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Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes)

The crispy edges and light, fluffy centres of boxty (Irish potato pancakes) make it a meal to be enjoyed any day of the week.

Fluffy mashed potato mixed with shredded potatoes, buttermilk, and flour then fried until the outside is nice and crispy. Boxty, or Irish potato pancakes, (bacstai in Gaelic) were created to help stretch the potato harvest in the 1700s, but today it's still a much loved dish.

There is a bit of a trick to making boxty so the centres come out light and fluffy, and that is not to use leftover mashed potatoes. While yesterday's mash can be used, it won't result in the best batter. Also, when making the mashed potatoes, use a ricer, or press the potatoes through a sieve to really get them smooth. Alternately, an immersion blender can really break down the potato for creamy insides to your boxty.

This recipe can be made vegan and gluten-free if desired. To make a vegan version, substitute the buttermilk with plain soy yogurt or vegan sour cream plus a little water to thin it out. To make them gluten-free, swap the all-purpose flour for your favourite gluten-free flour and add an additional 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

I enjoy these with the typical side of sour cream.



(Makes 6 servings)

  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed (about 1/2lb)

  • 1 large russet potato, grated (about 1/2lb)

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup buttermilk (adjust for consistency)

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons plant-based butter, divided



In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the cubed potato and enough water to cover, along with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 10 minutes or until the potato is fork tender. Turn off the heat then drain the potato cubes. Place the pot back on the still hot element to steam off any remaining water while agitating vigorously to prevent the potato from sticking to the saucepan. Remove from the hot element and pass the potato through a ricer into a large mixing bowl. Set aside to cool completely (about an hour).

Once the mashed potato is cold, peel the remaining potato and grate it using the large holes on a box grater. Using a sheet of cheesecloth, a thin kitchen towel, or a nut milk bag, wring as much water as possible out of the grated potato.

Transfer the grated potato into the bowl with the mashed potato and mix well. Sift in the flour, remaining teaspoon of salt, baking soda, and ground black pepper. Mix to combine then slowly begin adding the buttermilk a bit at a time until it forms a thick batter. The exact amount of buttermilk needed will depend on the size of the potatoes and how dry the mixture ends up being. You might not need the entire cup of buttermilk.

In a large sauté pan or frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1/3 of the butter and 1/3 of the oil. Once the butter begins to sizzle, add 1/4-cup of the batter in four rounds. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the bottoms begin to get crispy. Flip the pancakes over and cook another 3 or 4 minutes more to crisp up the other side. If while cooking the pancakes begin to brown too fast, reduce the heat. The pancakes need to stay on the pan long enough to cook in the centre without burning on the outside. Transfer cooked boxty to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the rest of the batter. Should make about 12 boxty.

Serve with (optional) sour cream.


Nutritional Information Per Serving:

total calories = 171 | total fat = 3.97g | saturated fat = 0.95g | cholesterol = 1.67mg | sodium = 919.5mg | net carbohydrates = 25.53g | dietary fibre = 1.92g | sugars = 11.53g | protein = 5.68g

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