Boxty

Bastai

Boxty, in a variety of forms, is a traditional Irish food associated most with the northern counties of Cavan and Donegal. It was usual to make boxty on Hallowe’en and All Saints’ Day. The ingredients include raw as well as cooked potatoes. For a long time it was the staple food of the poor and people were ashamed to admit eating it, but now it is made commercially and exported to America. It may have been invented as a way of dealing with ‘watery’ potatoes because a watery potato is anathema to an Irishman. Boxty can be cooked in a number of ways – fried, boiled or baked in an oven, as in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (225 g) raw potatoes, peeled
  • 8 oz (225 g) freshly mashed cooked potato
  • 8 oz (225 g) self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt
  • 1 oz (25 g) melted butter or bacon fat
  • 2–3 fl oz (50–75 ml) milk

Method

Grate the raw potatoes into a piece of clean muslin or cloth over a bowl. Wring out the potatoes with vigour and retain the potato liquid.

Put the raw and cooked potatoes together. When the starch has fallen to the bottom of the liquid (this will take minutes) pour off the water and add the starch to the potatoes.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, melted butter and milk. Mix well to make into a soft dough, adding a dash of extra milk if necessary.

On a floured surface, knead the dough and then shape into four round cakes. Mark each with a cross and put on a greased baking sheet. Bake at gas mark 3/325°F/170°C for about 30–40 minutes. Eat fresh from the oven with butter.

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