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Spud Sunday: The Ugly Dumpling

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.