Raggmunk, kartoffelpuffer, boxty. What do all these words have in common? Grab your appetite and a drum roll because I’m about to pull back the culinary curtain…..
They’re all variations on a favorite Northern European dish – potato pancakes.
Having grown up in a German/Swedish meat and potatoes family, the kindred cold weather fare of Ireland speaks to me in many delicious ways. Despite the difference in cultures, the food is strikingly similar; hearty, rib sticking stews and tubers that are happily washed back with a glug or two of hoppy beer.
In northern European cultures, there are a lot of potato pancakes consumed. Our family would reserve them for Christmas Eve dinner and it was always my favorite piece of the meal. I’d stand in the kitchen and watch my grandmother craft the most amazingly ambrosial tuber cakes one could possibly envision. The instant they hit the dinner table, I’d grab a steaming hot pile and smother them with warmed maple syrup. The first bite was always the most magical.
Irish traditions share a similar pancake to the German and Swedish versions, the main difference being that leftover mashed potatoes are used in addition to raw grated. Being the potato pancake aficionado that I am and given the fact that St. Patty’s day is just around the corner, I felt the need to give them a go.
Begin by grating up a few potatoes. I enjoy Yukon Golds because of their buttery color and flavor. They’re one of my all time favorite potatoes.
Mix the potato sticks together with a cupful of leftover mashers. Be sure to sneak a spoonful or two for yourself when no one’s looking. I made my mashers the morning before I cooked these up and they’re lucky they made it through the day. I could easily have eaten the entire bowl for breakfast and not thought twice.
Add in a little flour, an egg, some buttermilk, salt and pepper.
Combine it good and we’ll move to the stove for the final act.
Warm a pat of butter on medium heat in a large skillet and drop in a hearty circle of the potato mixture. Cook small batches so that you keep your pan nice and hot.
When they’re crispy on both sides and cooked through, bring them out and serve up immediately. Applesauce, sour cream and maple syrup are all worthy accompaniments.
If my grandma were still here today, I know she would most certainly be sitting down to a healthy plate of these cakes along side her granddaughter. Grandma, this one’s for you.
Irish Inspired Boxty
Yield: 12 Potato Pancakes
Total Time: 30 min
1 Pd Potatoes, Peeled and Shredded
1/2 Onion, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 1/2 Cups Leftover Mashed Potatoes
2 Tbsp Flour
1/3 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Butter
In a large bowl, mix together the shredded potatoes, onion, garlic, mashed potatoes, eggs, flour, buttermilk, salt and pepper.
Heat a portion of the butter in a large frying pan or griddle on medium heat.
Drop a hearty portion of the potato mixture into the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping once, until golden brown.
Cook no more than 2-3 cakes at a time so the pan doesn't lose heat. Add more of the butter for subsequent batches as needed.
Remove from heat and serve immediately with a side of applesauce, a dollop of sour cream or a splash of maple syrup.