Mommy Made From Scratch

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bacon, Cheddar & Chives Boxty

With St. Patrick's Day coming up of course I wanted to serve up some sort of Irish dish. I have been looking for something Irish that my family and I would eat, i.e. no corned beef, no cabbage, no black pudding, no other strange meat. I also wanted to find something that was different than a lot of the other recipes I usually see around this time of year.

I'm not entirely familiar with Irish cuisine so this has been a fun learning experience for me. I'm part Irish to go along with the Scottish, Swiss, German and Cherokee Indian in my blood. I've always wanted to take a week for each of my ancestral backgrounds and cook exclusively in that style all week. This is a good first step in that direction as I've never made an Irish dish prior to this one.

So in my searching for traditional Irish recipes, I ran across some recipes for boxty. I've never heard of it before but it sounded like something my whole family would love. 

Boxty is basically a potato cake or hashbrown in American terms. All boxty recipes have a base of shredded raw potatoes and are usually fried. They are usually served at breakfast or tea.

The term boxty in Irish means, "poor house bread" because it was usually made by the poor since they could only afford potatoes and buttermilk and as they were created during a time of famine.

Boxty has even inspired folk rhymes: 
Boxty on the griddle,
And Boxty on the pan;
The wee one in the middle
Is for Mary Ann.
Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty on the pan,
If you can't bake boxty
sure you'll never get a man.
Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty on the pan,
If you don't eat boxty,
You'll never get a man.

Boxty without any additions is a bit bland. This is a good thing for us living in the 21st century as we have so many food options available to us to add to the dish.

I came up with my version of boxty by tweaking it a bit and adding a few of my favorite ingredients to the basic recipe known throughout Ireland. Hope you like it!

Bacon, Cheddar & Chives Boxty
2 medium starchy potatoes (such as Idaho, Russet or Yukon Gold), peeled
1 cup mashed potatoes
4 strips bacon, cooked and sliced into small pieces 
2 whole scallions, sliced green parts, finely chopped white parts
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
ground black pepper
5-6 Tbsp butter
canola oil
sour cream for dipping

Spread out a clean thin towel or tea towel onto counter top. Place box grater on center of towel then proceed to grate potatoes directly onto it. When finished grating, make sure all potatoes are assembled in the center of the towel. Next, gather together the corners of the towel and twist, forming a ball of potatoes inside. Continue to twist the towel to wring out as much water from the potatoes as possible.

In a large bowl, stir together shredded potatoes, mashed potatoes, bacon, scallions and cheddar cheese until evenly combined. Add in flour, baking soda, salt and pepper until the mixture forms a ball.

Spread some flour out on a clean counter top. Place the potato mixture onto the floured surface then flatten until it reaches one inch in thickness. Using a 3 inch round cutter or glass, cut out circles and set aside. Continue to re-form the dough and cut out until all dough is used.

In a large frying pan, add butter and a decent amount (1/2 cup maybe) of canola oil. The oil will help to keep the butter from burning. Heat on medium until bubbles form on the end of a wooden spoon when inserted into the pan. This will let you know that the oil is ready. 

Fry boxty a few pieces at a time for 3 minutes on each side. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan. When finished, place on paper towel lined baking sheet to drain oil.

Serve warm with a side of sour cream for dipping. This also goes great with other breakfast staples such as bacon, eggs and/or sausage.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Yes please! I'd end up eating all of these. Yummy! Just want to let you know that I am awarding you the Versatile Blogger Award today on our blog. Have a great week!

    1. Thanks so much! I've been sick lately so I'm not doing much on the blogging end but look forward to passing along the award soon!