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Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

When Irish eyes are smiling they are surely eating typical Irish food!

I celebrated my birthday this year in Dublin, Ireland and I wanted typical Irish food for dinner.

My friends and I decided to try the highly recommended Gallagher’s Boxty House. We had no idea just what Boxty was, but we were excited to try something new. (recipe below) Boxty, or Arán Boct Tí, is about as Irish as you can get. As with other potato dishes like Champ and Colcannon, Boxty is a part of a unique tradition in Irish food. The difference between Boxty and other potato bread and pancake recipes is that it is made with a mixture of cooked mashed and grated raw potatoes.

Below are a few of the dishes we enjoyed that night:

1 3/4 pounds potatoes
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced fine
2/3 cup whole milk (or cream)
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Bring to a boil in a pot of salted water, then cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, simmer the scallions gently in the milk for 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pot and place them over low heat for a minute or so to allow any excess water to evaporate.

Add the milk and onions, and pound or beat the potatoes to a soft, fluffy mash. Add plenty of salt and pepper as you go.

Mound the champ in a large bowl. Make a little hollow for the butter and allow it to melt into the potatoes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Serves 4

1 1/2 lb. floury potatoes
1 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper
bacon fat or lard (or oil) for greasing griddle

Cut half the potatoes into large chunks and boil in salted water until tender. Peel while hot and mash thoroughly. Place in large bowl.

Peel the remaining potatoes and grate onto cheesecloth. Gather up the ends of the cloth and squeeze out as much starchy liquid as you can. Mix into the mashed potato bowl and then sift the flour over the top and add little salt and pepper. Gradually add milk at little at a time to make a thick batter.

Grease a heavy frying pan on griddle and heat thoroughly. Drop a ladle full of the mixture on the surface and spread out thinly. When browned underneath, flip over and brown the other side. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Serve hot with butter, or alternatively like an ordinary pancake with an appropriate filling.

Suggested fillings:
Slow cooked beef or chicken with vegetables
A variety of roasted vegetables
Chili beans with grated sharp cheddar cheese

Makes 6 to 8 servings.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing pan
1 cup self-rising cake flour plus additional for flouring pan
1 cup pitted dates (5 oz), finely chopped
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup water

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8- by 2-inch round cake pan.

Simmer dates in 1-cup water in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, covered, until soft, about 5 minutes. Let stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes.

Beat together 1 stick butter and 1/4-cup brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Add flour and 1/8-teaspoon salt and mix at low speed until just combined. Add dates and mix until just combined well.

Pour batter into pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining stick butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in remaining cup brown sugar, 1/3-cup water, and a pinch of salt. Boil over moderately high heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and sauce is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, 2 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover.

Transfer pudding in pan to a rack and poke all over at 1-inch intervals with a fork. Gradually pour half of warm sauce evenly over hot pudding. Let stand until almost all of sauce is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Run a thin knife around edge of pan. Invert a plate over pudding and invert pudding onto plate. Pour remaining warm sauce over pudding and serve immediately.

Cooks' note:
Pudding, soaked with half of sauce, can stand at room temperature up to 2 hours. Reheat in pan in a 300°F oven 10 minutes. Warm remaining sauce before pouring over pudding.


Blogger Bekki said...

I'm so glad I found this recipe! Being part Irish, I have been looking for a traditional Boxty recipe and haven't had much luck. This is perfect!

3:48 PM  

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