The Daily Spud

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Spud Sunday: The Ugly Dumpling

Well, well, well, round 4 of Project Food Blog, eh? I am pleased and indescribably gratified that so many of you saw fit to get me to this point with your votes. If you’d care to do so again, voting for entries in this round will be open between October 11th and 14th and this link will take you to where it’s at, voting-wise. As to the matter of this round, the challenge is to present an instructional photo tutorial of, well, anything you like. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to boiled boxty, that most traditional of Irish potato dumplings.

For a start, I’ll bet you didn’t know that there was even such a thing as a world potato dumpling record.

Or that a new such record was set just this past week in Ireland. Fact.

Padraic and the record dumpling

Pádraic Óg Gallagher and his world record 82.5kg boxty dumpling

I watched as the hefty 82.5kg record-breaking dumpling was unveiled.

“Y’know, this kind of thing could inspire a boiled boxty craze,” I thought to my spud-self.

“And when that craze hits, I want to be right up there.”

Truly my ambitions know no bounds when it comes to spuds.

There was just one teeny problem, though…

…I had never actually made boiled boxty.

Damn.

Those boiled boxty crazies would find me in their google search results but discover that, while I had made such things as pan boxty and loaf boxty, I had never made the boiled kind. Hmph.

Google boxty results

There was only one thing for it – I needed to get my boiled boxty skates on and fast.

So, before long, I was mashing and grating, kneading and shaping, boiling and frying, and generally channeling my inner dumpling. The happy result is that I can now present, for your delectation and the delectation of crazed boxty lovers everywhere, boiled boxty à la Spud.

Boiled boxty and fried egg

This is what you're aiming for:
Boiled boxty, sliced, fried and eaten (among other things) with a nicely fried egg.
You like?

Do please keep the image above in mind as you read this, because I warn you, boiled boxty goes through an ugly phase. The thing is, boiled dough is never pretty, but it is thoroughly redeemed by a visit to the frying pan in the company of butter (which makes everything better). And of course it tastes good (as if you needed to ask).

Boiled boxty ingredients

The Cast:
You'll need spuds, flour, salt and butter, no more, no less.
The spuds do need to be floury - the higher starch content will help to hold the dumplings together.

Boiled boxty utensils

The Crew:
A ricer, a grater, a frying pan.
I'm also going to assume that you have a pot, a bowl and a knife or two, 'k?

Wash and peel

Surprise, surprise, you'll need to wash and peel your spuds first

Making mash

Half of your potatoes need to be boiled and mashed:
slice them thickly and evenly; bring your water to the boil, add some salt and plop in the spuds;
when just tender, drain and dry the spuds off by stirring gently over a low heat; rice them while still warm;

Grating and squeezing

The remaining potatoes are grated raw.
Once that's done, you put the grated potatoes in a clean tea towel and squeeze for dear life - you really need to remove as much liquid as you can from the spuds.
Oh, and potatoes and their liquid do discolour, don't worry about it.

Boxty dough

It's dough time!
To your raw and mashed potatoes, add salt and enough flour to form a dough. Knead for a good 3-4 minutes - this is important for the future coherence of your dumplings.

Dumplings

Shape your dough into dumplings, roughly the size of a tennis ball.
Compact each dumpling by throwing it forcefully from one hand to the other a few times.
Add to boiling water, simmer for about an hour and 10 minutes, then allow to cool and chill overnight

Frying and eating

The next day, slice your dumplings, fry in butter and eat.
The fried egg is optional but highly recommended.

Boiled Boxty

I’ve used Pádraic Óg Gallagher’s formula for boiled boxty here. And he should know all about it, being a world record holder ‘n’ all.

You’ll need:
  • approx. 500g potatoes, preferably a floury variety (try Roosters or Kerr’s Pink or, in the U.S., try Russets)
  • approx. 150g plain flour
  • 0.25 tsp salt plus more for boiling the potatoes
  • butter for frying
You’ll also need:
  • A ricer is best for mashing the spuds, plus you’ll need a grater for grating the raw potatoes.
The Steps:
  • Wash and peel half your potatoes and cut into roughly even-sized slices, around 1-2cm thick. Rinse them under cold water.
  • Bring about 1.25l of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 1.5 tsp salt and the potato slices.
  • Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, for around 12-15 minutes or until just fork-tender.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain well and return them to the saucepan. Place the pan over a low heat and stir the potatoes gently for a minute or so while they dry out. Alternatively, let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Put the cooked and still warm potatoes through a potato ricer, if you have one, or mash with a potato masher or, if all else fails, a fork.
  • Wash and peel the remaining potatoes and grate coarsely.
  • Place the grated potatoes in a clean tea-towel and squeeze as much liquid out as you can.
  • Add the mashed potatoes, grated raw potatoes, flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Mix to a firm dough, adding more flour if needed (the dough should not be too sticky) and knead for 3-4 minutes.
  • Form the dough into 3 dumplings (they’ll be roughly tennis-ball-sized). Throw each one forcefully from hand to hand a few times to help compact the dumplings further.
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the dumplings and let them simmer for about an hour and 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, cool and preferably chill overnight in the fridge.
  • You are now free to slice the dumplings as thickly or as thinly as you’d like, then fry to your heart’s content in butter. Enjoy!
The Variations:
  • If you don’t want to make dumplings, you can bake the dough instead. In that case, add about 25g of melted butter to the dough and bake in a loaf tin @ 180C for around an hour to make a kind of boxty loaf. This, too, can be sliced and fried.
The Results:
  • Makes 3 dumplings, which will serve 4-6 as part of a fry-up.

39 Comments

  1. Go, Team Spud!! I like that, even though it’s a very short ingredient list, you get to do many cooking verbs to it. Now, I guess you’ve made your Boxty Trifecta! :D

  2. Daily Spud

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Hey Jenni, I don’t think I can quite compete with the list of verbs that you used for your biriyani, but I managed to get in quite a few all the same :)

  3. Am I the only one who giggled when I saw the word “boxty”? Guess I’m the only one who has the humor of a 6-year-old tee hee.

    I LOVE that picture with the dough suspended in the air, by the way. I’m still trying to get the hand of this aperture/shutter speed!

    Great post, Daily Spud! :-)

  4. Hi Spud,
    Excellent photographic tuition on Boiled Boxty.
    Want a link from my site when you win!

  5. It’s brilliant how just about anything coming out of this recipe can be ‘sliced and fried’. Gotta love that. Also really groovin’ on the presentation (The Cast and The Crew etc) and that shot of the floating dumpling!

  6. I am mostly keeping my votes private this time round, but I’ll tell you (cuz you’re you) that you have my vote for sure. GREG

    PS A tutorial on frying an egg as perfect as your would have gotten my attention too. So I consider this a twofer. GREG

  7. Weekend menu set, boo ya! Foodbuzz not working. Shall be trying later :)

  8. Whoa that’s a big dumpling!!!! lol.

    You’ve got my vote! :) I think I’ll have me a couple spuds for dinner tonight.

  9. that is one giant dumpling. however, yours look more delicious! you’ve got my vote!

  10. Daily Spud

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Sophia: Thank you! The dough in mid-air was a particularly lucky shot I thought – I love it myself :)

    Pádraic Óg: But of course – and sure you’ll come in for special mention in my acceptance speech as well!

    Ruby: thanks for the kind words lady – and, as everybody knows, it is through being sliced and fried that we gain true happiness :D

    sippitysup: I’ll accept your compliments not once but twice in that case, Greg, and thanks for being you :)

    Sarah: definitely a weekend kind of thing – enjoy!

    jenn: It sure is one helluva dumpling alright :D Be sure to enjoy those spuds, now!

    Brie: Thank you! I can’t vouch for the deliciousness or otherwise of the giant dumpling but mine did taste pretty good :D

  11. Boxty is something I would love to make very soon so definitely bookmarking this! An excellent tutorial – you’ll be making the next round for sure!

  12. Yah, you made it to the next round! I’ve got to try this weekend for brunch. I might add a bit of fried bacon to go with the fried dumplings and fried egg. Can’t wait to see what you’ll be doing when you advance to the next round!

  13. Your eye for the cusp of trendiness is keen, indeed. Consider me officially coo-coo for boiled boxty (boxtied?). Your wonderfully informative post could not have come soon enough.

  14. I am ashamed to say I have never heard of boxty. So thanks for introducing a totally new potato food to me! But I like it…I’m thinking it would also go well with black pudding?

    Great entry! Keep ’em coming…voted!

  15. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    5 Star Foodie: Any questions about boxty-making, this is the place to be :) Hope we’ll both be there in the next round!

    gastroanthropologist: oh gosh, yes, this is perfect with fried bacon and/or fried in bacon fat instead of butter

    Ben: I do believe boxtied is the appropriate term (with variations ‘well boxtied’, ‘completely boxtied’ and ‘boxtied beyond belief’ etc.). I think we will need t-shirts.

    Fiona: No need to be ashamed – I will admit to being a latecomer to the world of boxty myself! And black pudding is a highly appropriate accompaniment. In fact Pádraic Óg, he of the world record and who runs a boxty restaurant, tells me that he has made a version of boxty with black pudding in the mix that is rather good.

  16. Such great photos! I love the one of the ball of dough flying through the air. I still have not had boxty, but I have yet to meet any type of dumpling that I didn’t like.

  17. you truly have a niche for your blog, and i love it! great work on the boxty

  18. Not only did I learn what boxty is but I learned how to make them! Great tutorial! I can’t wait to make them.

  19. Thanks for leaving such a nice comment on my blog! These dumplings look so fun to make and I love that photo of a dumpling seemingly defying gravity! :) Good luck this round!

  20. Excellent post – you got my vote for this! Good luck :) Feel free to hop over to leave a comment :)

    Have a wonderful day!
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  21. Lori: I know how you feel about dumplings :) You’ll have to add boxty to your must-try list next time you get to Ireland.

    Whit: guess I do have a little ‘ol niche there – glad you like it!

    Reeni: my work is done in that case :)

    riceandwheat: you’re welcome, yours was a beauty of an entry (and beauty of a blog) – best of luck to you too

    jen: thank you so much jen, I’ll drop over now…

  22. I love this blog! they look delish!
    Bella 6th grade

  23. Thanks for sharing this special post with us!! I have never herad from this potato specialty before,..!! The endresult looks so tasty though!! I think I must try it for sure,..Yummm!

    I was ill the last 10 days but now, I am back in the blogging’s world!

    Kisses from Brussels to you!

  24. You’ve won me over with your beautifully boiled boxty. This is a whole new realm in cooking potatoes I have never discovered. Picture perfect indeed. And thank you by the way for the wonderfully encouraging note in my blog. Well appreciated, my friend.

  25. I’ve made gnocchi before, which I assume is kind of like this and man is it ever a tedious task! Kudos to you for making this! Looks delicious. And of course you’ve got my vote!

    Thanks for stopping by my entry!

  26. Bella: why thank you, very kind of you to drop by and say so!

    Sophie: So sorry to hear you were ill – I hope you’re feeling much better now! Lovely to have you back with us :)

    Jun: you’re welcome of course – seriously, the best part about PFB is getting to know other blogs and other bloggers; when all the dust has settled, that’s what will remain…

    Joanne: Was happy to stop by and read your canned pumpkin and pizza adventures :) And, y’know, I have often thought of boxty dumplings as giant gnocchi – similar in some ways though quite a different beast in others!

  27. First time I see this !! and it looks yummy !! Definitely I will try it some day!
    Thanks and good luck!

  28. Wow, that world record holder is quite a dumpling! I’ll admit, I’ve only eaten boxty once since we have a dearth of good Irish pubs around here (such a shame). Now I don’t have any excuse since I know how to make my own! Thanks for a tasty-looking lesson.

  29. wow that’s a big boxty. your boxty and eggs look delicious!

  30. Daily Spud

    Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Cristina: thanks and good luck to you too – wonder how this boxty would work with some of your tempered chocolate ? :)

    Jeanne: the world record holder is indeed quite the dumpling – and while I wouldn’t try to make a dumpling of *that* size at home, the regular ones are quite do-able – you will have to give them a whirl sometime!

    Dina: thank you, they were pretty damn tasty :)

  31. Lovely! I have never had boiled boxty but those buttered and fried in the pan look perfect for breakfast. I’m glad I saw this so I can bookmark it for later. Voted!

  32. You already know I voted for you, so I’m popping in to admire that gorgeous boxty again and to wish you all the best for the next round. I know you’re going to be there … for a long, long while. Good luck!! xoxoxo

  33. Great pictures! It sounds delicious. (And I had no idea that potatoes discolored like that!!)You’ve got my vote!

  34. Oh boy, I loved your post! and the bit about the world record holder for the largest potato dumpling! Who knew! Incredible, indeed…but what is even more incredible is the photo of you handling your dough…in mid-air! Very nice work. I’ve never had a potato dumpling (sad), but you (and your fried egg) have encouraged me to give it a go for breakfast one of these weekends. Lovely!

  35. Daily Spud

    Friday, October 15, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Mariko: Thank you! These come with a bona fide seal of breakfast approval :)

    Diva: mwah!

    emily: Truth is the potatoes wouldn’t get to discolour quite as much as that if the cook wasn’t busy taking photographs at the same time! Thanks so much for stopping by (and for voting of course – much appreciated).

    Patty: Aw, thank you so much! The dough in mid-air was my proudest moment :)

  36. It was a great step by step recipe. I’m sure you are going to move to the next round. You got my vote for sure.

  37. Have not heard of boiled boxty, but I do love regular boxty (the pancake version that is). Am liking the sound of the boiled & fried slices though and agree – butter makes everything better. :-)

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  39. Daily Spud

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Anna: thanks, much appreciated, even though, as it turns out, I didn’t move on to the next round – oh well…

    Marisa: Butter absolutely makes everything better :) And if you like the pancake version, I think you’ll love this. I’m eating some more as I type and it’s damn good stuff!

    vincent: I’ll be sure to check it out!

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