Boxty is a staple of kitchens in the north west, rich history and served as a strong stitch in the tapestry of Irish culinary tradition. We dive further into boxty with Pádraic Óg Gallagher, executive chef at Gallagher’s Boxty House in Dublin.
Boxty is a traditional Irish potato bread from the North West of Ireland. There are three types of boxty: boiled, baked and pan boxty. Boxty is made simply from grated raw potato, cooked mashed potato, flour, milk and water. That said, every house will have different variations of the above and all will claim to be the best boxty ever!
Where would boxty traditionally be sold or served?
You can find boxty in shops all over the North West of Ireland; it would usually be served as part of a traditional breakfast.
Where did it originate?
Well, that’s the million dollar question! My dissertation for my degree in Culinary Arts was all about boxty; the first written reference I found was in William Carlton’s Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, published 1828. It was a celebratory dish and not — as so many writers have mistakenly and rather stupidly claimed — a famine dish. You cannot make boxty with rotten potatoes! Boxty is also known as rasp in parts of Longford and stampaí in Connemara and Kerry.
What regions are most known for boxty?
Boxty is very popular in Leitrim, Cavan, north Longford, Mayo and Fermanagh.
How does it differ between these?
Boxty in the North West is akin to pasta in Italy — every house will lay claim to making the best boxty and, what would the people in that other parish know about boxty! Boiled boxty would be more popular in Cavan and Fermanagh.
What are some of your favourite ways to serve boxty?
Pan boxty wrapped around medallions of the finest filet of Irish beef, served with portobello mushrooms flambéed in Irish whiskey and finished in a creamy black pepper sauce. Yum!