There’s a restaurant off of Foothill Drive in SLC that I’m kind of in love with. It’s an Irish pub called MacCool’s. What can I say? It’s the kind of place I could see myself going to everyday if I actually did that kind of thing. You know, like the breakfast diners of the 50’s or the Cheers bar? The owner comes out every time and chats with us for a little while. It’s just a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. And then the food is just yummy. It’s like the kind of food I could be in the mood for just about anytime – feel-goodery homestyle Irish cooking. When I went the first time with my sisters, I wasn’t expecting anything special. I ordered the Sheppard’s Pie. I mean, Sheppard’s Pie is Sheppard’s Pie, right? WRONG.
Every time I go there, I am just floored by the amazing flavors to be found in such seemingly simple dishes. Various pot pies, casseroles, sandwiches, roasted meats of many a variety, and then, one of my favorite discoveries: The Boxty.
What is a Boxty? It’s a traditional Irish potato pancake. But, it’s far beyond your average hash-browny-ness. It has a nice crisp to it, but this version is also very thin and flexible, almost like a tortilla. I love the wrap concept because then you can fill the boxty with yummy stuff like creamy smoked salmon or stewed beef.
I’ve done a little experimenting with achieving this kind of thin Boxty (you can do a fatter version as well), and my best results came when I did a mixture of both mashed and shredded potatoes. I seasoned my batter before cooking with salt and pepper and some chives. You could add some finely diced yellow onions to make it a more robust flavor, or keep it really simple with just a little bit of salt.
What really topped it off for me was the filling this time. I put a small beef roast in a crock pot, added a little bit of water, beef base, Worcestershire sauce, diced onions, minced garlic, and then just let it sit and stew for about 6 hours while I went about my business. Because I wanted my meat in chunks, not shredded, about 1-2 hours into cook time, I took some kitchen shears and just snipped off my bites. About an hour before time to eat, I threw in some diced carrots and sweet white corn (frozen), and added a little bit of cornstarch to help thicken the liquid to make more of a gravy. Right at the end, I added green onion, mostly just for color. I would give you a precise recipe on this my friends but the problem is……I don’t really have proportions. You see, that’s my problem when cooking in a crock pot. I usually don’t measure. I just put stuff in until it “tastes right”, so to speak. But, you get the idea. I promise I’ll make it again sometime and actually measure because believe me, it was pretty good!
In the meanwhile, not to leave you hanging, please do take some time to make yourself some delicious Boxty. Have ’em plain, throw on a dollop of sour cream, or go full out and fill ’em with some savory meat and gravy!
Boxty (Irish Potato Pancake)
- pounds About 2 Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes washed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives or about 1 teaspoon dried
- Unsalted butter to coat griddle
Fill a medium pot with water and place over high heat on stove until starting to boil.
Divided the potatoes in half.
Chop half of the potatoes into small cubes. Add to the boiling water.
Reduce heat to avoid boiling over and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
In the meanwhile, take remaining potatoes and grate (box grater or food processor with large holes).
Place grated potatoes in a thin mesh strainer, and toss them with a couple dashes of salt (this helps pull out the starchy water). Let sit over bowl to drain liquid while prepping other ingredients.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine, 1/2 cup milk, eggs, flour, black pepper, and chives to create a batter.
Drain the boiled potatoes, and return to pot. Mix in 1/4 cup of milk and mash together until smooth.
Take grated potatoes that have been draining, and press with a spoon, spatula, or your hand to get out any additional liquid. (Alternatively, you can use a cheesecloth and squeeze tightly to get moisture out.)
Add mashed potatoes and grated potatoes to batter. Stir until evenly incorporated.
Heat a griddle to 350 F (about medium-high heat).
Lightly butter the griddle.
Using a ladle, scoop batter onto griddle, and spread until as thin as you can get without creating holes. (You can make these as big or small in circumference as you would like).
Cook until bottoms are golden brown and batter appears dry on top, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until other side is golden brown, an additional 3-5 minutes.
Repeat with remaining batter.
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