Boxty on the griddle,
And Boxty on the pan;
The wee one in the middle
Is for Mary Ann
(the folk rhythm goes on to say...)
Boxty on the griddle
And Boxty on the pan
If you can't bake Boxty
Sure you'll never get a man.
I'm not sure I'd go that far but boxty (Irish pancakes made with potatoes) sure are delicious!
Quite wonderful for breakfast topped with a few crisp rashers of bacon and a fried egg, boxty made into smaller size pancakes, stacked 4 to a plate and topped with sliced smoked salmon, green onions, a pinch of dill and sour cream, is something to cheer about.
But my favorite boxty recipe comes from noted Irish cook, Davina Allen, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on one of my visits. She calls them Gaelic Boxty and fills them with a luscious beef and mushroom ragout, flavored with some good Irish whiskey. Not for breakfast certainly but, oh, what a dinner and worth the calories. You can work them off during the week ahead by eating more sparsely and taking a few extra walks.
Gaelic Boxty (6 servings)
1 cup (8 ounces) grated raw white potato
3/4 cup (6 ounces) mashed potato
1 cup (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 pint whole milk
Salt and ground black pepper for seasoning
2 pounds filet of beef, cut into strips
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
10 to 12 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 pint heavy cream
Watercress or chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Rinse and drain the raw potatoes at least twice to remove all starch. Place the raw and mashed potatoes in a large bowl, add the flour, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combined into a smooth consistency.
Drop a small ladle of batter onto a hot, oiled griddle. Push the mixture from the center outwards with the bottom of the ladle. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip the boxty over and cook through. Season again with a bit of salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Sear the fillet strips on both sides in an oiled well-heated pan. (I use a large cast iron skillet.) When beef is medium-rare, remove it from the pan and set aside, covered loosely. Sauté the onions and mushrooms until soft and golden. Carefully add the whiskey (don't singe your eyebrows!). Add the cream, a good grinding or two of cracked black pepper and season with salt to taste. Turn up the heat and let the sauce reduce, stirring frequently, until thickened. Fold in the beef strips and taste again for seasoning.
You can top each boxty with some of the filling and fold it over like an omelet, which is what Davina does. I prefer to cover each warm flat boxty with a generous ladle of the beef ragout, serving it open-face. In either case, sprinkle with watercress or chopped parsley.