October 3 is National Potato Day in Ireland – the time to officially celebrate the world’s most versatile vegetable, and the famous favorite of Ireland and America alike.
Whether you’re cooking up the family favorite casserole, soup or boxty, or going simple with some fries or chips, the time to show your potato pride is today.
Just as many associate America with its famous burger, Ireland is the go-to country for potatoes. Before the 1845 Potato Famine that killed a million people, the Irish consumed an estimated seven million tons of the starch ever year.
Although today they don’t consume quite as much as that astonishing volume, potatoes remain a staple in the Irish diet, with 96.6 percent of all Irish households buying potatoes in 2014.
Not surprisingly, many people turn to traditional Irish recipes when they want to perfect their potatoes. Here are nine traditional Irish potato recipes, with one more that may change your view on how to prepare the perfect “potato.”
The Gaelic word “boxty” translates literally to “poor man’s bread,” yet today has risen to appear on many restaurant menus and in supermarkets all over Ireland. Most recipes call for finely grated, raw potatoes, and mashed potatoes all mixed together with flour, baking soda, milk, and eggs. The mixture is usually fried on a griddle for a few minutes, but for a more modern twist, you can try boiling it like a dumpling or baking it like a loaf.
2. Potato Farl:
Also known as potato cake, potato farl is a square slice of lightly powdered potato bread. Its key ingredient is cooked mashed potatoes and, although it is usually fried, it may be grilled and buttered as well. Potato farl is considered to be essential to the “Ulster fry,” which is traditionally served with bacon, a fried egg, sausage, a vegetable roll, and pudding.
3. Potato Soup:
According to Ravensgard.org, potatoes began appearing in Irish soup at the beginning on the 18th century; they were used as a thickening agent to widen the average Irishman’s diet. Today, potato soup is a popular dish, especially for a cold, rainy day. Most recipes call for good Irish butter, onions, milk, garlic, parsley, celery, cheese, and, of course, a couple of large potatoes.
Colcannon, or Irish mashed potatoes, are boiled and mashed potatoes traditionally served with cabbage or kale. The word comes from the Gaelic cal ceannan,’ which translates literally to “white-headed cabbage.” It can also be eaten with ham or bacon. There’s also a traditional Irish song called “Colcannon,” which has been recorded by many well-known artists.
Although quite similar to colcannon, the largest difference between the two is the champ contains no cabbage or kale, and instead is made with green onions (scallions). According to Chowhound, champ is traditionally served piled high on a dish and is eaten with a spoon from the outside in, which each spoonful dipped in melted butter. Melted butted should also be served in a little well in the middle of the pile of potatoes.
6. Irish potato casserole:
Potato casserole is cooked quite similarly to champ and colcannon, but it is baked at the end and is thus given a firmer texture. Traditionally, the recipe calls for potatoes, butter, flour, milk, hard boiled eggs, onion, and breadcrumbs, but you can also add chicken, tuna, bacon, cream cheese, chives, or anything else that you think might make this dish even more delicious!