Post by Alison Hein.
You never know just how important St. Patrick’s Day is until you marry an Irishman. J With Kevin’s encouragement (um, nagging?), I’ve had fun posting an array of Irish recipes suitable for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations during the past few years: St. Patrick’s Day Soda Bread, Irish Wheaten Bread, and Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Irish Scones. Oh my, I almost forgot Aunt Frannie’s Irish Coffee! (Just proves how un-Irish I am.)
I love Irish cooking for its deep simplicity, and for the focus that captures a food’s essence. Take potatoes, for instance. In this easy (and simply devourable!) Potato Farl Recipe, only four ingredients are used – potatoes, butter, flour and salt. Mashed potatoes are mixed with a little butter and just enough flour to make them pliable. Add an egg, or a little baking soda, for an extra lift if you like, or remain pure and traditional without.
A “farl” is anything that is cut into a quarter round. Potato farls are often called potato cakes or potato bread. If you like them savory, top them with fresh chives or ground black pepper. If you like them sweet, sprinkle a little cinnamon and brown sugar on them. If you’re like me, pick them up directly from the hot pan, douse with salt, and eat them immediately while trying not to burn your tongue.
I used golden potatoes because I love their sweet, mellow flavor and their sunny hue. But any kind of potato that is mashable (uh, I think that’s all of them) – reds, russets, fingerlings – will work well here for a devourable St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in bed.
1½ pounds potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, plus an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons for frying
1 cup flour
Salt, to taste
Peel, wash and dice potatoes. Place in a heavy pot and add water to cover and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, return to pot along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Mash, ensuring potatoes are smooth and without lumps. Allow potatoes to cool.
When cool, add flour and salt to the potatoes and mix well. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a minute or so, until mixture is smooth and somewhat elastic. Split dough in half and shape each half into a round, approximately 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.
Melt a tablespoon of the remaining butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Cook the potato cakes until golden brown, turning once, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.
NOTE: If you like, make the potato farls the day before and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat them in a 350°oven for 15 minutes before assembling and serving.
Makes 8 potato farls.