Here are some Irish recipes to help make the humble spud a bit more enticing!
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 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.
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.
According to Ravensgard.org, potatoes began appearing in Irish soup at the beginning of 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 butter should also be served in a little well in the middle of the pile of potatoes.
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!
Corned beef hash:
Although the meaning of the word “corned beef” changes depending on the culture and cuisine that is being referred to, in Ireland, it refers to tinned, finely minced corned beef in a tiny amount of gelatin. It has been a staple of the Irish diet going back to the 12th century when it was considered to be a delicacy. Today, it’s traditionally eaten as a breakfast food, served with fried eggs and potatoes.
Simple fried potatoes:
For something a bit simpler, simple fried potatoes are an easy go-to way for cooking delicious potatoes.
According to Cooks.com, a quick and easy recipe is to wash, drain, and dice (or cut to any size you want) around five potatoes. Add a cup of bacon grease to a skillet, and add the potatoes when the skillet gets hot. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Then, add one large, diced onion, cook for 10 more minutes, and then remove the cover and cook for the last 5 to avoid sogginess. If you don’t want to use bacon grease, you can also use olive oil, but the grease adds a lot of flavors.
Potato and apple pudding:
This recipe traditionally calls for cider, milk, apples, four hot mashed potatoes, sugar, butter, lemon, and cloves, and is served with cream or custard. Add some nutmeg or cinnamon if you want to add a bit of a kick to the pudding. If you want to add a twist to this traditional recipe, you can also substitute the potatoes with sweet potatoes instead.
Irish potato candy recipe:
Finally, a recipe with “potato” in the title that doesn’t actually contain any starch at all! If you want a real twist on any potato dish, or you just want to trick your guests, try making these! They’re actually not of Irish origin at all. In fact, they originated in Philadelphia over 100 years ago. They’re traditionally made with a coconut cream on the inside, which is made with sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese. It’s just when they’re rolled in cinnamon do they begin to resemble real potatoes!
Throughout June, IrishCentral is celebrating Irish food! You can follow the whole story on social media by searching for #FoodMyMammyMade and #ICFood. You can keep up to date with all our Food and Drink stories here or never miss a recipe by checking out our dedicated topic page here.
What's your favorite potato recipe? Let us know in the comments!