{St. Patricks Day} boxty on the griddle

Editor’s Note: Welcome FOODPRESS readers!  Our St. Patrick’s Day {theme week} continues with Dianna. I have NEVER heard of Boxy…bring it on Dianna! -Christina

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty on the pan,
If you can’t bake boxty
sure you’ll never get a man.

Irish children’s rhyme (can’t you see the little girls jumping rope?)

My mother was Czech but my father was Irish American. I don’t know a single thing about Irish cooking except I went to Ireland once when I was 18. I remember Irish stew, which was green and greasy and tasted like old sheep. I sought out Indian restaurants during that trip. But this St. Patrick’s day I decided to honor my Irish forebears by making a typically Irish potato dish. After all, my great great great somebody or other came over during The Famine, according to my father’s half -remembered stories. So clueless, but with good access to the internet, I googled “potatoes Irish” and came up with bacstai or arán bocht ti´, known in standard English as “boxty.” It is a kind of Irish potato pancake.

Since my husband is Jewish, we know from potato pancakes. Michael’s latkes are made from grated raw potatoes with egg and matzo meal, maybe some browned onions, fried in oil and eaten with applesauce. His grandmother said you had to hand grate the potatoes with a very fine star grater because the secret ingredient is knuckle blood.

Boxty, on the other hand, is made from a combination of mashed potatoes and raw grated potatoes. It has baking powder in it, so the pancakes become a little puffy and the center is kind of soft and melty compared to latkes. There were many different recipes on the web, and a lot of variants. Some people put melted butter in the boxty, some people add green onions, some people make the batter thinner than the recipe below by adding more milk. It is a flexible dish. I cobbled together several different recipes to come up with a basic, but apparently authentic, form of boxty, using buttermilk rather than sweet milk. Everyone agreed it is a side dish to be eaten with either Irish stew (no thanks!) or bacon and eggs. The Boston Globe suggested boxty can also be eaten with applesauce, but that might be an aberration, bowing to the Eastern European tradition more familiar in this country.


Makes about 12 4-inch pancakes

4 large potatoes, peeled
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 to ½ cup buttermilk
oil for frying

Cut up two potatoes into chunks, boil for 20 minutes or until tender, drain and mash. Or use around 1 cup of left-over mashed potatoes.

Grate the other two raw potatoes with a fine grater. Squeeze the excess water out through a sieve or wrap the potatoes in a tea towel and squeeze the water out over a sink.

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl . Add the cooked mashed potatoes and stir well. Stir in the grated raw potatoes and the eggs, mix until well combined. Stir in enough buttermilk to make it into a batter.

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil. Flatten into a pancake with a spatula while cooking. Fry around 4 minutes on a side, until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot.

* In an unrelated note, I should also mention that if you missed Dianna’s “how to” post on tapping your own maple syrup, you should…its urban homesteading at its best! – Christina


20 Comments Add yours

  1. Lin Ann says:

    I’ve never heard of boxty either. Looks good though. My husband is Irish (and Italian) and he loves Irish food around St. Patrick’s. Maybe I’ll give it a try!

  2. “I remember Irish stew, which was green and greasy and tasted like old sheep.”

    It probably was. I was in Ireland in 2005 and we had a lovely time, food and all. But I am an O’Brien (at least by marriage, and maybe a smidge on my father’s side of the family) I never liked the mutton, but the eggs and bacon and potatoes and butter and cheese. Oy, it was heavenly.

    1. Dianna says:

      Old sheep is not my favorite flavor! But I do remember good bread in Ireland; I think butter was part of the reason it was so good.

  3. Shannon says:

    Yum! I was in Ireland in 2010 and most food still tastes like old sheep, except for the wonderful cheeses, butters, and breads.

    Erin Go Bragh!

    1. Dianna says:

      And Guiness, Shannon! Don’t forget Guiness.

  4. It looks like a german rosti:) When I was in Dublin I tryed to eat some pub food ( none of them were “irish”) those were ok, but the cheeses and breads and the butter (above mentioned) were just amazing!
    This looks cute, i might try it next week, for st patricks:)

    1. Dianna says:

      It was especially good cold for breakfast the next day.

  5. My wife got tired of Irish breakfasts, but we had some great meals in Dublin. Awesome seafood.

  6. Dianna says:

    Rosti doesn’t have flour or baking powder in it, it is more like hash browns. Germans also make potato pancakes, which are like latkes with flour instead of matzo meal. All these subtle variations! All delicious! We should have a cook off.

  7. rsmacaalay says:

    This looks really delicious!

    1. Dianna says:

      It is. And easy. Go for it.

  8. This looks great! I think I’ll opt to have it with bacon and eggs…….and Guiness! I hope you don’t mind, I’m adding it to my breakfast recipes on my site. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Dianna says:

      I don’t mind at all. Thanks for adding it.

  9. Amanda says:

    I’ve heard of boxty a long time ago and i wish i made this for st pattys! I guess they’d be good any day, but I’ll def keep this in mind for next year too!

    1. Dianna says:

      I think it works for Hanukkah as well. Minus the bacon side dish.

  10. You’re so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve truly read through a single thing like that before.

    So great to find another person with a few unique thoughts on this subject matter.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

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