Irish Boxty – More than just a Potato Pancake!

At Shamrock Brewing Company, we have been serving Irish Boxty since we opened in 2005. I’m sure many of you are asking the same question that our first customers did – what the heck is Boxty?  Boxty (bacstaí in Irish) is a traditional Irish potato pancake.  It is mostly associated with the north midlands, north Connacht and southern Ulster.  What makes the Irish Boxty different than other potato pancakes is the combination of base ingredients including cooked mashed potatoes, raw grated potatoes, and flour.  The boxty dates back to the days of the Irish Famine.  It is presumed that boxtys were created as a way to make the potatoes stretch farther.  It is not common to see Boxty on the menu at most restaurants in Ireland, but it has always been a staple in Irish home cooking – so much so that it has inspired rhymes:

Boxty on the griddle,
and boxty on the pan;
the wee one in the middle
is for Mary Ann

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty on the pan,
if you can’t bake boxty
sure you’ll never get a man

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty on the pan,
if you don’t eat boxty,
you’ll never get a man

Boxty is evolving and is now finding its way onto more restaurant menus in America, and not just in Irish pubs. Interest in Irish food has increased, and so has the popularity of Boxty.  Some chefs are spicing up the pancake itself but most are letting the potato stand on its own and are raising the bar by experimenting with unique fillings and toppings.  Boxty is even showing up as a wrap on restaurant menus, filled with ingredients not remotely related to Irish cooking or Irish Food.

At Shamrock, we did not want to reinvent the boxty, we just wanted to take it up a notch. If you have never tried one I am confident that one of our three signature boxtys will make you a boxty fan.  If you love hearty, try our Irish Beef boxty stuffed with Irish pot roast in a porter ale sauce, and topped with Gorgonzola cream.  If you are a vegetarian, or just not in the mood for meat, try our vegetarian boxty stuffed with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers and spinach, then topped with sun-dried tomato cream.  If you are an early riser, we offer a Breakfast Boxty on our weekend brunch menu, which is stuffed with smoked ham, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, and smothered with your choice of green chili and sour cream or country gravy.

Keep your eyes open as I am sure you will find more and more variations of Boxtys appearing on restaurant menus. We hope to see you soon at the Shamrock Brewing Company enjoying one of our boxty creations.  One thing you need to know about boxtys is that they taste even better with a pint of craft beer. Try the Beef Boxty with our award winning Irish Porter.  Cheers!