to the pan, wait about 2 minutes before checking the bottom of the boxty for doneness.
  • For variations, fresh herbs, bacon and cheese could also be added to the batter before cooking.