real life test kitchen: potato boxty with caramelized onions and cabbage

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This year, instead of the typical (yet delicious) corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make a less ubiquitious Irish dish, but one that should be right up there in popularity with that beautiful brisket. Potato boxty are merely Ireland’s version of a potato pancake: something in between a traditional pancake and a latke, to give you a reference point. Boxty can be served plain, or garnished with many different sweet or savory toppings. They’d be a great flexitarian centerpiece for your St. Paddy’s festivities — not to mention being incredibly cheap and easy to make. I topped this year’s boxty bounty with a mouthwatering melange of caramelized onions, ribbons of pale green cabbage, and, of course, bacon. Oh, and ’cause the Irish are known for their dairy, I threw in some cream. And a kiss of Irish whiskey, too. What are you eating on St. Patrick’s Day? — Megan B.
Click for the recipe, after the jump!

boxtyinapan

Potato boxty with caramelized onions and cabbage
makes approximately 32 pancakes
For the pancakes:
3 lbs of russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1/2 onion, grated
2 1/2-3 c buttermilk
2 c flour, sifted
2 large pinches of salt
1 tsp baking soda
Take 1/2 of the potatoes and boil and mash them. Meanwhile, grate the remaining 1.5 lbs of potatoes, rinse them in cold water, and press out the liquid. Preheat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, mix the mashed potato and grated onion/potatoes together. Add the salt, baking soda and sifted flour and stir to evenly combine. Add the buttermilk until it resembles thick pancake batter. Add a bit of oil to the skillet and ladle the batter in approx. 1/3 c scoops. Flip after the boxty forms bubbles and sets (just like a regular pancake). Cook for a few more minutes on the other side. You may end up having some casualties on the first few attempts, but as you regulate your heat, you’ll get a groove. Transfer to a towel lined baking sheet and keep in a low oven until the rest are done. Serve with the sweet or savory toppings of your choice (sour cream, maple syrup), or with caramelized onions and cabbage (recipe follows).

caramelized onions and cabbage
2 1/2 onions, sliced thin
3 strips of bacon, sliced into sticks
1/2 head of green cabbage sliced thin (kale would be great too — use a whole bunch)
1 tbs Irish whiskey
1 tsp Marmite (optional)
8 oz. cream or half and half (also optional — but worth it)

Brown bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. When crispy, remove bacon and transfer to a plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, and add sliced onions, stirring to evenly coat with the bacon fat. Season with a pinch of salt to bring out the sugars, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring ever 3-4 minutes, until onions become a golden caramel color and reduce significantly. Add cabbage and another pinch of salt and continue to cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Increase heat to high, and when the pan is sizzling, add the whiskey, stirring to deglaze whatever bits of onion are left on the pan. As the liquid cooks off (about a minute or so) add the cream and marmite if you so desire, and season with lots of black pepper and salt if needed.

Related: Beef and Guinness Pie

From our partners
Sarah L.

yum! all i’m going to manage this year is reubens, which isn’t really irish, but i’ll pair it with a smithwick’s and a long line of O’ in the family tree : )

Megan B

@Sarah — Reubens are my favorite St. Patty’s delight. Corned Beef, sauerkraut… mmm… now I’m wishing I’d made some to go with the boxty!