Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Ireland (cont)

I'm a Newfie with Irish roots so I had to spend a little more time on the food of the Emerald Isle since it's my comfort area for sure. When I think Irish, I think Irish Stew so that was the next dish we tried. This time with a side of Boxty which is a potato dish I had not yet been introduced to. And here I thought I had tried them all the ways possible! Boxty was something I found when googling Irish cuisine and knew that my boys would love since they are both potato monsters. It combines mashed potatoes with raw grated potato, some milk and flour and you make a little potato pancake that you fry up in the pan. I read a bunch of recipes and then sort of stuck them all together and took what I liked and made my own recipe up. Goodness knows if they taste like the real thing but they did taste great...especially with the stew poured right on top!

Irish Stew
Serves 6-8

1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots, cut into a small dice
1 leek, halved and sliced thinly into half moons
2 small yellow cooking onions, diced
3 medium stalks celery, diced
1 8oz package of button mushrooms, diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 cups of water
3 McCormick All Vegetable Beef Bouillon cubes

4 cups of water (this is additional to the first 4)
1/3 of a medium sized rutabega, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 medium carrots, sliced into coins
3 large yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 1/2 tsp Marmite (sticky stuff, spray your tsp with oil first)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp ground rosemary
Kitchen Bouquet, optional just to darken the stew
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add the carrots, leek, onions, celery and mushrooms and saute in the pot until they are softened and start to caramelize. Once you start to see the vegetables start to brown, add the smashed cloves of garlic and continue to cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add the water and the "beefy" bouillon cubes (crumble them between your fingers as you add them) and let the pot come up to the boil stirring to help the bouillon cubes dissolve into the water. Once it reaches the boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes to let the vegetables soften and flavours meld.

2. After 30 minutes, in batches, blend the broth until it is completely mixed and mostly smooth. Make sure you are careful when you are blending hot liquids as it can be tricky. I use my Vitamix and leave the plastic cap off and cover it with a pot holder. Once you have blended it well, pour it all back into the large stock pot and then add in the diced rutabega, onion, carrots, potatoes and all the seasonings as well. Stir to combine then bring up to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 45 minutes depending on how much of a simmer you have going. 

3. You can serve it immediately after you have the vegetables cooked through or keep warm and serve later. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf before serving. This definitely tastes amazing the next day too as the flavours meld together and improve.

Makes 16 potato pancakes

1 cup soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
600 g mashed potatoes, mine were leftover and cold when I put them in
400 g finely grated yukon gold potato
300 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
salt and pepper
Vegan butter or margarine for pan frying (you could use oil if you like but the butter adds a nice flavour)

1. Combine the soymilk and apple cider vinegar and let stand for five minutes to get all curdle-y and buttermilk like. 

2. While it stands, combine the mashed and grated potato in a large mixing bowl so they are as uniformly combined as possible. I'm not gonna lie, I used my hands and got in there. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and some salt and pepper on top and stir to combine. Now add the soy buttermilk you made in step 1 and mix until it is well combined and looks like a really thick pancake batter. 

3. Heat a cast iron frying pan (or whatever you have that works for you) over med-high heat and add a few pats of vegan butter/margarine (whatever floats your boat). Scoop out 1/4 cup of the boxty mixture using a measuring cup and with damp hands scoop it out onto your hands and flatten slightly so it resembles an actual pancake. I experimented with a few methods while cooking and this worked the best for me. Place it in the hot pan and if necessary, flatten a bit more with a spatula or spoon so they are same thickness all over and will cook evenly. Flip after the bottom side appears set and browned from the top, about two minutes, then allow the other side to brown as well, about another two minutes. If it wasn't browned enough after two minutes let the other side cook first and then reflip and let cook some more. The crispy outside really makes them.

4. Serve as soon as they come out of the pan for best texture but you can keep them warm in a low oven as well. Serve with the Irish Stew...even better pour some on top!


  1. I've never heard of Boxty either. They look really good and I can't wait to make it.

  2. Oh, interesting! There's a type of German potato dumpling that is also made with both cooked and rww potatoes. I like them but I like potato pancakes so much better. F. and I are real potato monsters, too. I need to make these for her one day.

  3. Mmm, this sounds wonderful and savory! This would give me a full and happy belly for sure!

  4. This looks so delicious, Kelly!

  5. Every St. Patrick's day I plan to try Boxty and never have! The stew is a gorgeous color!

  6. Oooh comfort food to the max. We are having a heat wave in Northern California but this is a perfect dish for our chilly rainy season. Thank you for a great post.

  7. Yum!!! Definitely "fall" food.

  8. Love this - will have to keep it in mind for St. Patrick's Day!

  9. Now that's a new one to me, never knew there was such a thing called boxty. I'd totally be all over that!
    Newfie power! ;)

  10. That looks exactly like a real boxty!

  11. I've been craving a hearty stew since the weather turned rainy and gray! This looks like it will hit the spot!!!

  12. There is an Irish bar near my house that serves a very unvegan version of this. I have always wanted to try it! Now I can.