Crafting Articles

The Kitchen Witch

The Humble Boxty

Many years ago, I went out with a guy named Tim. We were just kids; I was a little older than he was, but we were still kids, basically. I was twenty and he was eighteen. At that time, the drinking age was eighteen years old in New York State. We went to a lot of concerts and to clubs that featured live music. Tim was a major Deadhead and I loved anything I could dance to. But like so many young people, we drifted apart. I didn’t hear from Tim for many years – not until I reconnected with him on Facebook around 2007 or so.

We got together every so often – maybe once or twice a month. I was a single mother and he was a divorced dad, so we had other things going on in our lives. Usually we went out to eat, drink too much and then spend the night together. A few times, I went to his place outside of Rochester. One evening, he took me to an Irish Pub called Mulconry’s. He told me that we were going to have “Boxtys” for dinner – I had never heard of the humble Boxty. To be honest, I don’t remember much of that evening – as usual, we drank far too much. I do remember a pancake with a yummy beef stew served over it. But that’s really it.

Tim and I stopped seeing each other – once again, we drifted apart – and then he moved to Florida – I spoke with him a year ago – but he’s bought a house with a woman he met down there and he asked me not to call anymore and I’ve kept my promise – even though after Hurricane Ian, I was dying to call and find out how they fared. But I kept my promise.

I was also curious to see if Mulconry’s was still around. So many places did not survive the COVID pandemic. But happily, they are still in business, and it looks like they have expanded their menu. Here’s their website ~~> in case you’re interested. Maybe you might be in the Rochester, NY area and would like to stop in for a wee dram of Jemison and some Irish fare.

In the intervening years, I have recreated that meal numerous times – with and without the alcohol – I am a better cook when I am not drinking, I must admit! But that particular meal – beef stew spooned over a boxty – I only make when I have leftover beef stew and leftover mashed potatoes. And I must admit that I prefer my beef stew in a soup bowl with a large chunk of homemade bread spread with butter to dunk into the rich meaty broth!

I have also tried several different Boxty recipes over the years. I was trying to find the most “authentic” Irish one but I ended up using the one that worked best for me – in terms of easy to mix and easy to cook. The recipe I use now is one I found on Allrecipes. The link is here ~~~> but here’s the recipe:

1 ½ cup grated raw potatoes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup leftover mashed potatoes

1 egg

1 tablespoon skim milk

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup olive oil, for frying the Boxties

Right off, I’m going to tell you that I used whole milk and not skim milk and I used butter for the frying of the Boxties. I love olive oil but it just didn’t seem right for a Boxty. I also added grated onion to the mixture.

I also cut the recipe down, because I didn’t need six Boxties. I only needed one decent-sized one for my breakfast. So bear that in mind as you view the pictures I took as I prepared the Boxty mix.

First, I grated a small potato. For one Boxty, you only need about a third of a cup.

Then I added in the flour and the leftover mashed potatoes. I used just a little less than a third of a cup.

The recipe says to whisk together the egg and the milk in a separate bowl and then mix them into the potatoes, but I find that it’s better to add the egg first, mixing it in well.

And then you add the milk. I add just a drop or two at a time, since some potatoes are more watery than others and you might not need a full tablespoon of milk. Of course, you can always add a wee bit more flour to the mix!

Then I grated in a little bit of fresh onion.

Heat your griddle and melt butter, if you’re using butter, or olive oil, if you prefer. Drop in the potato mixture, forming patties about two inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about three or four minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

I tend to make one bigger Boxty in a smaller pan – it will and does break up when I flip it! – but that’s OK. I mean, I’m only cooking for me and I am more interested in taste than presentation.

Like I said earlier, my favorite way to serve the humble Boxty is at breakfast with a fried egg and bacon. Here’s the latest rendition of that meal:

Let me tell you, that was yummy good! A grand start to what turned out to be a great day!

Whether you use the Boxty recipe I have provided or you find one you like better, the humble Boxty is a fundamental addition to any recipe collection. Try it with eggs and bacon for breakfast, with a hearty beef stew for dinner or with a ham steak and a salad for your supper. Not only is the Boxty a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, it is versatile and adaptable to all kinds of cuisines, much like the Irish people themselves. Try making a batch today!



Mulconry’s Irish Pub.


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.